March 2 2011
Jennifer Richardson, MPS '11, Coaches Cornell Team at International Mediation Competition
Jennifer Richardson, MPS ‘11 recently made a trip to Paris as the coach for Cornell’s team at the 6th Annual International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Mediation Competition. The team was comprised of students from Cornell Law School’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Society. The members of the team are Abhishek Gupta '10, MS '11 and Jennifer Richardson MPS '11, and law school students Erin Agee '12 and Angela Hoffman '12. Once the team was formed, Jennifer was appointed as the coach, since she is a practicing attorney and prohibited from participating in the competition. Prior to coming to Cornell, Jennifer has years of previous experience in labor law, employment law and public policy, primarily in the public sector.
This is the first year that ILR students participated in the mediations. Funded through Scheinman Institute and law school, the ADR club along with their coach began to practice at the Scheinman Institute and gather general information about the competition. Since this is Cornell’s second time participating, and previous members from have already graduated, the team had to start from the ground up when preparing for this competition.
When they got to Paris, Jennifer and the team were amazed by the diversity of teams from around the world. There were teams from Asia, South America, Africa, Europe, Canada and the U.S. The mediators and judges were also from all around the world. Cornell’s team competed against four teams; a South American team, a Canadian team, an English team, and a French team. The primary language was English, and Jennifer noted how well other teams performed, even when they were mediating and negotiating in their second language.
Although the International Mediation Competition is a commercial law competition and ILR is focused on labor law, Jennifer discovered that the foundation and practical elements of ILR courses are applicable across different areas of law and this gave the team a new perspective. At ILR, negotiation and dispute resolution courses are mostly based on theory and this competition was a great way for students to implement what they’ve studied at ILR. The team also learned how to adjust to other individuals and cultures very quickly in negotiation. The team felt that the ability to interact with teams from different backgrounds and cultures was great preparation for entry into preparation them to the global workforce. Jennifer stated that coming from Cornell and ILR, where there is so much diversity, definitely gave the team an advantage in the competition.