Negotiating to first place
Liberty University School of Law students Hannah Reichel and Karlee Shelton spent two weeks preparing case negotiations.
A panel of judges rewarded the students’ hard work with a first place finish at the Southwestern Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition on Oct. 3 in Los Angeles, Calif.
“Our whole objective is to keep people out of court,” Reichel, who will graduate in May, said.
The tournament consisted of two-person teams from law schools around the country. The teams represented clients and negotiated settlements.
“When you get to the tournament, you don’t know what’s coming at you,” Reichel said.
Reichel and Shelton, a second year law student, tried out for the team with different partners and were paired together two weeks before the tournament. They were given facts to prepare for two copyright infringement cases.
“Hannah Reichel and Karlee Shelton were so impressive to watch that one could hear audible gasps throughout the crowd,” School of Law Director of Student Affairs Dotti Nijakowski, who accompanied them to California, said.
After winning the first two rounds, Reichel and Shelton were given one night to prepare to negotiate a professional basketball player’s $9 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We got him a pretty good deal,” Reichel said.
Liberty students and professors helped the team prepare with mock negotiations.
“We are so thankful that they helped us,” Shelton said.
Reichel and Shelton said winning tournaments gives more credibility to the school.
“It shows that Liberty University School of Law takes its academics seriously,” Reichel said. “We came at it genuinely wanting to be the best. It shows that Christians have a place in the legal community.”
Shelton said it is important to glorify God in competitions.
“It’s very humbling, too. We wanted to reflect Christ while we were there,” Shelton said. “We want to let them know that Christian schools can excel.”
Reichel said the judges described the pair as “aggressive, but not arrogant.”
“We always want to come across as humble,” Reichel said. “We want to show the love of Christ.”
School of Law Dean Matthew Staver said law students “have quickly risen to the elite level of competition.”
“I am extremely proud of our law students and particularly pleased about their victory in the midst of the media and entertainment capital of the world,” Staver said.
Liberty’s School of Law will host 10 schools for a government contracts tournament in January, Shelton said. Each school is expected to bring two teams.
Reichel was part of Liberty’s winning team at the American Bar Association’s regional tournament in Williamsburg last year. The team also competed at the national tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Reichel and Shelton expressed interest in practicing international law after graduation.
“Both of us know God brought us to law school,” Reichel said. “We want to promote the law school and represent Christ.”
PARKER is a news reporter.