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September 29, 2010

Fillmore Riley first law firm to sponsor Robson Hall Negotiation Competition.

Fillmore Riley LLP is proud to be the first sponsor of the Robson Hall Negotiation Competition to be held on September 30, 2010.

“This is the fifth year that we are running the annual competition at the law school, but this is the first year that the competition has been sponsored by a law firm,” said Professor Vivian Hilder who teaches Negotiation among other courses at the Faculty of Law at University of Manitoba. “And for that we are very grateful.”

The firm has a long history with the competition. From the beginning, Eleanor Wiebe, Q.C., a partner at Fillmore Riley LLP, has worked as a consultant with the law school professors to ensure that the negotiation problem which forms the basis of the competition is grounded in real Manitoba practice experience; she has also participated as a judge for the competition.

“This will be the first year that Eleanor will not participate as a judge because of her new duties at the law school as a lecturer in the very popular Wills course,” explained Professor Hilder.

Dana Nelko and Norman Yusim, two partners also respected for their negotiation abilities, have also been invited to serve as judges every year. They have been invited again this year and will be joined by three more Fillmore Riley LLP partners-- Kelly Beattie, Dan St-Jean and Beth Eva –who are known for their communication and dispute resolution skills.

These five lawyers from Fillmore Riley, along with seven lawyers from five other law firms, will judge the law student teams who are competing for cash prizes and the honour of representing Robson Hall in an international negotiation competition in November 2010.

“The judges sit in three-person panels to judge and score the students' negotiation skills, ethics and self-analysis,” explained Professor Hilder.

Thirty-two third-year law students are selected from 100 students in the mandatory Negotiation course in March to compete in the competition in the fall. The competition also involves 10 first-year law students as volunteers—and the entire Robson Hall community is encouraged to attend.

“The art of negotiation is one of the most crucial skills a lawyer can have in his or her arsenal,” said Dana Nelko, a partner with Fillmore Riley. “It is often taken for granted that lawyers naturally possess the ability to negotiate successfully, but that is not always the case.”

As the costs associated with trials increase, negotiation is being favoured over litigation. “We know that negotiation, whether that involves mediation or alternative dispute resolution, is the wave of the future in law,” said Kelly Beattie who is also a partner with Fillmore Riley.