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Inter-School Negotiation Practicum

Since its inception in 2019, almost 2,000 students from 43 law schools have participated in the STCL Inter-School Negotiation Practicum. The Practicum is a fully centralized cross-school, month long one-on-one negotiation exercise utilizing actual court documents from a pending lawsuit. Participants are paired up with a student from another law school in another city (or even country) and must negotiate via email, phone, and video. Because lawyers negotiate primarily via email/phone with opposing counsel they do not necessarily know, the purpose of this project is to provide students the opportunity to enhance their skills in an environment that more closely aligns with practice. After the exercise, students complete a substantive post-negotiation questionnaire.

Update for Fall 2022: Professors, please note that if you would like for your class to participate, you must make this a required GRADED assignment. For more information about registering for the fall 2022 semester, please email Debra Berman at dberman@stcl.edu.

Thank you to the following 43 law schools that have participated!

Cardozo Chapman University Elon
Fordham University Harvard University Indiana University
Lakehead University Lincoln Memorial University Marquette University
Mitchell Hamline Northern Illinois University Ohio Northern University
Pace University Penn State University Pepperdine University
South TX College of Law Houston Southern Illinois University St. John’s University
St. Mary’s University Suffolk University Texas A&M University
UIC John Marshall University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of CA Hastings
University of Cincinnati University of Connecticut University of Detroit
University of Florida University of Houston University of Laverne
University of Manitoba University of Maryland University of Michigan
University of Missouri University of North Texas Dallas University of Oregon
University of San Diego University of Saskatchewan University of Tennessee
University of Utah Wayne State West Virginia University
Western New England University

C..

Fall 2022 FAQs

Must I be enrolled in an ADR class to participate?

Yes, you must be enrolled in an ADR related class in order to participate. Further, we are now limiting participation to classes where professors have elected to make the Practicum a graded assignment.

When will registration open for the fall?

Registration will open at the end of August and students will have two weeks to fill out the registration form (located under “Application” on this webpage).

When will this exercise take place?

Students will have from October 1 through October 31 to complete the negotiation.

Who will I be negotiating with?

This is a one-on-one negotiation. We will pair you with a student from another law school. On October 1st, we will email you with your opposing counsel’s contact information along with the relevant pleadings and information from your client.

What type of fact pattern will I be negotiating?

All participants will do a pre-trial negotiation based on an actual pending court case. You will be provided the relevant case pleadings and a short fictitious confidential settlement memo.

Is this a competition? 

No, this is not a competition. This is simply an opportunity for students to practice their settlement negotiation skills in a realistic setting without being judged or scored.

How will the negotiation be conducted? 

There are no requirements except that you must use email, phone, and video conferencing at lease once.  You have the entire month to negotiate and you may communicate as many times with your partner as you wish. On average this past semester, students communicated with their partner eight times.

Do I have to draft up the agreement at the end of the exercise?

No. You must simply reach an agreement with your partner by October 31 and then fill out a post-negotiation questionnaire that we will send you.

What happens if my partner and I do not reach an agreement?

Technically, nothing. However, the goal is for this to closely resemble “real-life.” When lawyers represent clients, there is almost always some form of a deadline. Therefore, we suggest doing your absolute best to reach a deal within the allotted time frame.

Is outside research allowed?

No. Please refrain from doing any outside research. We will provide you all of the information you need to make an informed settlement decision on behalf of your client.

Spring 2022 Negotiator Commitments

  • Negotiators must use the following three modes of communication at least once: email, phone, and video conferencing (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.) Otherwise, you may communicate as many times and in whatever mode you wish.
  • Initial correspondence must be made by noon (CST) on Tuesday, March 8th. Professors will be notified if there is a lack of correspondence.
  • Act professionally, communicate in a timely manner, and participate in good faith throughout the exercise.
  • Approach this as if you are actually the attorney for the case and not as a student reaching out to another student to do the exercise. You should be in character for all communications you have with your opposing counsel.
  • All communications with your partner are to remain confidential.
  • The deadline to reach an agreement is March 31st at 5:00pm CST.
  • Once you complete the exercise, you agree to submit answers to a brief questionnaire.

All students must watch the following video before commencing negotiations: https://tinyurl.com/STCLNegotiation

Registration for the fall 2022 semester will open at the end of August.

We are pleased to share some post-negotiation feedback from students that have participated.

