Fordham Mediation Team Takes First Place in Regional Competition, Advances to National Finals


Fordham Law’s Dispute Resolution Society (DRS) took first place at the 2021 American Bar Association (ABA) Representation in Mediation Regional Competition, hosted by Cardozo School of Law over Zoom. The two-day competition, held on Feb. 28 and March 1, included 10 teams from law schools across the country. After the first day, both of Fordham’s teams advanced, after completing two ninety-minute mediation sessions, to compete in the final round as the number one and number two seeds. The team of Laura Rann ’22 & Stephen Self ’22 won the event in a “Fordham vs. Fordham” face-off against their fellow classmates Ziva Rubinstein ’22 & Mirelis Gonzalez ’22. As a result of their win, Rann and Self secured an opportunity to compete at the National Finals in April 2021

The competition judges were highly impressed with both teams’ expertise and professionalism when handling the two mediation scenarios. The first dispute involved an age discrimination complaint against a Fortune 500 company, which required the competitors to develop the communication skills required in order to properly discuss these sensitive personal and legal issues. The second problem involved a defective clothing shipment mailed from a popular social media influencer to a small business owner, which called for a different type of advocacy as they needed to develop collaborative, long-term solutions with adversaries.

The competitors, with the help of the entire ABA Mediation team, including Nicholas Gonzalez ’22, Brian Sarfo ’22, Jack Klein ’22, and Brandon Odze ’22, and their student coach, Samuel Black ’21, prepared throughout the semester to improve their mediation skills, draft written representation plans, and develop strategies for possible mediation outcomes. Black’s energy and dedication to the team as he trained them in critical dispute resolution tools throughout the academic year, proved instrumental to the teams’ preparation. 

Congratulating the teams on their success, Black said: “I am incredibly proud of the competitors for so positively representing Fordham in this competition. Throughout the entire process, they exhibited high levels of professionalism, skill, and hard work. I feel very fortunate to have worked with such a strong group of individuals who, despite the challenges of a virtual environment, were able to give the competition their all and master the mediation techniques we aim to teach.”

He added: ”This victory was a joint effort, both with the teams who competed, the entire ABA Mediation Team, and everyone within DRS who helped the teams moot throughout the semester!”


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