Law students hope for win in mediation competition
Bar-Ilan students to travel to Paris to try to repeat success of last year’s delegation in Int'l Chamber of Commerce’s mediation competition.
MEDIATION HOPEFULS Photo: courtesy Bar Ilan University
From February 8 to 13 a group of four Bar-Ilan University law students will
travel to Paris to try to repeat the success of last year’s delegation, which
came in second in a field of 64 teams from across the globe in the International
Chamber of Commerce’s mediation competition.
The purpose of the
competition is to impart in students the deft mediation skills needed to
represent in the most effective way possible clients involved in commercial
disputes. Mediation is a method of conflict management and resolution.
will be the eighth year that Bar-Ilan is participating.
Shaked, who has been working with the four students over the past several
months, has extensive experience in mediation practice and teaches international
commercial mediation at Bar-Ilan. Her job has been to impart the skills
necessary for them to present their side clearly and articulately, and to
fervently defend their clients’ interests.
At the same time, Shaked has
tried to create a congenial atmosphere of cooperation that allows the students
to deeply penetrate the issues being disputed in order to find creative
solutions that will enable the sides to reach an agreement that reflects mutual
Mediation, she explained, is about both sides being the
winner. It is not about a winner and a loser.
Shaked also said the
program was becoming more important since alternative dispute resolution
processes were becoming an integral part of the global and Israeli legal
The four team members were selected from a competitive pool of
One, Mai Shebta, has a unique view of the advantages of
mediation and conflict management, having grown up in the 50-family coexistence
village of Neve Shalom, about half-way between Tel Aviv and
Shebta said she joined the team to build her skills for
helping with human rights issues. She also works at a mediation clinic assisting
foreign workers to learn their rights. She hopes that some of the skills she
learns will help make her a voice for coexistence.
“My motto is that
enemies are only people who haven’t had the chance to meet the other side,” she
According to team member David Adler, “Preparing for the mediation
competition has taught me many vital skills that are not necessarily focused on
in law school, such as the power of a win-win situation, active listening and
The team has also consulted – and had an
intensive, week-long training session in early January – with Marquette
Andrea Schneider, one of the founders of the American
Bar Association’s mediation competition.
During Schneider’s visit, the
team built its strategy for handling cases and sharpened the strong bonding
system necessary for this kind of a competition. The height of the intense “boot
camp” week was a full-fledged mediation rehearsal pitting the four team members
against each other.
In a rehearsal, Shebta and Elik Moshkowits
represented “Company A,” which distributed a life-saving medical product
developed by “Company B,” represented by Adler and Eitan Mor..
between the two sides was breached when Company B terminated their contract.
Company A lodged two claims against Company B for 1) terminating the contract
and 2) “meddling” in the resignation of Company A’s CEO.
sides expressed interest in restoring their working relationship, Company A
argued that it was entitled to compensation from Company B.
asserted that the contract had been terminated due to declining
Schneider and other staff members critiqued the teams, suggesting
that they more dramatically emphasize the danger of high litigation costs, emote
more and skip faster to key arguments regardless of their placement on the
Schneider said she visits Israel several times a year, once
leading a trip of non- Jewish law students. When she was offered an opportunity
to help coach the team and get to visit an additional time, it was a
She said the Israeli team had a lot of the same issues and
strengths of American law students she has observed, but added that it was a
“very good team with diverse backgrounds and experiences, which provides
diversity in responding to problems and challenges.”
said the program received critical support and guidance from the dean of the
university’s Faculty of Law, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, and from Prof. Michal
Alberstein, director of Bar-Ilan’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in
Conflict Management and Negotiation.
She opined that with all the backing
the program had received, Bar-Ilan has the most advanced program in conflict
management in Israel and is a true leader in the field.
finish in second place last year places the university in very high regard,
especially considering that delegations from such prestigious universities as
Harvard, Cornell and Oxford took part,” Shaked said. “Today, the International
Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization for conflict resolution, and
this is a golden opportunity for our students and faculty to make connections
that can lead to future cooperation with the best universities in the world.”