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St. John’s BLSA Team Wins NBLSA Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A team representing St. John’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA) out-performed 16 teams from law schools across the country to take first place in the 8th Annual NBLSA Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition (NMNMINC). Bringing home the championship to St. John’s Law were competitors Benjamin Clack ’15 and Zachary Chailtel ’15, and coach Masai Lord ’14.

“Ben and Zach deserve so much credit for their passion, dedication, and tremendous effort in preparing for the competition, Masai said. “While the results were incredible, I’m equally proud of how they stood by each other through some early challenges  and adapted to the increasingly complex fact patterns they were presented with.”

Held annually, NMNMINC offers law students a unique opportunity to develop negotiation skills and apply them in a global context. Each two-person team negotiates cross-border conflicts based on current issues impacting the global community. Students gain exposure to a range of negotiating styles, various ethical and social norms, and a wide array of business issues. They also learn to navigate the challenges of cross-cultural communication. “The topics we covered for the competition are of increasing importance to governments and multi-national corporations in this era of globalization,” said Zach. “In this important way, NMNMINC gave us a leg up on handling the complex negotiations that we’ll engage in as practitioners.”

In each round, the St. John’s Law competitors had just 50 minutes to negotiate their side of several cutting-edge issues, including foreign investment in developing countries, nuclear disarmament in North Korea, and human trafficking in Ethiopia. Following each negotiation the students received constructive feedback from the legal practitioners and law professors who served as judges. “Competing at NMNMINC was an amazing experience,” Ben said. “St. John’s Law offers so many great opportunities to compete on a national scale. It’s a testament to our coach, our professors, and our administrators that we were able to excel in this negotiation forum.”