Fordham Law’s Dispute Resolution Society Closes Season with Third Place Finish in Brazil


From Chicago to Hong Kong, Fordham Law’s Dispute Resolution Society (DRS) traveled the world this academic year, competing in 13 domestic and international arbitration, mediation, and negotiation competitions and posting a series of wins.

DRS is one of Forham’s highest ranked speciality programs, ranking 13th in the nation according to the latest U.S. News and World Report. Second-year and third-year evening students develop practical skills, including in oral advocacy, brief writing, research, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, through preparation, practice, and inter-school competitions in various processes of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

“This has been an outstanding year for DRS under the capable leadership of Shiva Sachdeva ’24,” said Professor Jacqueline Nolan-Haley, director of the ADR & Conflict Resolution Program. “Thanks to the dedication of the teams, their coaches, and their teachers, DRS has brought many honors to the society and the Law School and has developed an international reputation. Through their volunteer work teaching negotiation skills to high school students, they have also honored the Jesuit tradition of being ‘in the service of others.’ I am very proud of them.”

DRS completed an impressive 2023-2024 season that included winning both the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) Law School Tournament and the Loyola University Chicago Willem C. Vis Pre-Moot during the spring and earning a place in the final rounds of the annual Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) International Mediation Competition in São Paulo in mid-April.

This year’s CPR team delivered an incredible performance, resulting in a third place overall finish at the Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) International Mediation Competition in March 2024.

Prior to arriving for the three-day battle in Brazil, the CPR team—made up of coaches Tyler Burggren ’24 and Joon Choe ’24 and competitors Heebum Shin ’25, Jake Caruso ’25, Diane Shin ’25, Cate Gillham ’25, and Rebecca Goetz ’25—dedicated themselves to rigorous preparation, gearing up through numerous mooting sessions. The final competition problem was a continuation of several previously negotiated rounds about debt restructuring of a soccer club.

Burggren said, “Obviously the competition and the mediation/negotiation experience that gives students is invaluable, but what I found special was the connections that people made with each other through their shared love of the law and interest in mediation.”

Fordham Law School won First Place Mediation Team at the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) Law School Tournament in March 2024.

In March, two Fordham teams advanced to the semi-final round of the INADR Law School Tournament as mediators, with Amanda Cooper ’25 and Jillian Keyes ’25 each representing Fordham DRS. The final competition problem was a dispute between an oil palm farm and a wildlife conservation fund in Indonesia, “posing an interesting conflict between economic and moral arguments,” according to Keyes. The Law School ended up winning First Place Mediation Team after a superb performance by Keyes.

“We put a lot of time and effort into preparing and had so much fun together in both the lead-up to the competition and the actual competition,” said Keyes. “Fordham Law hadn’t won this competition in years, and I am proud to have played a part in bringing home the first place trophy.”

For a week at the end of March 2024, Fordham Law’s Vis West team competed in Vienna among 390 teams. The team had four strong pleadings against teams from China, Armenia, Egypt, and Canada.

At the Willem C. Vis West International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, Talin Ghazarian ’25, Caraline Higgins ’25, Justin Lagera ’25, and Meghan McAlary ’25 competed among approximately 390 teams. After a weeks-worth of competition, the team had four strong pleadings against teams from China, Armenia, Egypt, and Canada. The team argued rounds as both the claimant and the respondent throughout the competition, with the problem revolving around a contract dispute between two long-standing business partners. The arguments focused on tenets of laws governing the international sale of goods, good faith, expected conduct between business partners, and expectations under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Said Ghazarian, “Over the course of our four rounds, the arbitrators came from Brazil, Germany, the UK, Taiwan, and other countries. In feedback after the rounds, we learned a lot about styles of argument in each country [and]tones for an argument that are preferred, so it gave us a glimpse into how other countries’ legal systems operate.”

DRS Chairperson Shiva Sachdeva ’24 (right) assisted with organizing the 18th Annual Fordham Vis International Commercial Arbitration Pre Moot in February 2024.

Reflecting on the past year, DRS Chairperson Shiva Sachdeva ’24 expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to compete on a global scale.

“As I valued the chance to represent Fordham Law as a 2L at the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition in Hong Kong during the 2022-2023 academic year, I wanted to lead the organization during my 3L year to help provide similar opportunities for my classmates to represent the Law School around the world and grow community on campus,” said Sachdeva. “I am incredibly proud that many DRS teams received awards and positive feedback from our competitions, and hopeful that DRS members made long lasting memories and friendships, as well as gained transferable and practical skills that will be valuable after their time at the law school.”


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