Negotiation Team Has Historic Performance at ABA Regional Competition

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UNC School of Law’s Holderness Moot Court American Bar Association (ABA) Negotiation Team had their strongest showing in many years at the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition Nov. 2-3 at Emory University School of Law. Team members included 3Ls Esther T. Earbin, Michael R. Frongello, Michael B. Shapiro, and Alexandra E. Suarez. In the preliminary rounds, Earbin and Shapiro ranked third out of 22 teams. They narrowly missed winning an invitation to the national competition in the semifinal round.

“Our team did well, especially considering how UNC’s negotiation team has done historically,” says team coach Aaron Harmon, clinical assistant professor of law and member of the Writing and Learning Resources Center. “We are more competitive now with the recent changes to the Holderness program, including tryouts in the first year of law school and a more comprehensive skills training program.”

Harmon works closely with the negotiation team to provide resources and tips, and the team practiced two to three times a week leading up to the competition. The students’ hard work paid off, according to Harmon. “Our institutional memory doesn’t go too far back, but this could very well be the best negotiation competition performance that UNC has ever had.”

“We had a really strong negotiation team this year,” says Earbin. “I've worked with very few groups that communicated as well as we did. We strategized, practiced and focused on doing our best. The UNC team stood out overall because we established a good relationship with all of our competitors. This allowed us to go into each competition as colleagues, not adversaries, trying to get the best outcome for our ‘client.’ It was great preparation for a career as an attorney.”

Next semester, Harmon will coach the Environmental Invitational Negotiation Team. He plans to coach both teams next year. “I have been working to create more transactional skills opportunities for students and to provide them with an introduction to entrepreneurial law. The negotiation teams provide an excellent way to accomplish this goal,” says Harmon.

-December 19, 2013

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