Willamette student dispute resolution team advances to nationals

For the second year in a row, the law school will be sending a team of students to the American Bar Association Law Student Division’s Negotiation Competition national finals. Coach Sukhsimranjit Singh will accompany students Lindsay Freedman and Christopher Hamilton.

Freedman and Hamilton took third place in a tie-breaker at the regional student negotiation competition in Calgary. Part of the competition involves the judges ranking the students on criteria such as planning, flexibility, teamwork and relationships between negotiating teams. The final round had Willamette tied for second with a team from Saskatchewan, and the scores for the judging criteria placed Willamette third.

Singh praised Freedman and Hamilton, both second-year law students, as “phenomenal,” adding that they were comfortable with each other and were experienced negotiators.

Singh is the associate director for Willamette’s Center for Dispute Resolution. Last year the students he coached, Lauren Askeland and Anthony Estrada, placed second in the nationals and were invited to the international student negotiating competition in Copenhagen, where they took home the “Joint Maximizing Award” for working cooperatively with other teams.

Singh said his dispute resolution students tend to do well in competitions because he coaches them in how to use body language – hand movements, eye movements, smiles – to help them negotiate effectively. “It’s working with the strengths of each student, not trying to change them,” he said.

The national competition is next February in New Orleans.