The ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition is the only moot I know of devoted to international commercial mediation and it will take place in Paris in early February.

It’s an annual event organized by the International Chamber of Commerce and has become the best excuse to travel to Paris, drink coffee and eat pastries on the street.

Around 60 university teams each made up of 4 students and a coach, as well as over 120 mediators from around the globe will attend. The competition will feature around 200 mediation sessions all with a mediator and two judges in addition to the parties, combined with a number of training programmes and social events.

Last year, I was amazed at the skill of these kids – still in law school and understandably still very focused on black letter law, some of them nevertheless really got mediation.

Just like the wild, wild west, where eventually gun slingers became an endangered species, so too with one track lawyers.

Instead, we now need rounded skills and the youngsters I spoke to are well on their way.

If you are a young lawyer under the tyranny of a gun slinger, do yourself a favour and read The New Lawyer: How Settlement is Transforming the Practice of Law (if necessary, underneath the desk during your lunch break-you get one of those, right?).

An adversarial “client warrior” image dominates historical notions of the lawyer, and a commitment to “zealous advocacy” remains one of the core norms of the legal model. Yet structural changes within both the justice system and the legal profession have rendered the “warrior” notion outdated and inadequate, with a shift toward conflict resolution rather than protracted litigation.

The new lawyer’s skills go beyond court battles to encompass negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice, and restorative justice. In The New Lawyer, Julie Macfarlane explores the evolving role of practitioners, articulating legal and ethical complexities in a variety of contexts drawn from Canadian and American legal literature as well as from her own empirical research. The result is a thought-provoking exploration of the increasing impact of alternative, consensus-seeking strategies on the lawyer-client relationship, as well as on the legal system itself.

Read an extensive book review here

You can find out all about the ICC competition here and it even has a Facebook page – the real gem for mediators is buried deep within the rules documentation. Go to Annex III to the Competition Rules for a concise interest based mediator job specification, including a mediator’s crib sheet.

(Disclosure; I was part of the rules working party and I understand Kluwer is one of a number of sponsers of the competition)


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