The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law May 2012
ADR @ Moritz

Student Team Places Second in National BLSA Competition


The team of Kwame Christian, ’13, and Chris Bordenave, ’12, once again represented Moritz at a national negotiation competition, and achieved an impressive result. The team was First Runners Up at the 6th Annual National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) International Negotiation Competition, held at the NBLSA National Convention in Washington, D.C., from March 7 - 11, 2012.

The competition consisted of 20 teams who are students of NBLSA member schools from around the nation. Each team consisted of 2 students who negotiated together in each round against a team from another school, regarding a problem of international concern. In the preliminary rounds, students negotiated the terms of a European Union bailout of the Greek debt crisis, where they represented either Greece or representatives of the European Union. After the preliminary rounds, the 20 teams were reduced to an 8 team single elimination tournament, in which they negotiated Israeli-Lebanese maritime borders, as well as foreign investment in an African mine.

The team believed they were able to do so well due their extensive experience negotiating together. This is the fourth negotiation tournament this year for Bordenave and Christian, having negotiated in both the Lawrence Negotiation Competition at Moritz and the ABA Region 6 Negotiation Competition which they won, as well as the ABA National Negotiation Competition, in which they reached the semifinals.

“This competition was slightly different since there was a lot less time to absorb our confidential information,” said Chris. “This definitely caused some confusion among the teams. However, our previous negotiation experience, and the fact that we are so familiar with each other’s styles, really helped us make up for that.”

Kwame and Chris became very familiar with each other’s styles through their extensive preparation. The team members are friends as well as teammates and spent many hours reviewing the problems before driving out to Washington, D.C., from Columbus. Even on the ride down, they spent time preparing. “We didn’t even turn on the radio,” said Chris of the 7 hour drive.

Chris also credits his experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution classes at Moritz with the team’s success. “The ability to listen to what the other person is saying is even more important with tight time constraints. I took Mediation with Professors Stulberg and Batra, and the listening and questioning techniques I learned really help you get important information from the other side, even information that they weren’t planning on revealing.”

The team was advised by Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution Rishi Batra, who coached the team in the ABA Negotiation Competition as well. “The team should be very proud of their accomplishments all year,” he said. “This is another well-deserved success for all of their hard work.

The NBLSA International Negotiations Competition offered by the National Black Law Students Assocation, providing students with an opportunity to development useful negotiation skills, while creating awareness of important global issues. Students receive feedback from legal practitioners and law professors who serve as judges.

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The Caucus, the newsletter published by the Moritz Program on Dispute Resolution, is designed to share ADR news with the Moritz community and beyond, as well as provide Moritz students with information regarding externship and employment opportunities. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to Erin Archerd, Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution.