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September 27, 2011

Fillmore Riley sponsors 2011 Robson Hall Negotiation Competition.

Fillmore Riley LLP is proud to sponsor the Robson Hall Negotiation Competition for the second consecutive year.

The competition, to be held on the evening of September 27, 2011, gives first-year law students the opportunity to volunteer as timekeepers and videographers and gives the third-year students, who were selected from their year, the opportunity to compete in the Sixth Annual Robson Hall Negotiation Competition. 

In teams of two, the students meet with a team representing the other side of a dispute. Using confidential facts, which have been supplied this year by the American Bar Association, the students try to work out a resolution to the dispute which could otherwise lead to an adversarial court hearing.

All this takes place while the teams are under the ever-watchful eyes of lawyer-judges who are scoring each team’s negotiation skills and the videographer who is recording the entire meeting. Sometimes the student negotiators express strong emotions as they compete to get the best solution for their team’s client.

Fillmore Riley has a long history with the competition. From the first competition in 2006 to the competition in 2011, Eleanor Wiebe, Q.C., a partner at Fillmore Riley LLP, worked as a consultant with the law school professors to ensure that the negotiation problems, which formed the basis of the competition, were grounded in real Manitoba practice experience. She has also participated as a judge for the competition until she accepted the law school’s offer to teach the third year Wills course in 2010.

Fillmore Riley’s lawyers have volunteered their time as judges for the competition from its inception. This year Fillmore Riley’s Dana Nelko, Kelly Beattie, Beth Eva, Derek Cumming, Marni Karpiak and Sven Hombach will serve as judges.

These six lawyers from Fillmore Riley, along with four lawyers from other law firms, will judge the law-student teams who are competing for cash prizes donated by Fillmore Riley and the honour of representing Robson Hall in the American Bar Association’s negotiation competition in November 2011.

“The lawyer-judges sit in panels to judge and score the students' negotiation skills, ethics and self-analysis,” said Professor Vivian Hilder who teaches Negotiation at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. “This negotiation competition reinforces the essential role that skilled negotiation plays in the practice of law. The feedback that the lawyer-judges give to the students is invaluable.”

Even the students who are unable to compete or volunteer can watch and learn because the negotiation and feedback are live-streamed for the entire Robson Hall community as audience in the Moot Courtroom.

“We are very grateful to Fillmore Riley’s leadership in supporting this important learning opportunity for our students,” said Dean Lorna Turnbull. “Their sponsorship of the Negotiation Competitions allows Robson Hall to offer students a chance to push their dispute resolution skills to a higher plane.”