Williston Competition winners celebrate negotiated victory



The Winners of Harvard Law School’s 57th annual Williston Competition, Harvard’s annual contract negotiation and drafting competition for first-year law students, were announced on Monday, April 5.

The Williston Competition presents participants with a complex business problem and charges them with representing a client in negotiations, trying to arrive at an agreement that they then reduce to writing.

This year’s problem involved a negotiation between a community group, Save Our Square, and an international fast-food chain, McMillin’s, which were trying to come to an agreement over the terms of the chain’s establishment of a franchise in the local community.

The competition presented participants with the opportunity to try out their contract negotiation and drafting skills.

“We were drafting right up to the deadline on the last day of the competition,” said Russell Herman, who represented McMillin’s. “It was difficult drafting the contract so that all four of us were satisfied with the language.”

It was not all work and no play for the competitors, though. “The most fun part of the negotiation was brainstorming with the other side,” Herman added. “Both sides brought really creative ideas about how to address each of the issues, and since we had a good working relationship, both sides felt comfortable sharing them.”

His counterpart representing Save Our Square, Kristi Jobson, agreed.

“The four of us worked so well together,” Jobson said, “and were similarly invested in finding an outcome that worked for both sides.”

The Williston Competition is run jointly by the Board of Student Advisers and Harvard Negotiators, under the supervision of Professor Robert Bordone, Director of Harvard’s Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program.

This year’s competition was judged by Sarah Jelsema ‘11, Andrew Madsen ‘11, and Jonathan Lackow ‘07, an associate at Ropes & Gray.

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