Competitors Information Pack Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation Competition 2011

Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
Competitors Information Pack
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
General Information
Why YOU should take part
The negotiation competition is a great opportunity to hone your advocacy skills as teams of
‘lawyers’ sit down and try to negotiate the best deal for their ‘clients’. You and your partner will represent
one party in a dispute of some kind and will be given a scenario and confidential facts to read half an hour in
advance of the first round. It is your task to reach a compromise with ‘the other side’. This will not only be an
excellent practice for a career as a solicitor or barrister but is also extremely useful in training contract interviews when you certainly have to know how to negotiate.
There is no preparation required, and you do not need to know any law in advance, simply sign up, turn up,
read the hand-outs you will be given, and off you go! The game is great fun and gives you the chance to ‘talk
the talk’.
Most disputes which lawyers are asked to sort out do not end up in the courts, instead they are solved by
way of some form of compromise between the parties – a negotiated agreement. Getting the best deal for
your client can often involve some skilful negotiation, and it is something which you will have to do on your
LPC/BPTC and as part of your trainee solicitors’ legal
skills courses.
Format of the Competition
In the Negotiation Competition, a team of two law students representing one part/client negotiates either a
transaction or the resolution of a dispute with an opposing team of students. Just before the start of the
round participating teams will receive a common set of facts and some confidential information known only
to the participants representing a particular side. You may have to negotiate a settlement in a divorce case,
sponsorship deal, etc.
After reading your facts, planning your argument and deciding which areas you will be willing to compromise
on, you will face another team for 30 minutes. The aim is to leave the negotiating table feeling that you have
done the best to promote and protect your client’s interests, remaining professional at all times of course!
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
Teams will be assessed on their own performance, with the top scoring teams going on to the next round.
The assessment criteria listed below are those used for the regional competition. We follow these in the internal competition as well. After each category I have written the questions the judges are asked to consider
when evaluating the performance of each team. You should bear these in mind during the competition, to ensure the judges answer the questions positively with regards to your team.
Negotiation planning
Judging from its overall performance and apparent strategy, how well prepared for the negotiation did this
team appear to be?
Flexibility in deviating from plans or adapting strategy
How flexible did this team appear to be in adapting its strategy to the negotiation as it developed; reacting to
new information or to unforeseen moves by he opposing team?
Team Work
How effective were these negotiators in working together as a team; sharing responsibility and providing mutual backup
Relationship between the negotiating teams
Did the way this team managed its relationship with the other team contribute to or detract from achieving this
team’s client’s best interests?
Negotiation Ethics
To what extent did this negotiating team observe or violate the ethical requirements of a professional relationship?
Outcome of Session
Based on both the negotiation and the self-analysis and regardless of whether agreement was reached, to
what extent did the outcome of the session serve the goals of the team’s client?
Teams should begin this 10-minute period by answering the following questions:
(a) “In reflecting on the entire negotiation, if you faced a similar situation tomorrow, what would you do the
same and what would you do differently?”
(b) “How well did your strategy wok in relation to the outcome?”
Based on the team’s review session, how well has the team learned from today’s negotiation and how adequate
was their process of self-analysis?
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
Tips and Hints
Be firm but fair – you must be willing to give a little; you can’t reach a compromise if you refuse to
budge on any points!
Be professional – greet the other side, introduce yourselves – use words like ‘my col- league’ – say
which firm you are from and who you are representing.
Tackle the issues arising in the set of facts one by one, most important first.
Try to lead the discussion and be pro-active – avoid awkward silences if you can! Let the other side
make their points as well though.
There is not much need for ‘real law’ to be quoted – what needs to be sorted out should be obvious
from the facts.
Don’t talk over your partner – good teamwork is essential.
You may have questions which you need to ask the other side, and some problems may involve financial matters to be settled.
Always remember that you must act in your client’s best interests at all times – there may be some
facts to which you are privy that the client does not want you to disclose to the other side.
At the end, sum up what you have agreed and highlight anything that needs being con- sidered as a
‘follow-up’ to your meeting.
Useful Phrases
“Our client has advised us/has specified…”
“Can we just return to the previous point…”
“I’m afraid that is as much as we are prepare to say on the matter…”
“We feel it is necessary to compromise with you on this point – it is in both our clients best interests to
successfully resolve this issue.”
