For the first time in FIU College of Law Board of Advocates 10 year history, two teams captured both the regional championship and runner-up titles during the ABA Southeast Regional Negotiation Competition, which was held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Taking first place was the team of Scheril Murray and Christopher Miranda, in second place Ashley Hersutamto and Daniel Blackman, and the team of Cinthya Beato and Daniel Horton finished in seventh. Co-Director and Associate Professor of Legal Skills and Values, Professor David D. Walter served as the team’s faculty coach and mentor.
The regional competition drew 20 teams from throughout Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolinas. The two-person team consists of two JD candidates who negotiate on behalf of their client to resolve a dispute or negotiate an agreement. For single mom and second year evening student, Scheril Murray, who commutes from West Palm Beach, the victory was a team effort. “The entire team, even those that did not compete, were completely invested in our success. They practiced and role played with us until we felt like experts in the material,” Murray commented. She went on to boast that “FIU’s negotiation team has a history of excellence and it is an honor to be a member and compete in FIU’s name.”
The competition helps promote greater interest among law students in legal negotiation and provides a means for them to practice and improve their negotiating skills. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. All of the simulations deal with the same general topic, but the negotiation situation varies with each round and level of the competition.
“We’ve won our Region five times in the past seven years, and we’ve sent a team to the National Finals eight times in the past 10 years,” said Professor Walter, “but this is the first time we’ve placed first and second and had the opportunity to send two teams to the National Finals!” “This shows how good our FIU students really are, but it also says much about their team work and incredible work ethic as well.”
Murray and Miranda, and Hersutamto and Blackman, will now advance to the ABA National Negotiation Finals in Chicago in February 2014 where the top 24 law school negotiation teams will vie for the national title.