Mitchell Hamline School of Law is a world champion after a team of two of its students won a recent global negotiation contest.
Brian Kennedy and Briana Al Taqatqa outperformed 32 teams from 25 countries at the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students held recently in Oslo, Norway. The competition played out over five days, and featured daily simulated international negotiation sessions judged by a panel of legal experts from around the world.
“We are absolutely delighted and thrilled that our team is now the world champion in negotiation,” said Mitchell Hamline President and Dean Mark C. Gordon. “We could not be prouder of Briana and Brian for their tremendous accomplishment.”
Kennedy is CEO of the El Paso Sports Commission in El Paso, Texas. Al Taqatqa, from Bloomington, Minn., is an analyst for international education management company SABIS. Both are enrolled in Mitchell Hamline’s first-of-its-kind HYBRID J.D. program, in which students complete half of their coursework on campus and half online. Gordon noted that the students’ performance marked many firsts for HYBRID J.D. students
“It’s incredible that this is the first time that students from our HYBRID J.D. program have ever competed in an outside competition—and in that first competition they won the world championship.”
Gordon also congratulated the team’s coaches—Mitchell Hamline Dean of Students Lynn LeMoine ’11 (HUSL), Hamline University Professor Ken Fox, and alum Pat Zitek ’10 (HUSL)—for helping the team to victory.
LeMoine has watched the students grow into a cohesive and skilled team since they began practicing for national and international negotiation competitions last fall.
“They anticipated each other’s thoughts and actions instinctively and trusted each other unconditionally,” LeMoine said. “Their teamwork undoubtedly contributed to their successes this year.”
Brian Kennedy agreed, and said the competition judges noted the team’s strength.
“Our teamwork was talked about in every negotiation,” he said. “As each negotiation progressed, we passed the presentation back and forth between us.”
“Brian and I were not sure what to expect going into the competition,” Briana Al Taqatqa said. “We worked with our coaches to prepare for cultural differences in style, language barriers, and a multi-party negotiation. I think that preparation was essential to our success.”
The International Negotiation Competition is an educational program for law students that provides hands-on training in the resolution of international disputes.
The Mitchell Hamline team qualified for the international contest by winning a national negotiation competition sponsored by the American Bar Association in February, beating out 20 teams from law schools around the United States.