Author: Stephen P. Lagoy
The Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association sponsors an annual law student mediation competition known as the “National Representation in Mediation Competition.” This program, using a role-play format, introduces law student participants to the challenges of representing clients in mediation. According to the ABA, the judging criteria reward those participants who use an effective combination of advocacy and problem-solving. “Participants must balance their clients’ interests with the goal of achieving an effective settlement.” No small feat.
The growth of mediation as an alternative to litigation has been accompanied by the expansion of ADR courses in law school curricula. Based on my experience, these courses are yielding very positive results. I’ve served as a Mediator and Judge in the regional round of the National Representation in Mediation Competition for several years. The student participants have been impressive both in terms of their case preparation and negotiating skills. This portends a bright future for mediation as part of our legal process.