Post Date: February 14, 2006

Last weekend, third-year students Amar Mehta and Sabastian Niles took first place in the American Bar Association National Negotiation Championship. From a pool of 200 teams, Mehta and Niles were selected to represent the United States at the International Negotiation Competition in July.

The topic for this year’s finals focused on contract and corporate law relating to the sale of goods and services. Over the course of the three rounds, the HLS team represented a concrete subcontractor seeking inclusion in a general contractor’s bid, a celebrity chef considering a joint venture with an entertainment conglomerate and shareholders developing succession and equity reorganization plans for a family-owned corporation with a rebellious board of directors.

Coached by HLS lecturer Robert C. Bordone, Mehta and Niles advanced to the national finals after winning the Northeast Regional Negotiation Championship in November 2005. In the upcoming International Negotiation Competition, the Harvard team will compete against teams from countries ranging from Ireland to Australia.

Mehta and Niles said that their experience as students in the Spring 2005 Negotiation Workshop, along with encouragement from their instructors, Bordone and Florrie Darwin, inspired them to participate in the ABA Competition.

Lawyers, professors and experienced negotiators judged the teams on categories such as preparedness, effectiveness, flexibility, teamwork, ethics, self-analysis and outcome of the negotiation.