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
Official Rules
1. Eligibility
i. Each law school is eligible to enter a team of two law students in the appropriate regional com- petition. Where an
institution has undergraduate and post graduate courses a team may be en- tered from both the undergraduate and the
postgraduate courses. The students may be under- graduates taking a law degree programme which includes the core
subjects or postgraduate stu- dents who are undertaking full-time legal research or a CPE, LPC, BVC, BCL, masters
course or a graduate Diploma in Law course. (1)
ii. A student may take part in the competition on one occasion only (2). Additional teams may be entered pursuant to
Rules 15 and 16 only.
iii. To enter the competition the approval of the Head of the relevant law school must be obtained and a faculty member must agree to serve as an adviser (3)
iv. There will be a non-returnable entry fee of £75 per team.
2. Communication
All communication concerning the competition will be by e-mail.(4)
3. The Competition
i. There will normally be regional heats (5) from which teams will go forward to the national final.
The number of teams qualifying for the national final from each heat will depend upon the number of entries overall and the number of regional rounds. The Negotiation Competition Commit- tee reserves the right
not to hold regional heats. All the following rules relating to the number of participants and teams going forward to
subsequent rounds should be read in the light of this provision. The number of teams qualifying from a regional round
will be notified before the re- gional round takes place.
ii. The Negotiation Competition Committee will divide participating schools into regions for the re- gional competitions.
iii. The winners of the competition in any year will be expected to host the national competition the following year. The
Negotiation Competition Committee, in consultation with the sponsors and the host convenor, will administer the national competition. The national finals may be video- taped.
4. Competition format
i. The regional competitions will consist of two concurrent rounds and the national competition will consist of three
concurrent rounds. Each team will negotiate twice in the regional competi- tions. Normally 12 teams in total will go forward to the national competition. In the national com- petition each team will negotiate in all three rounds (6)
ii. Each negotiation will consist of a 50-minute negotiation session, during which each team may take one break of no
more than five minutes. The 50-minute period will continue during any such break. If the team calling the break specifically requests, both teams must leave the room during the break. At the end of the 50-minute period each team will
have a ten-minute period to analyse their performance in private and a ten-minute self-analysis period (ten minutes per
team) in the presence of the judges. The team with the letter designation closest to the beginning of the al- phabet will
go first in the self-analysis.
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Competition 2011
iv. Supplemental materials may be used by the participants. However, no supplemental materials prepared prior to
the session may be used until each member of the opposing team has been given a complete copy of the materials.
Supplemental materials, other than those used during the negotiation session, may not be introduced or used during
the self-analysis portion of the competition. Only materials actually used during the negotiation may be shown to the
judges. Participants are not required to show materials to the judges (7).
v. Judges will give feedback to both teams before the next negotiation.
vi. Responsibility rests with the student participants for timekeeping and for adherence to allotted time periods and
breaks. Decisions by the judges as to elapsed time are final and non-reviewable.
5. Distribution of materials
i. Approximately two weeks before the regional competition the common and confidential facts of each scenario will
be distributed by e-mail. Each scenario will consist of: A common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. Judges will have access to all scenario
materials provided to participants.
ii. Approximately two weeks before the national competition the common facts and confidential facts will be distributed by e-mail as for the regional competitions.
6. Self-analysis
Following the ten-minute preparation for self-analysis, each team will have ten minutes in which to analyse the team's
performance in the negotiation. This will take place outside the presence of the opposing team. Students will begin
this ten-minute period by answering, in the presence of the judges, the following questions:
- In reflecting on the entire negotiation, if you were to be faced with a similar situation tomorrow, what would you do
the same and what would you do differently?
- How well did your strategy work in relation to the outcome?
The team should also be prepared to respond to questions from the judges concerning the team's performance. In
addition, the team may use this as an opportunity to explain why it chose a particular approach or even a specific tactic. The judges may take into consideration for scoring purposes anything said during this session.
7. Competition format and progress to the national competition
i. The competition consists of two concurrent rounds in the regional competitions and three concur- rent rounds in
the national final (8). [See Annex II for agreed pairings and scheme]. Notice of the schedule to be used in a regional
competition must be given to all participating schools at least two weeks prior to the competition (9).
ii. Where two teams from the same law school participate in a regional competition or the national competition they
will always represent the same side and must negotiate the same scenario at the same time.
iii. Only two teams from any one institution can proceed from the regionals to the national. In the event that three
teams from one institution in a regional are placed among the highest scoring teams to qualify for the national competition, only the two highest placed teams will go forward and the next highest scoring team from an other institution will go forward instead.
iv. In the event that either two undergraduate teams or two postgraduate teams from the same law school, who
have participated pursuant to rules 15 or 16, are placed in the three highest scoring teams in the national competition,
only the higher scoring of the two teams will be placed and the next highest scoring team from another law school
will be placed instead.
