Mediation Team Racks Up Another Strong Finish
Principia’s mediation team competed last weekend at the 2013 International Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament at Drake University Law School, finishing eighth among 44 teams from the United States, Canada, and India. This is Principia’s fourth appearance at the tournament and its third top-eight finish. This year’s accomplishment was all the more remarkable since four novices joined the six-person team this fall, three of them freshmen.
“The team was dedicated to a more structured study of legal cases this year and practiced a minimum of three hours per week,” says head coach Dr. Jeffrey Steele. Topics this year included child custody, immigration issues, homeowner agreements, and workplace disputes. But only so much can be done in advance, since teams do not get the full details of the cases they will mediate until just before each tournament round begins.
“Participating in these competitions has definitely increased my ability to think outside the box in order to find creative solutions,” says junior Lauren Littell. “I’ve learned that the only limitation is the one you put on yourself. Mediation has taught me to be patient and see solutions come to the surface in the most unexpected ways.”
“We prepared heavily for the competition, but when it came down to it, we had, as Dr. Steele describes, our ‘secret weapon’ of Christian Science—our reliance on the truth that there is one Mind and we were there to express it,” says team newcomer junior Molly Glascock. “Most of the other teams have prelaw students, while our team represents a variety of majors. My favorite part was getting the opportunity to co-mediate a case with a student from India. Each of us brought a different approach to the case, and it made the collaboration process very exciting.”
This tournament was the team’s second visit to Drake Law School in October. Earlier in the month team members participated in the International Academy of Dispute Resolution’s 5th Annual World Congress, where they attended mediation and advocacy workshops and gave a presentation entitled “Worldwide Outreach through Mediation” alongside students from Sri Lanka and India.
“Our team was able to gather incredibly helpful tips and techniques for enhancing our mediation skills by attending workshops and lectures from some of the top mediators in the country, as well as distinguished barristers and mediators from the United Kingdom,” says junior Brian Simpson.
The recent conference and tournament complete the mediation team’s activities for 2013. (The umbrella organization runs events on a calendar, rather than academic, year.) The team will continue regular practice in preparation for the Great Lakes Regional Mediation Tournament at Michigan State University in February.
(Team members and their coach are pictured above, left to right: Olivia Pierce-Bluhm, Cassidy Alford, Brian Simpson, Dr. Jeffrey Steele, Lauren Littell, Molly Glascock and Nohemy Johnson.)