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National Sports Law Negotiation Competition

Legal Sidelines

As a proud graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, I wanted to create something that gave back to the law school that gave me so much opportunity.  
History & Vision of the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition
The annual National Sports Law Negotiation Competition (NSLNC) is hosted and organized by the Center for Sports Law & Policy (CSLP) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, every September.
The NSLNC was created by sports and academic professionals with law students in mind as they enter the legal community. The NSLNC’s purpose is to give back to law students a great experience, competition, and place to meet like minds in the sports law industry. Our mission is to provide the sports profession with able and ready legal minds through negotiation competition training.
The fact patterns for the Competition are modeled toward current issues in the sports industry.  Student competitors negotiate select fictional disputes in an academic setting in front of a panel of judges. The fact patterns negotiated allow students to focus on more than one area of sports law, including: contract negotiation, trading of players, salary demands, endorsement contracts, athlete and sports professionals family and personal issues, intellectual property, and more.
It is our hope that you enjoy the yearly competition weekend, which includes a weekend of social activities, the competition, and of course meeting future lawyers, agents, current sports professionals, and judicial officers from across this great Country, and the World, in America’s finest city, San Diego, California.
Jeremy M. Evans, Esq. ‘11
Director, Center for Sports Law & Policy 


I understand that this competition has become very widespread, especially within the sports law community, what inspired you to bring this competition to Thomas Jefferson School of Law?
As a proud graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, I wanted to create something that gave back to the law school that gave me so much opportunity.

Do you think there would be any chance to open up another preliminary round to allow for more competitors to flex their negotiation skills?
It is unlikely because law school classes occur during the week.  However, we are always welcome to new ideas and thinking about ways to improve the competition for the competitors and judges.  We now have four final round teams, and of course every team is guaranteed at least two negotiation sessions against a different team and a different set of judges, which we think works well and is in line with many other national competitions.  Most competitions have one judge per round, we have three, increasing fairness, but also increasing the difficulty to have more rounds (i.e., a semi-final round).

What are the difficulties in writing facts patterns for these competitions?  Do they differ from the traditional negotiation competitions? What other factors are implemented?
The fact patterns are actually a lot of fun to prepare.  We have a great team of Sports Law Fellows with the Center for Sports Law & Policy at Thomas Jefferson and alums who help.  Our fact patterns are different because they are based on real world situations.  Most academic exercises have fake towns and people possibly based on real circumstances.  We started the competition with the idea and purpose in mind of making the negotiation as real as possible to better prepare law students for the practice and real-life negotiations.  

The competitors that advanced to the finals were very strong.  How do you think they measured up to previous finalists?
It is truly is a great compliment to the competitors preparations, their coaches, faculty advisors, the judges who take the time to make good judgments, and of course the fact pattern drafting committee who prepares good fact patterns that can be negotiated properly.  Everything works together as our hope is to have consistency every year.  I personally have been impressed every year with the finalist teams and have truly never been disappointed with any competition team.  We have a competitive field of teams.  
Do you have any tips for future competitors?

Everything in life is about preparation.  The teams that go on to win I have seen are the ones that are well-prepared, have fun, and are relaxed while doing it.  Negotiation is about skill as much as it is about personality and how you make others feel.  Not everything is about facts and circumstances. 

We are looking forward to NSLNC 2016 on September 23-25, 2016, at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.  Please visit the website for more information: www.tjsl.edu/conferences/nslnc, or the Center website: www.tjsl.edu/cslp.