Our Experience in the President’s Cup Competition

Our Experience in the President’s Cup Competition


Written By: Jack Stuart & Elinor Watts
Edition: February 2020

The competition

The first round took the form of written submissions based on a set of common facts regarding a television license deal. This required us to consider our fictional clients’ objectives for the deal, bargaining strengths and weaknesses, best and worst potential outcomes, as well as considering the issues to be discussed by way of an agenda. 

The second round allowed us to build upon this case preparation and conduct a face-to-face negotiation which aimed at achieving a mutually beneficial license deal. We performed a 45-minute negotiation, firstly agreeing a common agenda, then proceeding to discuss key issues for the contractual, such as fee arrangements, exclusivity rights, duration of the deal and consequences of breaching the agreement.

Elinor’s experience…

Participation in the competition was a useful way of practising my advocacy skills, using techniques of persuasion in order to find a solution which best suited the commercial needs of my client. Jack and I had no prior knowledge of each other’s client instructions and so were required to think creatively ‘on-the-spot’ when making and responding to offers and concessions.  Exploring different negotiation styles in order to see which style I am best suited to was particularly beneficial.

 

Jack’s experience…

Being selected for the final was both extremely affirming and nerve-wracking: whilst thrilled to have made it so far in a competition open to practitioners as well as students, I knew that because the competition was so fierce the final negotiation was bound to be exacting. There was also an element of the unknown, in that I did not really know what to expect in being pitted against a single competitor in a one-to-one negotiation. This was of course compounded by the striking coincidence of my fellow finalist being not only on the same course as myself, but in my very own tutor group!

 

When it came to the actual negotiation, I was shocked (and pleasantly so) by now natural the process felt and how quickly we both sank into our roles. It was clear that both Elinor and I were keen to reach agreement which helped us both to come up with lots of creative solutions to suit both our respective positions. Whilst it was clear we were both fighting hard for our own sides’ interests, the collaboration we both shown in reaching agreements made the whole negotiation flow much more smoothly.

The fact that we both had very different approaches to the negotiation (as was noted by the judges in our feedback) was also informative, since it showed us both the wealth of tactical approaches that can be adopted, even in a single negotiation.

Conclusion…

As an aspiring practitioner, this experience has given be a new, practical insight into the value of a successful negotiation, something which I hope will inform my approach to negotiation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, in practice.

For any aspiring barristers or solicitors who are considering the competition, we would urge you to give it a go. The competition is fierce but also an exciting experience and would definitely help you in your pursuit of practice!