MSU College of Law


Arbitration Competition Team (Arbitration Advocacy): The ABA Student Division Regional and National Arbitration competitions were new in 2005.  In this competition, students in teams of four - two attorneys, two witnesses - prepare and present a case to a panel of arbitrators against the opposing party. Students are scored on their opening statements, their examination and cross-examination of witnesses, closing statements, and their use of objections and evidence in the proceedings.  Michigan State has a stellar record in this competition, advancing to the regional semifinals in 2006 and 2008, winning the region in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and placing second in the nation in 2010.  Tryouts for the arbitration team are held in April.  Students will prepare a cross-examination and either an opening or closing statement using the prior year’s competition problem.  Anywhere from 4 to 8 students are selected annually depending on the number of returning competitors. 

One of the ways MSU Law’s ADR Program is different from the rest is our focus and dedication to student competitions.  Over the past ten years we routinely hosted regional competitions, including: ABA Arbitration (2007 and 2012), ABA Representation in Mediation (2006, 2009), and ABA Negotiation (2010) regional competitions. Typically competition courses are student-run or are managed by adjunct faculty.  Not at MSU!  Each of our competition teams enrolls in a specific competition course that is taught by one of our two full-time ADR faculty members.

Negotiation Competition (Negotiation Advocacy): The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Regional and National Negotiation Competitions create opportunities for two-student attorney/attorney teams to compete in negotiation.  Michigan State typically fields two teams (four students).  In 2012 our Negotiation Team (Lauren Prew and Anthony Chester) won the regional competition and advanced to place 2nd in the National Competition.  Selection for the negotiation competition team occurs through the intraschool competition.  Every MSU Law student completes a negotiation during the contract negotiation course.  Professors Bedikian and Pappas select the top 10% and invites them to participate in the Spring Intraschool Competition.  Any 2L may also participate.  Sixteen to Twenty students are selected for the semi-final round with four to eight students competing in the final round.  Students advancing to the semi-final round are eligible for selection on the competition team.  Students on the competition team simultaneously enroll in Negotiation Advocacy and Negotiation. 

Mediation Competition (Advanced Mediation): The International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) create opportunities for three student attorney/client/mediator teams to compete to resolve problems.   Each student rotates through the role of attorney, client, and mediator in a unique competition format.  While our attorney/client team may be competing against Ohio State’s attorney/client team, two mediators from different schools (Michigan and Penn State for example) co-mediate the round.  Our mediator is then in a different round co-mediating with another school’s mediator.  Each year we compete in the regional Great Lakes Mediation Tournament (held every other year) and in the annual International Tournament.  Prior international tournaments include London, United Kingdom (2011), Chicago, Illinois (2012), and Dublin, Ireland (2013).  Our team has been very successful, winning the Great Lakes in 2011 and placing second in 2013.  In London Abigail Valovage placed fourth in mediation, and in Dublin Stephanie Lacy, Tony Chester, and Lauren Prew placed sixth in advocacy and David Aschwege placed third in mediation.

Selection on the mediation team is done via tryout in the spring.  In order to be eligible, students must take both General Civil Mediation and Domestic Relations Mediation.  Further, the students must complete an externship at a community mediation center.  The mediation courses enroll via an interview process during the spring semester.