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
8. Team briefing
i. Every effort will be made to ensure that the simulations and rules are clear. The competition convenor shall organise concurrent briefing sessions at the start of the competitions. All student participants representing a particular side
should meet together and be given the opportunity to ask questions. This session should be held while the judges are
being briefed. No one other than the student participants and person(s) conducting the briefing session will be permitted to attend. The competition convenor will have complete discretion in answering questions related to the simulation and rules. However, no new facts may be added to the simulations. Since teams representing each side will
meet separately, if one group raises a question that exists in the general background information (i.e. the information
known by both sides), the clarification will be communicated to the other group and to the judges. As in any negotiation session, the facts are subject to reason- able interpretation by the parties. Whether a team's interpretation is
reasonable is not a matter that should be resolved by the person conducting the briefing. Questions of reasonableness of an interpretation are entirely within the discretion of the judges and are not reviewable.
ii. Submission of inquiries relating to the simulated fact patterns in advance of the briefing must by e- mail. Under no
circumstance will additional facts be provided, and inquiries will be accepted only if absolutely necessary - as determined by the Negotiation Competition Committee - to clarify a bon- afide and fundamental question. In no event,
however, will the Negotiation Competition Commit- tee entertain a request for clarification unless received by e-mail
by 3 p.m. on the date that is seven calendar days before the negotiation event.
9. Judges
i. Each round (consisting of two negotiation sessions in the regional competitions and three sessions in the national
competition) will be observed and evaluated by a panel of three judges, at least two of whom must be lawyers. These
judges will evaluate the performance of the participants according to the standards and criteria provided.
ii. To the extent possible, the host school is responsible for selecting judges who are experienced and knowledgeable
in negotiation skills. Any non-lawyers serving as judges must have negotiation experience.
iii. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if there is an insufficient number of judges on the day of the com- petition, negotiations may be observed and evaluated by panels consisting of either two or three judges. If any negotiation in a
round is observed and evaluated by a panel of two judges their scores will be averaged and added as a third set of
marks for that round and will be entered on the score sheet in the column otherwise reserved for the scores awarded
by the third judge.
iv. Judges will be briefed before each round in conformity with the Negotiation Competition Instructions for Briefing
10. Permissable assistance
i. The faculty adviser may advise the team in its planning and preparation for all rounds of the com- petition.
ii. No one, including faculty advisers, however, may give advice or instructions to, or attempt to communicate in any
way with, any of the participants during the period from beginning of the participants' negotiation session to the
completion of the self-analysis period for that negotiation session. Observers, faculty advisers and other persons
identified with a participating team may only observe heats in which that school's team is participating.
iii. No participant or other person identified with a participating team may attend a negotiation session of any other
team, except a faculty adviser serving as a judge. Nor may the participants, faculty advisers, or any other person connected with a team communicate with another of its school's teams, if a school has more than one team entered in
the competition, until all of the school's teams have completed all negotiations.
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Competition 2011
iv. Where a faculty adviser is serving as a judge, s/he may not judge a heat containing a team from that adviser's school.
v. The mere act of communication, receipt of information, or attendance proscribed by this rule will constitute a breach of the
rules, regardless of the substance thereof and regardless of whether initiated by a participant or by any other person. Breach of
this rule will result in disqualification. (10)
11. Team identification and pairing
i. Each team will be assigned a letter by the national committee co-ordinator. If a judge asks a team member which school the
team member represents, the member should respond that the rules do not allow that information to be given until the competition is completed. (11)
ii. The competition pairings and scheme [see Annex II] is such that no team will negotiate directly against another team more than
once. Where an institution has more than one team in the competition [see rules 1, 15 and 16] the national committee co-ordinator
and the convenor shall ensure that both teams will conduct the same negotiation at the same time and the letter designations will
be assigned accordingly.
