Osgoode team negotiates its way to Salt Lake City

Osgoode students Zaid Sayeed and Marco Forte have advanced to the national finals of the American Bar Association (ABA) Negotiation Competition.

The Osgoode team is one of only three Canadian entries among the 24 finalists with the balance representing US law schools. It is only the second time in the past 15 years that Osgoode has participated in the US national finals, which will be held Feb. 12-13, 2005, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The winners go on to the international finals in July in Dublin, Ireland.

Sponsored by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, the Osgoode team placed second in a regional run-off in Washington, DC, Nov. 13-14. A second Osgoode team composed of third-year students Neil Gobardhan and Alastair McNish finished out of the top 24.

Sayeed and Forte are coached by Osgoode alumnus Carleton Mathias (LLB *91), who is a partner with Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, as well as Osgoode Professor Shelley Gavigan and Professor Emeritus Fred Zemans.

“I want to extend our congratulations and best wishes for victory as you carry the Osgoode banner in the US national finals,” Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan told Sayeed, Forte and their coaches. “We are proud of you and proud of the fact that Osgoode is once again in the spotlight due to the excellence of our students and faculty and the generosity of supporters such as Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.”

Monahan also said there are plans afoot to “bury a loonie somewhere to ensure a repeat of the performance of Canada’s hockey team at Salt Lake City in Feb. 2002.”

The ABA Law Student Division’s Negotiation Competition offers a forum to develop skills that are critical to the practice of law where the majority of cases are settled out of court. Lawyers are also often asked to advise on the way deals or transactions are set up – for example, what are the most favourable terms, what would be the best price, what penalties can be included for breach of contract? Getting the best deal for the client can often involve some skilful negotiation. The competition also offers the chance to meet and network with fellow law students and future colleagues.

The competition focuses on the parties’ ability to utilize negotiation skills and strategies to negotiate successfully a settlement that best serves the needs of each respective party. The Negotiation Team is comprised of two teams, each with two members. The team members work together to evaluate each other’s arguments, negotiation style, and legal strategy in preparation for the competition.