All-Ireland Young Mediators Competition
Four final year students from the School of Law, Molly Fitzgibbon, Bridget Howard, Niamh Kennedy and Niamh Shanahan, participated in the All Ireland Young Mediator’s Competition on Saturday 7th October 2017 at the Dublin Dispute Resolution Centre (DDRC). The competition was hosted by Mediation Awareness Week, in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland and the Irish Commercial Mediation Association. Bridget Howard, 4th Year Law Plus, was awarded third place in the competition. She writes about the experience here:
“The All-Ireland Young Mediator’s Competition takes place as part of Mediation Awareness Week (October 7-14) and is held in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland. The competition is an opportunity for young mediators across Ireland to practice their mediation skills in a realistic setting. Actors are hired to portray the disputing parties and are encouraged to challenge the mediator’s ability as much as possible. Contestants are given two case briefs of each dispute a week prior to the contest. On the day, contestants are split into random pairs to co-mediate each scenario. Although working together each contestant is judged individually.
Taking part in the All-Ireland Young Mediator’s Competition is an exceptional experience, which I cannot recommend enough to future students. The actors who partake in the competition wholly immerse themselves in their characters bringing the disputes to life. In my own session, an actor got up and walked out as he was ‘too overcome with emotion’! I am grateful my first time working with difficult parties was in a realistic but artificial setting, I feel more prepared for difficult clients in future. The competition is open to not only law students but trainees and newly qualified mediators, making it a great opportunity to meet other young people working in legal professions.”
Dr Lydia Bracken, Director of Clinical Legal Education at the School of Law, congratulated all of the students on behalf of the School of Law and commended them on the hard work that they had put into preparing for the competition. Dr Bracken noted that “There was a huge level of interest in participating in the All Ireland Young Mediator’s Competition among our final year law students, so much so that an informal internal competition was held to select the participants. The level of interest in the competition reflects the increasing use of mediation within the Irish Legal System. The Mediation Act 2017 was signed into law in the same week as the competition and so it is fantastic to see that our next generation of lawyers are already well versed in the process and benefits of this expanding form of alternative dispute resolution. Congratulations to Bridget on her success and to the other participants from UL, Niamh, Molly and Niamh, who all represented the University so capably.”