This weekend, the MU School of Law sent two teams to the ABA national arbitration tournament in Chicago, Illinois. The team of Andrew Blackwell, Jake Kohut, Ida Shafaie, Audrey Danner and Dane Rennier truly excelled. After the preliminary rounds, the team was seeded second and faced the home team from the John Marshall School of Law. From the opening statement, team captain Andrew Blackwell set the tone for the round by offering an adroit objection to “facts not pled,” which rendered the opposing team staggering disoriented. Noteworthy witness portrayals by Audrey Danner and Ida Shafaie swayed the judges’ minds and caused considerable eyebrow raising and furious notetaking. Counselor Jake Kohut removed any doubt with a flawless closing that sealed the victory for the MU squad.
The championship round featured the determined Tiger team versus the vaunted Red Raiders of Texas Tech University – Tech had won three of the last five arbitration national championships and were brimming with confidence. With their best performance of the year, the Missouri team flawlessly advocated on behalf of their client to a panel of venerable former judges, arbitrators and practitioners. Shafaie led off the round with a sterling opening statement which provided clarity to the presentation, and Jake Kohut and Audrey Danner nimbly navigated two treacherous cross examinations by the Tech team. At the conclusion of the round, Andrew Blackwell presented a masterful closing argument which, may have brought a tear to at least one observer’s eye. After the judges conferred, the results came back with a split decision – each team had earned two of the judges’ ballots. The ABA rules required one judge to be randomly excluded from the decision – and much to the MU team’s chagrin, that judge was one who had been persuaded by Missouri. Consequently, the MU squad finished the season as national runners up by the narrowest of margins.
It was truly a remarkable year for Missouri Arbitration and both the MU Gold and Black teams once again affirmed MU’s tradition of excellence in alternative dispute resolution.
Please congratulate our team on a fine performance and representing our school well.