The winners of Harvard Law School’s 56th annual Williston competition were announced on Tuesday, April 28. The competition, sponsored by the Board of Student Advisers and organized and run by Harvard Negotiators, offers first-year students the opportunity to practice negotiation and contract drafting. Teams of two students participate in the competition which focuses primarily on negotiation and contract drafting.
This year’s scenario featured the merger of two mining companies, River Red and Mountain Blue. The fact pattern was inspired by a recent takeover battle between the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton and its London based competitor Rio Tinto. Participant teams were assigned to represent one of the two companies. They negotiated the price of the deal, the structure of the new company, and the treatment of the employees and the corporate culture of the new company, among other issues. After coming to a negotiated agreement, students documented it in a twelve-page contract and drafted a memorandum to their client explaining the substance of the contract.
The competition scores were based both on the substance of the negotiated agreement and the excellence of the contract drafting. The scoring scheme considered not only how much value a team negotiated on behalf of their client, but also how well the teams worked together to devise value-creating solutions that could benefit both clients.
Awards were given for the best overall contract, and for the best representation of each company:
Best Overall Contract:
- Representing River Red: Brian Kozlowski ‘11 and Neil Chatani ‘11
- Representing Mountain Blue: Jay Schweikert ’11 and David Carpman ‘11
Best representation of River Red: Amir Ali ’11 and Taylor Ashley ‘11
Best representation of Mountain Blue: Ian Brooks ‘11, Danielle Mirabal ‘11 and Sarah Jelsema ‘11
Matej Sapak ‘09 created the problem as part of an independent writing project during the winter term. He also chaired the competition. Assistant Clinical Professor Robert Bordone ‘97, Director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, served as Matej’s faculty supervisor both for the creation negotiation problem and for the competition overall. Kyle Glover ‘10, Johanna Schwartz ’10 and Harry Drozdowski ‘09 served as judges for the competition.
In the picture: Top row, left to right: Brian Kozlowski, Amir Ali, Sarah Jelsema, Jay Schweikert, David Carpman
Bottom row, left to right: Neil Chatani, Ian Brooks, Danielle Mirabal, Taylor Ashley