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Students Competed in the Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition

Jamie Houston and Staci Miller

Third year UK Law students Jamie Houston and Staci Miller took advantage of their Spring Break to develop and enhance skills that will better prepare them for their future legal careers.  Houston and Miller traveled to Portland, OR over Spring Break to compete in the Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition (NMINC) in conjunction with the 47th National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Convention.

“Competing in the International Negotiations Competition was an awesome experience and Portland was absolutely beautiful,” Ms. Miller said.

Houston’s and Miller’s coach, Professor Marianna Jackson Clay, was impressed by the students’ performance at the competition.  “Stacie and Jamie honed their negotiation skills to represent UK Law in this national competition. Facing teams with far more experience, they were outstanding, confident and effective. I truly enjoyed working with them,” Professor Clay said.

The MNINC is the only non-litigation based competition offered by the NBLSA organization. The competition provides members with a unique opportunity to develop useful negotiation skills while creating awareness of important global issues. Teams negotiate cross-border conflicts based on current issues affecting the global community. Teams benefit from exposure to varying negotiating styles, various ethical and social norms, and a broad spectrum of business issues, all coupled with the enhanced difficulties of cross-cultural communication. 

Ms. Miller saw the value of the competition exposing her to a diverse group of competitors, “I think it's great that NBLSA offers this competition on the national level because the amount of exposure to other teams in other regions and different negotiating styles was very enlightening."

The competition not only provided a way to enhance Houston’s and Miller’s negotiation skills, but also allowed them to network with future colleagues on a national level.  “Having the opportunity to compete against students from other law schools in a friendly, cordial atmosphere is unique and beneficial in the sense that you gain practical experience while simultaneously developing an invaluable network across the nation,” Mr. Houston explained of the experience.

UK Law works hard to provide opportunities for its students to participate in competitions, allowing them to take their training from the classroom, along with research and writing, and apply those skills in simulated experiences.  For students like Jamie Houston and Staci Miller, the experience gained from this competition is beneficial to help them become more practice-ready upon graduation.