Law school sends student dispute resolution team to national competition

For the second consecutive year, the law school is sending a team of its students to the American Bar Association's national finals.

The Law Student Division's Negotiation Competition will feature students Lindsay Freedman and Christopher Hamilton, accompanied by Coach Sukhsimranjit Singh.

Freedman and Hamilton took third place in a tie-breaker at the regional student negotiation competition in Calgary, Alberta. Part of the contest involved the judges ranking the students on criteria such as planning, flexibility, teamwork and relationships between negotiating teams. Willamette tied for second in the final round against a team from Saskatchewan. 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. The students he coached last year, Lauren Askeland and Anthony Estrada, placed second at 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 says 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 says.

The national competition is next February in New Orleans.