About 40 UConn business and law students competed and collaborated last week in the second annual Business Law Negotiation Competition, working on the first day of the competition to settle a business dispute and on the second day to reach an agreement to build a dam.
Six teams, each comprising a mix of law and MBA students, tackled the hypothetical cases at the law school on Feb. 19 and 20. In the first, they sought to settle litigation and rebuild the business relationship between a hospital and the technology company it sued, alleging failure to deliver a contracted electronic medical records system. In the second case, they represented the government of a developing country and a company that was negotiating to build a dam there.
The winning team consisted of law students Katelyn Donavon and Thomas Holmgren and MBA candidate Natalie Miccine.
Teams took varied approaches to resolving the hospital dispute. Some wanted to get a full understanding of the issue and how it arose, while others started looking directly for the key to a solution. Some appeared aggressive, using the threat of litigation and big bank balances to pressure the other side. Others declared outright that they wanted to reach an agreement outside of court and maintain a strong working relationship.
Professors and alumni from the business and law schools judged the competition. After each round teams did a self-analysis, with the judges giving feedback on performance and strategy.
Business student Mike Castillo said he appreciated seeing the different perspective of law students toward the problems. He said he thought they would concentrate on the contractual elements of the hospital case but he was pleased to find them even more interested in the business side.
The competition was organized by Professor Jessica Rubin of the law school and Professor Nora Madjar of the business school.
“It’s great to see the law and business students work together, contributing their respective skills,” Rubin said. “They experienced negotiation the way it really happens, which makes the skills that they developed in this competition extremely valuable.”