The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law March 2010
ADR @ Moritz

Beth Uhrich (3L) and Catie Coleman (2L) Compete in National Finals of ABA Negotiation Competition

Moritzers Beth Uhrich (3L) and Catie Coleman (2L) competed in the National Finals of the ABA Negotiation Competition in Orlando, Florida on the weekend of February 5, 2010. In a field of 24 teams from across the country, Beth and Catie advanced to the semifinal round before being eliminated. Their preparation, effort, and performance represented the law school impressively and continued the tradition of excellence by Moritz teams competing in these kinds of competitions.

As in the regional competition, the theme was employment law, but with a focus on binding arbitration agreements, a timely topic as Congress continues to deliberate on the passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act. Professors Cole and Stulberg provided valuable insights on both the enforceability of such agreements, and the arguments behind legislation affecting such agreements. The final round problem, which the team prepared for but did not advance to, involved a negotiation of statutory language that would affect such agreements.

The team prepared by meeting regularly with their coach, Clymer Bardsley, Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution and by mooting the problem with professors and students. They are thankful for all the support given by the college, in both preparing for the competition and arranging the logistics of travel and accommodations. The team is also thankful that the ABA decided to host its midyear meeting in the shadow of Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom.

Throughout the national competition, the team represented an employer who was facing a wrongful termination claim based on discrimination and then a threatened class action suit brought on behalf of the original plaintiff and other employees concerning the employer’s practices regarding breaks. As with most negotiations, while the legal merits of the case stood prominently in the background, the discussions revolved around settlement ideas and the team focused on interest-based bargaining. Beth and Catie represented their client capably by focusing on his interests as a successful business man and employer who was not unsympathetic to the concerns of the plaintiff.

Having worked with each other through the intra-school Lawrence Negotiation Competition, and the regional competition in November, Beth and Catie utilized each other’s strengths and worked well with their opposing counsel throughout the competition. Ultimately, the winning team came from the Boston University School of Law.

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Erin Archerd
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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.