College of Law’s Negotiation Teams Excel at Regional Competition

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s 2015 Negotiation Team excelled at the Regional Competition held the weekend of November 13-14, 2015 at BYU. Two teams represented the College of Law in the competition: Kevin McLean and Vanessa Walsh; and Liza Barton and Blake Van Zile. A total of 24 teams from 12 different law schools competed, and both teams from the College of Law placed in the top 6 overall. McLean and Walsh finished the preliminary rounds in a three-way tie for first place and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they took second place overall in the competition. They will advance to represent the College of Law in the National Competition in San Diego on February 5-6, 2016. Barton and Van Zile also excelled, finishing the preliminary rounds with the third-highest overall score and missing the quarterfinals by a single point.

Walsh, a 3L, said, “The entire experience was a valuable one. Preparing for the competition was a lot of work, but it was fun every step of the way.”

The four students comprising the Negotiation Team are selected based on their demonstrated capabilities in classes including Lawyering Skills and Advanced Negotiation. Team coach Jess Krannich, ’05, explained, “The foundation for the Negotiation Team is the great ADR program at the College of Law, which is one of the best in the country at combining the substance and theory of negotiation with rigorous practical simulations and instruction. The students who are selected for the team each year arrive well-prepared, knowledgeable, and experienced.”

The Negotiation Team students attend a regular weekly class that focuses on the substance and theory of negotiation at the beginning of the semester and simulated negotiations and preparation for the Regional Competition during the second half of the semester. Many past Negotiation Team members and College of Law graduates volunteer their time to participate in mock negotiations against the Negotiation Team, and by the time the College of Law’s teams reach the Regional Competition, they have participated in scores of negotiations against practicing attorneys.

“The Negotiation Team members worked exceptionally hard all semester to prepare, and displayed extraordinary skill and professionalism at the Regional Competition,” Krannich said. “The College of Law should be proud of these exceptional students, who were great ambassadors for the school at the Regional Competition.”

(left to right) Blake Van Zile, Vanessa Walsh, Kevin McLean and Liza Barton