Melbourne University Law Students' Society

Facebook Event ›

2017 Clayton Utz Negotiation Competition


Negotiation is the most popular Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism in legal practice today. Negotiation is not only used a way to resolve disputes – negotiation occurs everywhere in the commercial context, especially when negotiating terms of a contract. Basic skills of negotiation are important and necessary for commercial and legal practice.

The 2017 Clayton Utz Negotiation Competition mimics a mediation session between two teams of lawyers, each representing a hypothetical party in an attempt to negotiate through and resolve a dispute. Teams consist of two members each, who shall remain together for the duration of the competition.  After preparing, the teams will come together to discuss the various issues and attempt to come to an agreement that best meets their client’s instructions. The problems could include various scenarios such as negotiating a damages settlement for health problems caused by toxic waste from a nearby factory (like in ‘Erin Brockovich’), or negotiating for a train driver’s seat to have a cup-holder or armrest (like in the Metro trains and train drivers’ union negotiation). 

In 2017, all teams will have the opportunity to compete in both Rounds 1 and 2, to ensure all competitors have double the opportunity to put their negotiation skills to the test against other law students. From Round 2, the competition will take the form of a knockout style competition.

Registration Details

Registration is closed for 2017 and will reopen in 2018. 

Time commitment: The brief will be released at 1:00PM the day before teams are scheduled to compete. Teams are expected to read over the briefing and devise a strategy.  It is important that teams have a detailed knowledge of the problem, so that they do not need to refer to basic information during the negotiation.  The more practice and preparation teams undertake, the better. The brief received by the competitors will contain a given set of common facts, which set out the background of the scenario.

Team size: 2 members

Attire: Please wear business attire to your negotiation session

Additional Information:

  • The brief received by the Competitors will contain a given set of common facts, which set out the background of the scenario.
  • In addition, teams will also be given confidential information, known only to their side.
  • Teams will compete in a 40-minute negotiation session the following day. During this time, they will discuss the various issues and attempt to come to an agreement that best meets their client’s instructions and interests outlined in the confidential information.
  • Following the 40 minute negotiation, each team will have an opportunity to reflect upon their performance with the judge/s. This gives competitors an opportunity to explain their tactics as well as gain invaluable feedback.

Key Dates

Information and Skills Session: Thursday 2 March

  • Room G08 1.00PM-2.00PM
  • You can download the sample demonstration problem here.
  • You can download the slides here.

Round 1:

Semester 1, Week 4: Monday 20 and Thursday 23 March

Round 2: 

Semester 1, Week 6: Monday 3 and Thursday 6 April

Round 3:

Semester 1, Week 8: Monday 24 and Wednesday 26 April

Round 4: 

Semester 1, Week 10: Monday 8 and Thursday 11 May

Quarter Final: 

Semester 2, Week 2: Monday 31 July

Semi Final:

Semester 2, Week 5: Monday 21 August

Grand Final: 

Semester 2, Week 9: Monday 18 September at Clayton Utz Melbourne Office


Sample Problem

Download a sample Negotiation scenario from the 2012 competition here


Download the 2017 MULSS Clayton Utz Negotiation Competition Guidebook here.

Scoring Sheet

Download a copy of the score sheet here.

Previous Winners

2016: Thomas Diaz and Matthew Caldow

2015: Hector Sharp and Emma Reed

2014: Karina Bradley and James Gray

2013: Cyril Cotterall-Debay and Daniel Wright

2012: Antony Freeman and Nicholas James Baum

2011: Andrea De Souza and Daniel Holmes

2010: Jiaying Zhang and Julia Wang

2009: Nicholas Liau and Samantha Jreissati