Cardiff congratulates Team USA on international negotiation win

11 July 2018

Leah Parrish and Doug Leach (middle and right) pictured with Professor Larry Teply, Chair of the INC Executive Committee.
Leah Parrish and Doug Leach (middle and right) pictured with Professor Larry Teply, Chair of the INC Executive Committee.

A team of students from the USA were crowned champion negotiators this July at an international competition held at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics.

Doug Leach and Leah Parrish, who had travelled from McGeorge University in California, beat 27 other student teams who hailed from countries as far flung as Brazil, Indonesia, New Zealand and Slovakia.

Held in a different location each year, the International Negotiation Competition Final is a three-day competitive event. The event sees law students compete in pairs to negotiate hypothetical deals and scenarios as well as attend specially-designed masterclasses with speakers from a variety of fields and backgrounds. The event also includes tourist excursions and activities which are provided by the host city. The competition was held at the University of Oslo in 2017.

This year’s event began on 26 June with a day of seminars delivered by international negotiation experts. Topics ranged from active listening, careful speaking and different styles of negotiating, to the importance of being comfortable with numbers and figures in an international negotiation. The seminars were followed by masterclasses on a range of global negotiation-focused subjects including stories from an expert in anti-apartheid dealings, how Wales is represented in Brexit negotiations, and a former Scotland Yard negotiator conducting a live hostage exercise with students.

The competition began on day two with scenarios based on issues pertinent to Wales including a deal relating to the Eisteddfod, which involved teams tackling Welsh pronunciation! The teams also negotiated a fictitious multi-million pound deal involving two Welsh superstars, Catherine Zeta Jones and Tom Jones. The negotiation was a mock scenario of course but the issues were very real.

To afford a welcome break from  competition pressures, excursions were organised to local attractions, Caerphilly Castle and Big Pit, and events were put on which included a male voice choir and traditional Welsh food.

Host of this year’s event, Professor Julie Price, said, “It was fantastic to welcome so many budding international negotiators to this year’s final held in Cardiff. We hope that all the teams enjoyed themselves and found the competition, seminars and masterclasses an informative and worthwhile experience.”

Organiser, PhD student and Solicitor-Advocate Matthew Parry, said, “'The event was a mix of education, competition and camaraderie, combined to deliver a stimulating week that was enjoyed by all. As well as congratulating the winners Doug and Leah, I would also like to congratulate our own students Sophie Rudd and Charles Wilson who came 8th overall at the event. They have worked incredibly hard throughout the year, competing in round after round of national negotiating competitions, so it was wonderful to see them work alongside their international peers in the final in such an effective and professional way. Well done to all that took part!”

The School of Law and Politics is grateful to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) for its sponsorship of the event, as well as to international law firm Latham & Watkins for additional sponsorship. The Law Society of England and Wales, and the  WRU group also lent their support.

Next year’s International Negotiation Competition final will take place at the University of Tokyo.