Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

September 28, 2011
Negotiation Teams Take 1st and 3rd Place at National Competition

In a dominant performance, a pair of teams from Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program earned First and Third Place at the 2011 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition & Symposium hosted by the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. The team of Jennifer Allen (second-year day) and Timothy Sutton (third-year evening) won the competition while the team of Antwoin Wall (fourth-year evening) and Gayane Zorabian (third-year day) finished in a close third.

National Sports Law Negotiation Competition First Place Team
Jennifer Allen and Timothy Sutton

Southwestern's contingent competed against 20 teams from 15 law schools including UCLA School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, George Mason University School of Law, and University of Michigan Law School. In a four-to-one decision, the winning duo of Allen and Sutton defeated a team from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. The final bench consisted of three appellate court justices, the President/CEO of the San Diego Padres as well as a sports agent.

"I am so proud of our program and this performance is such a wonderful reflection of the commitment of the entire team,"Associate Dean Nyree Gray said. "What a nice way to start the season!"

National Sports Law Negotiation Competition Third Place Team
Antwoin Wall and Gayane Zorabian

In less than a month, the teams prepared to argue two sports-related problems. "We practiced five to six days a week," Sutton said. "Our coaches Dean Gray and Professor Knolton were instrumental and irreplaceable fixtures of our preparation and strategy sessions. Each member of the Negotiation Honors Program sparred with us and/or watched our practice and gave us constructive feedback. The team as a whole is unbelievably dedicated."

The first problem was a possible endorsement deal between Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Clayton Kershaw and the sports drink company FRS to negotiate the extent of the media campaign, compensation and contractual commitments. The second problem involved a negotiation between Vikings NFL franchise and the City of Los Angeles over the possible relocation of the Vikings to Farmers Field as the "LA Vikings" in 2012. This problem dealt with numerous issues including, revenue streams and distribution between parties, tax income, job creation, land lease and acquisition, naming rights, advertising, premise use and liability, public infrastructure and transportation issues, as well as NFL merchandising and broadcasting.

Allen and Sutton had six hours to prepare for the final round, a trade proposition for salary revenue reduction between their client the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets. Sutton explained that the problem was designed without a settlement zone, and the judges were instructed to base their decisions on "who they'd like to hire as their attorney." Additionally, scores were based upon an array of other professional and practical negotiating skills and techniques.

"Antwoin and Gayane were up all night with us, sparring and researching the problem. We could not have done this without the love, support, and dedication of our team members," said Sutton, who is also co-chair of the Negotiation Honors Program and editor-in-chief of The Commentator. "Our entire NHP team is a family that really supports one another and that dedication elevates all of us."