Law students from across the country converged at the University of Saskatchewan for the 2018 Canadian National Negotiation Competition (CNNC), where a team from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School claimed first place.
Osgoode students Karen Mann and Adam Voorberg edged out fellow finalists Kaitlin Buchko and Tanci Carvalho of the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Law School to win the competition, which was sponsored by Dentons LLP and Cameco.
Excited by their win, the team from Osgoode said they appreciated the chance to practise skills at the heart of lawyering and learn from fellow law students.
“Negotiation is an important part of the ever-growing dispute resolution practice within law,” said Voorberg. “We saw this competition as an ability to practise some of those skills, as we prepare for practice in the future.”
“One of the biggest [takeaways] was the chance to interact with students from different law schools. And we can definitely say, even just in the three rounds, how much we adapted from things we learned from the teams we were up against,” said Mann.
As winners of the national competition, Mann and Voorberg claim a place in the International Negotiation Competition, which happens this summer in Cardiff, Wales.
“It’s a huge honour to represent Canada, and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Voorberg.
Now in its second year, CNNC brings together law students from schools across Canada to practise and improve their negotiation skills. The competition simulates legal negotiations in which teams of two law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems.
A total of 14 teams from nine different law schools competed in CNNC, including the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Calgary, the University of New Brunswick, Western University, the University of Alberta, the University of Ottawa and McGill University.
Approximately 45 practising lawyers and experienced negotiators gave their time as judges for the competition, and they were impressed by the skill level of the competitors.
“As a U of S College of Law alumnus, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate as a judge in the competition,” said Kevin Wilson, a partner with MLT Aikins LLP in Saskatoon. “The students did an outstanding job, and competitions like this clearly provide invaluable experience to law students that greatly enrich their law school experience.”
When they were not competing, students were able to share time and learning opportunities together, including a trip to the city’s Remai Modern art gallery and a masterclass on the topic of negotiation from an Indigenous perspective.
For competition organizer Michaela Keet, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law, the experience has been a rewarding one.
“We are thrilled to see the competition continue to grow, with more teams competing this year,” she said. “Students recognize negotiation as a core skill area in today’s legal world, one that will serve them well as practising lawyers, and they appreciate the opportunities presented by competitions such as this.”
The 2018 CNNC awards are:
- First place: Adam Voorberg and Karen Mann, Osgoode Hall, York University
- Second place: Kaitlin Buchko and Tanci Carvalho, Robson Hall, University of Manitoba
- Third place: Lucas Kokat and Brendan Sheehan, University of Ottawa
- Fourth place: Jacey Safnuk and Christina Judge, University of Saskatchewan
- Award for teamwork and relationship-building: Erin Evans and Alex Favreau, Robson Hall, University of Manitoba
- Honorable mention for teamwork and relationship-building: Kaylee Mitchell and Antonela Cicko, University of Saskatchewan
- Award for planning and self-analysis: Michael Luba and Aleksander Godlewski, McGill University
- Honorable mention for planning and self-anaysis: Christina Judge and Jacey Safnuk, University of Saskatchewan; Lucas Kokat and Brendan Sheehan, University of Ottawa
This article has been adapted, with permission, from a story published by the University of Saskatchewan College of Law.