Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon

The Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon is a joint initiative of the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). For two days, student teams from law schools around the country meet to test their advocacy skills in the negotiation, mediation and arbitration of a securities dispute.

The Triathlon is not a competition of physical endurance, but of dispute resolution competence. Students play the roles of attorneys and clients, with some teams in the role of investor and others in the role of broker-dealer. Members of FINRA’s roster of experienced neutrals serve as mediators, arbitrators and judges, critiquing the student teams and offering the students an invaluable real-life experience. By challenging students to negotiate, mediate, and arbitrate in a single competition, this one-of-a-kind event gives students an opportunity to hone their advocacy skills in a realistic and comprehensive securities dispute experience.

Teams are composed of three students, and the competition takes place over two days.  On Saturday morning, one student plays the role of attorney, one plays the role of client, and one plays the role of settlement counsel as the teams negotiate.  Saturday afternoon, the students switch roles and engage in a mediation.  On Sunday, the teams arbitrate, with one student attorney conducting direct examination, one student attorney conducting cross-examination, and one student playing the role of client.

Three judges drawn from FINRA's roster judge each of the rounds.  Awards are given for Excellence in Negotiation, Excellence in Mediation Advocacy, and Excellence in Arbitration Advocacy, as well as the award to the Triathlon Champion and the Advocate's Choice Award, which goes to the team voted by the competitors as having the highest degree of skill, competence and professionalism.