Negotiation competition to expand nationwide

In-house negotiation competition Young Legal Minds will be rolled out nationwide to all Legal Practice Course (LPC) providers, following its pilot in London yesterday evening.

Young Legal Minds, which pitted teams from City University, the University of Law and BPP University against each other yesterday evening, is a negotiation competition in which student teams represent the different parties involved in an in-house deal in front of the general counsel of multinational companies, including the UK arm of Coca-Cola.

The organisers of the competition, in-house resourcing company Fresh Minds Legal, set out their plans to expand the competition today.

Head of Fresh Minds Legal Roshana Gammampila said: “There are definitely plans to expand. In the longer term we would definitely want to do that. As a pilot we limited ourself to London.

“I think that we would ultimately be looking to make this nationwide and open it to all LPC providers. Whether we are able to go directly from London to nationwide or whether we will expand more gradually is still not certain.”

Teams at last night’s debate represented parties in the potential takeover of a technological SME by a famous investor, taking into account financial statements and incentives as well as the personal motivations of their clients.

Fresh Minds Legal established the competition in response to the lack of in-house commercial awareness at a junior level.

Gammampila said: “Skills such as client interviewing and mooting are very much catered for but negotiating is not so common. I think that is because it is not so legalistic. There are legal issues at the heart of it but really they skill sets are more about understanding business issues and being persuasive.

“Lawyers do not seem to be able to develop these skills until they are qualified. It is only at about three years post qualification that you will ever do those negotiations yourself. Until then you will be observing and perhaps making contributions to a negotiation.”

She added: “We felt quite strongly that people needed to be exercising these skills much more early on so that it would stand them in better stead for when they do need to do it for real.”