12. Breaches of the Rules
i. Any breach of the rules that may affect the results will be resolved on the day of the competition by an appeals panel appointed
by the competition convenor.
ii. Competition participants and faculty advisers waive the right to appeal any matter arising in the course of a competition round if
they fail to make a complaint before the end of the final judges' feedback period in the round in which the matter occurred.
iii. The appeals panel will consist of at least one but not more than three faculty advisers and/or judges. No member of the appeals
panel may be a person identified with a complaining school, the alleged offending school, or the school currently placed next behind the alleged offending school.
iv. The appeals panel will not meet before conclusion of the regional competition and will only hear a complaint that has a bearing
on the results of the competition.
v. In respect of issues that arise in the presence of the judges, the appeals panel has full discretion to determine whether to rank
the offending team fourth in the heat of a regional competition, or sixth in a heat of the national competition or impose no penalty. The rankings of the other teams
in that heat shall, when a penalty is imposed, be adjusted upwards accordingly.
vi. The decision of the appeals panel is final.
13. Participant expenses
Travel, accommodation and incidental costs incurred by participants in the competitions will not be reimbursed by the Negotiation
Competition Committee and will be the responsibility of the participants.
14. Host school expenses
i. A subsidy will be provided to help the schools hosting the regional heats defray the costs of holding the competition, providing
refreshments during the day and a reception after the competition.
ii. A subsidy will be provided to help the school hosting the national finals defray the costs of holding the competition, providing
refreshments during the competition and a competition dinner.
15. Additional team: uneven number of registered teams
i. In the regional rounds, the competition convenor, in consultation with the Negotiation Competition Committee, may permit one
or more additional eligible teams to participate in the competition if the number of teams registered does not equal a multiple of
four. At the option of the competition convenor, such additional teams may represent any school participating in the competition,
including the host school. Any additional team must otherwise qualify for participation in every respect; however, students competing for the same school should represent only one side of the negotiation scenario.
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
ii. Where additional teams are needed so the national competition will have a number of teams equal to a multiple of six,
the Negotiation Competition Committee, in its sole discretion, may allow additional team(s) to go forward.
iii. Where a team qualifies for the national competition from a regional competition but is unable to participate in the national competition, the next ranked team in that region will qualify for the national competition.
16. Failure of registered team to appear on the day of the competition
There is always the possibility that because of illness or other emergency a team or one member of a team will not appear
on the day of the competition. In this unlikely event:
i. The competition convenor will seek another registered team to split apart to compete as single person teams during that
round of the competition. The number of teams required to split will be such as to achieve the next number equal to a multiple of four.
ii. Only those teams representing the same side of a negotiation as the team that failed to appear will be eligible for participation as individuals. If more than one team volunteers, the team will be chosen at random. If no team volunteers, the team
will be chosen at random from among all teams representing the side of the team that failed to appear.
iii. n the event that a single-person team under this rule begins competing, the absent team forfeits.
In the event that a single-person team under this rule qualifies for the national competition both team members will proceed to the national as a two person team.
iv. In the case of a team which has qualified for the national competition and it becomes known that one member of the
team will not be able to attend the national, a substitute may be used provided that the Negotiation Competition Committee has been notified in advance of the national competition.
v. In the case of a team where only one team member appears on the day of the competition and no substitute is available,
that team will be considered to have forfeited and the rules that apply to total non-appearance shall prevail.
17. Scoring
In the regional competitions each panel of judges will observe four teams in any one round. Judges will rank the teams from
one to four in order of effectiveness in the negotiating session. (See Rule 9 (iii) concerning an uneven number of judges on
the panel in any round.) In the case of the regional competitions, the best ranking teams, i.e. those with the lowest cumulative ratings overall, (the number will depend upon the overall competition entry) will advance to the national finals, subject
to Rule
7(iii). In the national competition the best ranking teams are those that have the lowest cumulative ratings overall after
three rounds. The winning team, the second and third placed teams will be announced following calculation of the results
(based on the score sheets from the judges in all three rounds and, if necessary, the application of Rule 7(iv)) at the competition dinner.
18. Tie-breaking procedure
i. If it is necessary to break a tie to determine the teams advancing to the national competition or determine the first-, second- and third- place rankings in the national competition, the tie will be broken by computing the team with the lowest
total score on the seven scoring scales on the judges' score sheets, using only the score sheets of the teams involved in the
ii. If the tie breaking calculation still results in a tie, the winner will be determined from among those tied by choosing the
team achieving the best (lowest) score in the OUTCOME OF THE SESSION category, calculated in accordance with the provisions of this rule.
iii. If a tie still remains, the tie shall be broken by tossing a coin.
Simmons & Simmons Junior Negotiation
Competition 2011
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