Every year the InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution sponsors an international law school mediation tournament. The tournament typically takes place during the spring semester in Chicago, IL. Participation in these tournaments continues to increase every year, especially the participation of international schools. Law schools from Canada, Great Britain, and Germany regularly attend. The tournament provides law students with the opportunity to learn about various forms and techniques used in mediation, as well as the opportunity to practice their mediation skills in friendly competition with other students from around the world.
Teams of three students each go through three preliminary rounds serving as mediators, as well as advocates and clients. Mediators work in pairs, with the co-mediators being from different schools. This encourages students to recognize that mediation is about working together to reach a solution, rather than competing at every turn. Mediators are judged on their ability to work together with their co-mediator in addition to their listening skills, their ability to help that advocates and clients see the strengths and weaknesses of their cases, their ability to stay positi ve and professional, and their ability to help guide the parties to a resolution of the dispute that brought them to mediation.
Advocates and clients are judged on their ability to present their case, to articulate their strengths and weaknesses, and to work with the mediators toward a solution while also meeting their needs and interests.The four top teams in each category go through to a final round. Awards are given for team performances and individual performances.
With the heavy focus of traditional legal education on litigation, competitions such as this one allow students to see a different side of law practice.