Indisputably Excellent: Mediation Teams Win Big
Nov. 20, 2009
UT Dallas students returned from the National Mediation Tournament recently with top honors.
A UT Dallas team placed first university to win the Dan Stamatelos National Trophy for Advocacy. Another won fourth place in the Mediation category.
Of the 19 schools at the tournament, UT Dallas was the only school to place that highly in both categories.
In addition, Dina Shahrokhi won the Stephanie Jennings Memorial Award for Outstanding Mediator.
The tournament was Nov. 6 and 7 at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
A mediation round consists of advocate/client pairs from two schools, and mediators from two other schools. The competitors are given a simulated dispute to settle.
Advocacy teams are judged on their ability to state their positions but show flexibility in working toward a possible settlement. Mediators are judged on their ability to react to the demands of the advocates and clients and to facilitate a possible settlement.
Michael Gunnin, the coach of the UT Dallas Mediation Team, says it’s important to note that three of the schools that finished in the top four of the two categories are from the North Texas region: UT Dallas, The University of North Texas and Texas Wesleyan University. “We can be the best because we scrimmage against the best,” Gunnin said.
The three Universities host one another for scrimmages every year to prepare for the tournament. “We only prepare for this competition for a month, but it’s a grueling month,” Gunnin said.
The two teams that represented the University this year consisted of Shahrokhi, Megan Newman and Shannon Bumpas on the first team; and Ali Fazal, Haseeb Jangda, William Nguyen and Deneka Alfafara on the other.
The tournament is sponsored each year by The International Academy of Dispute Resolution to emphasize alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques and to provide a counterbalance to Moot Court and Mock Trial, which emphasize the adversarial side of the law.