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Arbitration team advances to semi-finals at national competition

January 29, 2015
Members of Drake's Arbitration Team enjoy Chicago

A Drake Law arbitration team advanced to the semi-final round of the national tournament after winning the regional this past weekend in Chicago. Team members include Ana Dixit, Meret Thali, Ronald Forsell, and La’Cee Groetken.

The American Bar Association Student Division Arbitration Competition promotes greater knowledge in arbitration by simulating a realistic arbitration hearing. Participants prepare and present an arbitration case, including opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations, and summations. Experience what it is to be a professional, competent, and ethical advocate.

“It was an amazing opportunity to take part in this competition and truly one of the best experiences I’ve had at law school so far to be a part of this program,” says Dixit. “I think it is an extremely important part of law school to expose yourself to other alternate types of dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. Arbitration in particular is wonderful because you experience the best of both litigation and alternate dispute resolution.”

During the regional round, the winning team placed first out of 20 teams, with nearly a 40 point advantage over their competitors. During the semi-final round, they missed qualifying for the finals by only one point.

“I'm incredibly proud of how much our arbitration team grew over the year, and we certainly wouldn't have been in a position to be one point away from the national championship without the great work from our coaches and fellow teammates we scrimmaged against each week,” says Forsell. “Participating on the Arbitration team at Drake has really been the highlight of my law school career and I look forward to the team finishing what we started and winning the national championship next year.”

For the competition, teams consist of four JD candidates attending the same ABA-approved law school. Two students play the lawyers and two students play the witnesses for their side in each round. The lawyers and witnesses may change their roles from round to round but must keep their same roles in a round.

“As a non-litigator, arbitration taught me important courtroom skills while enjoying long night practices with friends,” says Groetken.

A second team of Chris Merkle, Kylynn Mowell, Tyler Hereen, and Mark Ross, also competed in the regional competition. Teams are coached by Audra Dieber, LW’12, attorney at James R. Monroe Law Office, and Sarah Grotha, LW’12, attorney at Gislason & Hunter LLP.

“The teams have been working tirelessly since August, meeting twice a week to prepare for the competition,” says Grotha. “Their hard work paid off, and both teams were superb.”