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Stetson University College of Law Wins Second Annual Arbitration Competition National Finals

Competition draws participants from 23 national law schools

Minneapolis, MN, November 28, 2006 --( – Stetson University College of Law, represented by Megan Lattz, Shannon McMahon, Sarah Olsen and Stuart Weissman, defeated eleven other law school teams in the second annual Arbitration Competition National Finals held in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 17-18. The competition was co-sponsored by the National Arbitration Forum and the ABA Law Student Division.

Each team argued in a mock arbitration that was judged by attorneys, National Arbitration Forum arbitrators and other nationally recognized arbitrators. During the mock arbitration hearings, four-member teams acted as lawyers and witnesses in an insurance coverage dispute involving a disaster. Students prepared and presented an arbitration case, including opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations and summations.

“The students really learn the nuances of case development, which is a difficult and crucial skill to master,” said professors Kelly Feeley and Roberta Flowers of Stetson University College of Law, coaches of the 2006 National Champion team. “Honing these skills in law school makes these students more attractive to employers who want new associates prepared for all areas of the practice. We are so pleased that this competition has been added to the ABA Law Student Division's roster of competitions. Participation and success in the arbitration competition benefits students both during and after law school.”

This year’s Arbitration Competition saw an increase in student participation and school representation. A total of 108 students from 23 American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law schools attended the Regional Competitions, with 48 students from 10 schools advancing to the National Finals in Austin. This is a significant increase from 2005, when 80 students from 20 ABA-approved law schools participated at the inaugural Arbitration Competition at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn.

The National Finals were held at the home of 2005 National Champion Team, the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, who this year took third place. Teams, composed of ABA Law Student Division members, made their way to the National Finals by competing in the Regional Competitions and earning a spot as a Champion, Finalist or Semifinalist. Regional Competitions took place over two weekends in October and were hosted by the University of Miami School of Law, University of Toledo College of Law and Marquette University Law School.

“The National Arbitration Forum is very pleased to continue sponsoring the ABA Law Student Division Arbitration Competition. This educational event helps aspiring lawyers learn about modern arbitration practice,” said Roger Haydock, director of education for the National Arbitration Forum and chair of the Arbitration Competition Subcommittee of the ABA Law Student Division’s Competitions Committee. “As the field of alternative dispute resolution [ADR] continues to rapidly grow, so does the need for experienced new professionals, and this national competition is an excellent way to spread the word about arbitration.”

First Place, National Champion Team
Stetson University College of Law, Megan Lattz, Shannon McMahon, Sarah Olsen and Stuart Weissman, coached by Professor Kelly Feeley and Professor Roberta Flowers.

Second Place, Finalist Team
Texas Tech University, Jonathan Stovall, Derek Knolton, Geeda Yadav and Scott Goble, coached by Professor D. Murray Hensley.

Third Place (tie), Semifinalist Teams
The University of Texas School of Law, Courtney Barksdale, Dave Campbell, Wesley Cooper and Casey Kaplan, coached by Professor Tracy McCormack.

William Mitchell College of Law, Megan Bjerke, Elizabeth Roff, Jennifer Ryan and Rebecca Sonntag, coached by Professor Christine Ver Ploeg and Adjunct Professor Dawn Van Tassel.

About the ABA Law Student Division
With nearly 52,000 members, the ABA Law Student Division is the largest professional student organization in the United States. The division provides law students with opportunities for legal education, professional skills development and career counsel. Each year the division sponsors four competitions: the Arbitration Competition, the Client Counseling Competition, the National Appellate Advocacy Competition and the Negotiation Competition.

About the American Bar Association
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.

About the National Arbitration Forum

The National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) is one of the world's leading providers of alternative dispute resolution services, including arbitration and mediation. Committed to the integrity of America's legal process, the National Arbitration Forum has maintained a distinguished panel of over 1,500 attorneys and retired judges who follow and apply the substantive law when rendering legal decisions for the past 20 years. National Arbitration Forum mediators and arbitrators are located across the and in 35 countries around the world. By administering dispute resolution solutions that save time and money, the National Arbitration Forum provides an efficient and effective service for all legal parties. Publisher of the ADR Law & Policy Update, the National Arbitration Forum is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in New Jersey and Southern California. For more information visit the National Arbitration Forum's website at  

More information about the arbitration competition and a photograph of this year’s National Champion Team, can be found on the FORUM blog,, and the ABA Law Student Division webpage,

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National Arbitration Forum
Christina Doucet

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