SWLAW Blog | Faculty Features

Image - NHP National Champions

February 13, 2020

VICTORY! NHP Star Negotiators are 2020 ABA National Champions! (Chicago, IL)

Congratulations to Vanessa Barnett, Tamar Chobanian, Allyn Davidson, and Samantha Dennis on competing in the ABA National Negotiation Competition on February 7th and 8th, 2020, at the ABA Headquarters in Chicago, IL. 

Southwestern sent two teams to compete this year. Out of the 179 total teams competing from law schools across the country, Southwestern's team of Vanessa Barnett and Tamar Chobanian made history as they emerged victorious against Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in the final round. They were named National Champions by a UNANIMOUS vote. 

We are immensely proud and excited as our Negotiation Honors Program team moves onto representing Southwestern and the United States on the international stage.

Image - Vanessa Barnett and Tamar Chobanian
L to R: Tamar Chobanian and Vanessa Barnett at the 2020 ABA National Negotiation Competition. Photo Credit: ABA Law Student Division

"This immense victory wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our coaches and teammates who supported us every step of the way. I am so thankful and honored to have the opportunity to represent Southwestern Law School at the negotiation table. It is an experience I will never forget. I look forward to representing not only our school but the nation in internationals, alongside my talented partner!" 

- 2L Tamar Chobanian

According to the ABA Law Student Division website, the Negotiation Competition provides a means for law students to practice and improve their negotiating skills. The competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. This year's competition topic was family law. Read more here.

Image - ABA NHP National Competition
(L) Vanessa Barnett and Tamar Chobanian in action at the negotiation table, facing off against students from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. 

On returning home as National Champions, Vanessa Barnett wanted to express her thanks to their team coaches and to their supporters. 

"The Southwestern Law School NHP is unparalleled and it’s truly been an honor to represent such an outstanding program. I’m so thankful for my coaches and teammates — without them, a victory at Nationals wouldn’t have been possible. Also a huge thanks to the entire SWLAW community. Their continuous support and encouragement have been the necessary fuel to keep us going hard! I look forward to representing SWLAW at the international competition alongside my insanely talented partner Tamar!"

Likewise, their coach, Professor Cristina Knolton, had nothing but words for praise for their teamwork and performance.

"They were truly incredible, but could never have done it without the help of their teammates Sam and Allie. While Vanessa and Tamar were in the quarter-final round, Allie and Sam were preparing the semi-final problem. While Vanessa and Tamar were in the semi-final round, Sam and Allie were prepping the final problem. It was such a huge team effort that the win really belongs to all four students. I am so incredibly proud of all four brilliant amazing women."

Image - Southwestern ABA NHP Team
(L to R) Samantha Dennis, Allyn Davidson, Professor Cristina Knolton, Tamar Chobanian, Vanessa Barnett, and Professor April Macaraeg. 

Please join us in congratulating all four students and their coaches for their incredible work! Thank you to the Negotiation Honors Program and their faculty directors and coaches for their dedication and support in preparing this team. We will be cheering them on as they represent the United States at Internationals!