Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Southwestern Team Takes First Place at ABA Mediation Competition March 10, 2014
Southwestern Team Takes First Place at ABA Mediation Competition

In February, Southwestern competed in the regional round of the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, which was held at Southwestern. Out of 12 teams that competed, Imran Rahman, Diana Shaginian, Ani Tolmoyan and Andrew Paster, represented the law school exceptionally well. Rahman and Shaginian (pictured above) advanced to the final round and won First Place when they defeated the team from Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law. In April, they will travel to the national competition in Miami.

The teams had two and a half weeks to get ready for the competition. "We prepared by 'sparring' with our Negotiation Honors Program teammates," Shaginian said. "Because the interests, facts, and strategies of the opposing side changed during each of these sparring rounds, we were prepared for anything that we would have to face during the competition. Our coaches - Professor Christina Knolton and alumna Cortni Joyner '14 - were also instrumental to our success. By taking their advice to heart, we had all the tools we needed to succeed."

Professor Knolton was especially impressed by the winning team's ability to understand and use the law to their advantage. "The students had to master three different legal problems for this competition," she said. "The judges consistently praised the team for their effective presentation of the law and for how they leveraged it to get a better deal for their client. It took a tremendous amount of research and preparation for them to get ready for the competition, and I am so proud of both teams for their performance. They were excellent examples of how to advocate successfully for your client."

In each of the two problems they negotiated during the first day of the competition, one team member was the client while the other was the attorney. The first problem dealt with employment and the Fair Labor Standards Act. The second problem was a tenant/landlord issue. After advancing through the first two rounds, Rahman and Shaginian received the confidential facts for the final problem on Saturday, and had one evening to prepare a tort action case involving a student who was attacked by an animal on a college campus.

"Because of the nature of the competition (one of us portraying the attorney and the other portraying the client), we had to rely on each other more than we would during a usual negotiation round," Shaginian said. "We understood our roles really well and supported each other throughout the competition."