The Williams College Law Society placed seventh at the 14th annual National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2 at Drake Law School in Des Moine, Iowa. The Law Society sent three team members, captain Katherine McDowell ’15, Miaoru Guan ’17 and Minwei Cao ’17, to represent the College. Jessamyn Lockard ’15 competed alongside her teammates at the regional tournament in Boston but was unable to attend the natio
nal competition. The Law Society team took home the H. Case Ellis Spirit of Mediation Award for Best Advocate/Client Team. This year marked the College’s second time competing in the national tournament.
The Law Society sends teams to compete in three areas of legal practice: appellate advocacy, trial advocacy and mediation. The mediation team’s season is primarily early in the fall semester.
“The Mediation Season begins during the first full week of school with team selection and practices,” Emanuel McMiller ’14, president of the Law Society, said. “There is a regional competition in Boston [during] the last weekend of September. The team then spends the next month preparing for nationals at the end of October.”
Each year’s mediation competition asks undergraduate students to participate in a simulation of mediation both as attorney and client. These simulations involve three active roles – mediator, attorney and client – and recreate circumstances of a conflict that requires mediation. Three students make a team, with one alternate competitor allowed, and each student must serve as mediator at least once in one of three preliminary rounds. The International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) sponsors the tournament and sends real-life mediators to judge contestants. All participants have the opportunity to earn All-American honors for their performance in the simulation.
“Essentially, each round of competition involved two different schools representing clients trying to settle or reach an agreement in a case with the best interests of their clients in mind, with representatives from two other schools mediating the case and encouraging the two sides to reach an agreement,” McMiller said.
The team considers future tournaments to be a great opportunity for networking and challenge.
“We can’t wait to compete again – tournaments are challenging but they also give us the opportunity to meet students from all over the world with interests in law,” McDowell said.
The Law Society’s national achievement builds on its success during last year’s season, when Desiree Daring ’13 won the 13th Place All-American Individual Mediator Award at the 2012 National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament at Brenau in Gainesville, Ga. The awards of this season will galvanize the team’s competitive spirit and commitment going forward.
“The success of the mediation team, despite its small size and young history, has inspired our other law teams to work harder and to envision greater success this upcoming season,” McMiller said. “To have tangible evidence of our success from a national competition has also given our members immense pride and a sense of purpose, no matter what area of the Society they’re working in.”