A team of legal students from the University of Auckland has been awarded silver place at the International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris.
Run by the International Chamber of Commerce, the competition asks participants to solve cross-border business disputes through mediation.
65 university teams from over 50 countries gathered together in Paris. They worked alongside some of the world’s best international mediators and went through 147 intensive mediation sessions over six days.
Each team was expected to represent one party in each dispute by developing a theory of the case, analysing the client’s interests, objectives and alternatives (BATNA/WATNA) and then finally executing a realistic negotiation strategy.
The Auckland team included Michael Greenop, Honor Kerry, Ana Lenard-Sokorac and Andrew Yan Feng Lee. Their coach was Nina Khouri.
The team defeated teams from the US, Germany, Brazil and India to qualify for the competition’s final rounds.
They then defeated New York’s Cornell University in an IT and sponsorship dispute to move to the semi-finals where they beat Melbourne’s Monash University in an international gemstone insurance dispute.
The Grand Final was held at La Maison du Barreau, the headquarters of the Paris Bar Association.
The University of Auckland team was then beaten by the University of New South Wales in a final international sale of goods dispute.
“This is a major achievement,” says University of Auckland dean, Professor Andrew Stockley. “All four members of our team, coached by Nina Khouri, performed incredibly well to end up as runners-up of this prestigious competition.”
“This is the second time in the last four years that Auckland has reached the final of this competition, which is a great tribute to the commitment and coaching provided by Nina Khouri and the talent of our students.”
Andrew Yan Feng Lee, one of the Auckland team members, said the competition really helped push him to his limits.
“The competition, especially in the final rounds, gave me an opportunity to really challenge myself beyond what I thought I was capable of, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and the numerous times I stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed myself revealed the type of person that I can be.”
Coach Nina Khouri said that the competition was fun as well as a real test of the student’s technical skills.
“There were some really realistic negotiations – the approach we call the steel fist in a velvet glove – and I am very proud of all the students.”