Each year the American Bar Association (ABA) hosts an annual negotiation competition amongst all law schools in the nation. This year, the team coached by Joel D. Hesch was named national runner up by placing second out of 199 law school teams competing in the coveted ABA National Negotiation competition.
The competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal issues. The competition tests the skill and precision in negotiating simulated cases. Armed with 20 years of negotiating whistleblower reward cases resulting in over $1.5 billion in recoveries, Joel Hesch puts his own skill to the test by training, mentoring and coaching law school students in the art and skill of negotiation. The ABA Negotiation competition was an opportunity for his team to compete against 199 law school teams from across the country. His team was awarded runner up honors after narrowly losing to the team that won the national championship.
Joel Hesch praised his team for their excellent negotiating skills. According to Hesch, “Each of these students will make outstanding attorneys when they graduate. I could not have been more proud of them.”
Joel Hesch trains and coaches law students as a way of giving back to the community and helping to improve the level of skill in future attorneys. According to Hesch, “Negotiations is the one of the most important skills an attorney can have, whether you are representing whistleblowers reporting fraud against the government or representing a party in a contract.” When Hesch was working for the U.S Department of Justice, he was able to settle 97% of his cases and recover over $1 billion dollars from companies accused of defrauding Medicare, the military or other federal and state government agencies. Hesch now represents whistleblowers file for rewards for reporting fraud against the government.
Here’s how the competition works. Three weeks before the competition, each school is assigned one side of a problem and a client to represent. The simulated problem consists of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. During the competition, students are judged by how well they performed in a variety of areas including teamwork, obtaining the client’s objectives, ability to maintain appropriate control over the negotiations, and reaching a positive result in the time allotted. The negotiation itself lasts 50 minutes, followed by 10-minute self-analysis of the students’ performance. The teams are judged by practicing attorneys with extensive negotiation experience and who are familiar with the area of law related to the problem.
Joel Hesch plans to keep coaching negotiations. Since he began coaching nine years ago, he has had 8 teams place in the top 20 in the nation at the ABA event, and this is the third time he has place in the top 10 in the country at this event. Hesch has also coached negotiations teams that have won other national competitions, including the National Basketball Negotiation Competition, the National Entertainment Law Competition, and the National Environmental Law Competition.