ADR places second in recent competition

Published: April 9th, 2012

Category: Awards, News, Students

The UF Alternative Dispute Resolution team, which was just recently granted co-curricular status, is off to a great start. Following Fall’s Negotiation and Mediation competition in North Carolina and the Arbitration competition at Stetson University, Sara Hoffman (2L) and Max Wihnyk (2L) ventured to Williamsburg, Va., to compete in the ABA Representation in Mediation competition held at William and Mary.

The competition, which took place March 17 and March 18, focused on mediation advocacy, requiring the competitors to undergo mock mediation sessions where one party served as a client and the other as the attorney needing to advocate the client’s interests.

On March 17, Hoffman and Wihnyk competed against two teams from the University of Memphis: Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and West Virginia University College of Law, respectively.

With positive feedback and high scores issued by practicing mediators from the area, Hoffman and Wihnyk advanced to the final round the following day, surpassing ten other teams from across the South.

“I really felt that the vagueness of the fact patterns and the strong competitors put our skills to the test, and made for a challenging competition,” Wihnyk said. “I was incredibly proud and satisfied with how we, as a team, competed, and were able to overcome the numerous obstacles that a start-up organization faces to make it to the finals in only our third competition.”

In the final round, Hoffman and Wihnyk mediated against the second team brought by the University of Memphis.

“We were pleasantly surprised when it was announced that we would be competing in the finals,” Hoffman explained, “but it all came full circle when we realized that the other team had an advantage — having teammates who had competed against us and a coach who had observed the entire mediation. We knew that we would need to develop a strategy whereby we acted in the roles those team members had not observed us in.”

Though the team did not win the final round, Hoffman and Wihnyk felt validation for their preparation after hearing the judges explain that the scores were incredibly close, and commend them on their performance.

“In the end, it was the first time the UF ADR team advanced to the finals of any competition,” UF ADR President, Jennilyn Thiboult said, “we are incredibly pleased with the results, proud of our team and looked forward to future competitions.”