International Negotiations Competition (INC)

6 September 2010

Congratulations to Carmen Culina (5th Year Arts/Law) and Reuben Ray (5th Year Arts/Law) on their performance at the International Negotiations Competition (INC) recently, where they represented Australia.

They filed this report:

During the 1st to the 4th of July, Carmen Culina and Reuben Ray represented Australia at the International Negotiations Competition (INC) for law students hosted at Bond University in Queensland.

We were joined by fifteen other teams from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Singapore, India, England and Wales, New Zealand, Denmark, Puerto Rico, Northern Ireland, South Korea and the United States, each of which had either won, or come runner up in the national negotiations competition in their home country.

The annual INC competition is designed to foster and promote greater interest among law students in legal negotiation as an essential skill set for any lawyer, as well as fostering transnational camaraderie between participants. To that end, the first half of the four-day competition was devoted to socialising activities and information sessions, which revised negotiations tactics and clarified what was expected of participants. The Master Class on "4-D Negotiations" led by the humorous Dutch Negotiations expert, Mikkel Guds√łe, and the group day trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which was a model for the fictional sanctuary upon which the negotiations problems were based, where both equally memorable.

The competing aspect occurred over the final two days, with each team negotiating across three rounds, without any finals. As is the case with the domestic competitions with which we were familiar, the INC simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. The three, fairly complex simulations were centered around a fictional wildlife sanctuary, alternatively focusing on the sale of the property to a group of investors for use as an ecotourism site; a partnership with a Steve Irwin-like wildlife performer; and an agreement with an international not-for-profit organisation to oversee the existing animal hospital facilities alongside their research on the Tasmanian Devil. The draw saw us negotiate with teams from Puerto Rico, the United States, and South Korea respectively. Apart from being consistently challenging, each of the negotiations were incredibly divergent in their overall outcome, pace and tone, and it was often difficult to gauge exactly what the judging panel was looking for.

Although we were not finally placed in the top four teams, it was a great privilege to participate in such an extraordinary competition. We left the INC with a stronger understanding of the ins and outs of negotiation strategy, a greater appreciation of the challenges of cross-cultural communication (make sure you bring business cards when meeting with South Koreans), and a cemented love of the Irish. We only wish it could have lasted longer.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Sydney Law School for their generous sponsorship which helped us attend the competition. We are also grateful to Frank Astill, from the Law Extension Committee for his guidance in preparing for the competition.

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 682155327e192a1d311020221d572b320014511c34495e0c2c06160e40