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Liaison Notebook: Texas Tech University School of Law Wins the National Arbitration Competition


Vol. 40 No. 8
ByAbby Ersin


Abby Ersin, a 3L at Mississippi College School of Law, is the 2011–12 National Student Director for the Arbitration Competition.
The 2011–12 Arbitration Competition National Finals kicked off January 20 in Chicago and despite the city’s second heavy snowfall of the winter, the competition went off without a hitch. Taking the national championship was the team from Texas Tech University School of Law––Jared Mullowney, Meredith Mills, Kate Murphy, and Wade Iverson––who won every round on their way to the title.

Fifty-eight teams from 36 law schools across the country competed at regional competitions in the fall. This year’s competition required participants to arbitrate a contractual dispute involving construction delays. The teams’ case included opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations, and summations. The teams represented both claimant and respondent, and each team was allowed to rotate lawyer and witness positions, giving them a chance to see the problem from all sides.

Teams were judged on the advocacy of their clients’ position including opening statements, direct examinations, cross-examinations, and closing arguments. The competition also allowed advocates to use technology to model real-world arbitrations.

Ten teams from five regional competitions advanced to the national finals. After two preliminary rounds, four teams moved on to the semifinals. Those teams were Texas Tech, the University of Missouri School of Law, The John Marshall Law School, and Stetson University College of Law. It was Texas Tech and Missouri that met in the final round.

Second place went to the University of Missouri School of Law’s advocates Andrew Blackwell, Jake Kohut, Ida Shafaie, and Audrey Danner.

This year’s national semifinalists were Josh Rinker, Sara Ross, Danielle Vlcek, and Chase Gruszka from The John Marshall Law School, who took third place, and Eric Briley, Ashley Dusnik, Julie Ann Embler, and Jhenerr Hines from Stetson University School of Law in fourth place.

The Law Student Division provided an award of $150 for each member of the second-place team. The National Championship team received $250 for each member. Both final round teams received a collection of legal texts from various ABA sections.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

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