  • Overall, this was a once in a lifetime law school experience.
  • This was an amazing exercise and I believe it provided a very good, real-world simulation for negotiation practice.
  • I really loved this exercise and the fact that it was an actual case with real motions. This made the negotiation realistic.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and the opportunity to make a new forever colleague!
  • I liked this exercise because it simulated how negotiations actually happen in the real world.
  • What a cool exercise! I had a lot of fun! I was initially reluctant, but it was honestly a fantastic experience. I am really glad I did it!
  • This was a very beneficial experience. I felt that it gave us an opportunity to work with someone we did not know and was much more of a “real-world” experience.
  • I thought this was a wonderful experience, and any student interested in learning about ADR would benefit from it. I especially liked how independent it was; it really felt good to have so much discretion in figuring out how to deal with another party outside of the classroom.
  • I enjoyed negotiating with a complete stranger from a different law school. It allowed me to branch out, and this exercise definitely got me out of my comfort zone.
  • This exercise was a great opportunity to practice real life skills with another student. Working with other law students around the country was a great experience and I highly recommend that all students participate.
  • This was a good experience and I highly recommend it for future law students.
  • I found this exercise very helpful, very realistic, and very enjoyable. It was certainly challenging, but I really appreciated that my partner gave me a truly realistic scenario.
  • This was incredibly rewarding in that it felt like a real life situation. I felt that I could more acceptably “get into the role” with someone I did not know than I can in some simulations with my friends.
  • I think this was an extremely valuable experience! It was so great getting to work with someone from another law school. My favorite part was that we were given a month to do this, so we could actually have several back and forth exchanges of communication and grow as negotiators. It was very interesting to negotiate with someone in a simulated environment outside of my law school.
  • I am grateful for this experience because it is a reminder that I will encounter people with varying personalities and negotiation styles in my practice as an attorney.
  • I think this was a great experience where I was able to see how professionals communicate as we pretended to be attorneys. I also got to practice reading body language and giving different offers. I think this practicum is a great experience. Thank you for hosting!
  • I really enjoyed this exercise. I put me in a real life situation where I had to be formal and gradually as I got to know my partner relaxed a bit. I would definitely recommend this exercise to all law school students. This was fun and a learning process.
  • This was an interesting and fun way to learn how to negotiate. I would like to try this again.
  • It was helpful to get a sense for how it will be in practice, when we are constantly encountering new, unfamiliar attorneys, and I believe that this exercise was great life-like negotiation practice.
  • This experience felt more realistic than the class negotiation I participated in this semester. It felt more realistic because I was actually communicating with an individual I did not know. I imagine this would be more in line with working with an opposing party’s counsel that I am not familiar with. Also, having to schedule times to talk in order to work through the agreement felt more in line with actual dispute resolution practice as an attorney.
  • I thought the exercise was a great experience to work with students I would otherwise not be as easily able to practice negotiations with. The subject matter was interesting and I was excited to be discussing statutes associated with my home state of California. I also was interested in the tactics and methods other students have been taught and utilize.
  • This felt real because I wasn’t familiar with the person on the other side. It was more work, but the experience was more genuine.
  • Thank you so much for organizing and hosting this exercise. I enjoyed the experience a great deal.
  • I thought it was a very insightful exercise and I enjoyed it.
  • I think the most beneficial part of this exercise was learning how to coordinate schedules with someone in a different time zone. No other class teaches this skill.
  • I found this to be more realistic in that I was negotiating with an unknown person and using technology to facilitate. It was easier to take it more seriously and practice professional tone and skills.
  • This exercise allowed more flexibility and allowed me to feel like an attorney. This was a real-world practical exercise with the scheduling, October 31st deadline, and different forms of communication involved/required.
  • This exercise provided a real-life feel of how negotiations would take place.
  • Partnering with someone from a different school required that I treat the situation with more thought and preparedness.
  • I thought this was a good exercise, particularly because of how it differed from our typical face-to-face experiences in class. My classmates and I have become so adept at working with each other, especially in close settings, that it was nice (in a challenging way) to have to wait on someone sometimes.
  • This felt more real because I didn’t know him and he was from a different location which is what would probably be more likely when I am practicing.
  • I enjoyed the realistic side of having to incorporate multiple forms of communication. It made the exercise feel like a real world exercise.
  • I believe that this was a fun, entertaining, and educational exercise. I definitely enjoyed this exercise.
  • I really enjoyed this exercise and am glad that I participated. Negotiating will be something I will do on a frequent basis in my area of practice. I just wish this would have been made available to our school when I first started
  • It honestly felt like we were both actual attorneys doing this for real. Communicate, communicate, communicate. My partner had things going on early in the month and I had things come up at the end of the month but we were able to find time that worked for us because we communicated effectively.
  • I felt that this exercise gave me an opportunity to get comfortable gaining confidence in discussing legal matters with someone I am not already familiar with.
  • This was a unique experience that provided a better understanding of how negotiations take place. Having a deadline and certain requirements to meet made the process seem more realistic.
  • This was a great experience and I feel good knowing how a negotiation with a stranger will look like in the future
  • It was valuable to have the opportunity to work with someone from a different school in a different time zone.
  • I appreciated the exercise and would highly recommend it for future students studying negotiation.
  • It was a good experience to learn how to negotiate properly over the phone.
  • It provided a unique opportunity to test skills across different methods of communication with a stranger, which resembles the “real world” of negotiation more closely than a classroom, or a moot court exercise, where your partner is someone you regularly interact with. This exercise felt less restricted in that faltering or making errors felt less consequential – great for someone new trying to practice these skills.
  • Great experience working with students from other schools. Thank you for creating this opportunity.
  • My partner was extremely professional and dealt in good faith and with strong arguments, which made it an enjoyable and challenging process. Overall, it was a great learning exercise and I hope they keep it going for future students.

Spring 2022 Case: Nona Gaprindhashvili vs. Netflix 

Complaint
Motion to Dimiss
Opposition to MtD
Reply in Support of MtD
Declaration of Screenwriter
Order Denying MtD

Fall 2021 Case: Diesel Jeans vs. Disel Power Gear

Complaint
MSJ
Opposition to MSJ
Joint Statement of Facts
Declaration of COO

Spring 2021 Case: Lucianne Walkowicz vs. American Girl 

Complaint
Motion to Dismiss
Response to Motion to Dismiss
Order
Answer

Fall 2020 Case: London Bridge Resort vs. Illinois Union Insurance

Complaint
Motion to Dismiss
Response to Motion to Dismiss

Spring 2020 Case: Palomique vs. Quest Diagnostics

Complaint
Answer
MSJ
Opposition