Aashka Vora and Riya Kumar won the NLIU-CAM International Negotiation Competition hosted by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Cell of the National Law Institute University, Bhopal in association with Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, in April 2023. In addition to being adjudged “winners”, Aashka Vora was also adjudged “best client” and Riya Kumar was adjudged “best counsel”.

Here, we got into conversation with the two to get a glimpse of all the hardwork that went in for grabbing these awards,

Hi Aashka and Riya!

Congratulations to you!

1. How do you feel on not only winning the 3rd NLIU-CAM International Negotiation Competition, 2023 but also bagging awards for best client and counsel?

In the moment, I felt that all the days of preparation have paid off really well. I was surely overwhelmed as they announced both of our names on the stage. Post self-reflection, we came to realise how every action of ours, since all mock-rounds that we have done so far, led us to reach this point. As a team, we always try to give ourselves time off post such competitions in order to analyse our performance, rethink, evaluate and also mention pointers that we can incorporate for the next competition on our list. Thereby, winning “best counsel” and “best client” was surely a moment we had worked hard towards.

2. Could you share your experience of participating in this competition and your key takeaways from the experience?

Firstly, we would like to pay gratitude and acknowledge the efforts of Head of the ADR Cell at NLIU, Bhopal, Tejas Hinder, and the entire Organising Committee of the competition, and the respected Judges for making the competition very comfortable, warm and fruitful. At every competition, our main consideration is to receive feedback, understand whether our strategy was apt, thereby asking follow-up questions and learning different styles of negotiating from the participating teams is a must. A few key takeaways from the competition are:

(a) To implement feedback from previous qualifying rounds;

(b) To take well-rested breaks;

(c) To prepare working notes of your competition journey;

(d) To connect with your respective Judges and prepare a personal note to send to them post competition.

3. What guided your choice of participating in ADR competitions, particularly the NLIU-CAM International Negotiation Competition?

Riya and I had stumbled across this competition on Google, following which, we both decided to participate in it. We generally do a cost-benefit analysis for each competition we zero down, which helps us in deciding whether we are on the same page regarding our availability, how much time we can dedicate to it and if we have any prior commitments. Since, this was the 3rd Edition of the NLIU-CAM International Negotiation Competition, we were aware of this competition from our seniors as they stood as semi-finalists for the 1st Edition and did bag the “best advocate” award as well. We historically did well, so we were bound to succeed.

4. Could you tell our readers about the application process for the competition, while sharing your key learnings from it?

The application process was fairly simple, and like any other negotiation competition, we were required to submit an introduction video for the duration of 2-3 minutes (which Aashka enjoyed the most). Thereafter, they would announce the selected teams for the competition. They had selected 16 teams in total for this edition (the total number of teams they select may change year-to-year). The registration fees had to be paid at last, following which you would receive a confirmation e-mail. The key takeaways would mainly pertain to the introductory video:

(A) Make it personal.

(B) Make sure you have a script in place, do read it out to your friends for feedback.

(C) Try using a mic in case your voice is not audible otherwise.

5. How did you prepare for the competition?

1. Understanding the general information(s) for all rounds.

2. Doing a detailed analysis of each GI.

3. Discussing our individual analysis (team reading).

4. Preparing an ADR specific vocabulary sheet for each GI (subject-matter specific).

5. Doing mock-rounds for each GI.

6. Taking feedback from our Judges.

7. Rehearsing the opening statements with your teammate.

8. Trusting your teammate completely, and having faith in each other’s strategy.

6. What advice would you like to give to law students planning to participate in ADR competitions?

Riya: The only advice that I would give to students from my limited experience with ADR competitions is to find a mentor or a coach. We both have been lucky enough to get a coach on board at the very nascent stage of our learning process, this really helped us in understanding how to improve ourselves, to know where we are going wrong and other such important stages that one has to go through in order to refine themselves as either a counsel or client for that matter.

Aashka: To add on to what Riya said, this is quite a full circle moment for us, because our coach, Shruti Dhonde, who has given us her time, energy and knowledge at every step of the way, is now conducting our interview. We are truly honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you. Further, a lot of college seniors have helped us at every step, and never hesitated to sit down with us, and were always one call away. So, if you are as lucky as we were in terms of helpful seniors, then definitely use that.

7. On a concluding note, how important is doing proper legal research and how should law students equip themselves with legal research skills? Could you please throw some light on “exhaustion of research” and its importance in law.

Proper legal research is of utmost importance in the field of law. It is the foundation for building persuasive arguments, making informed decisions, and ensuring accurate interpretation and application of the law. Effective legal research skills are crucial for law students to become competent legal professionals.

To equip themselves with legal research skills, law students can follow these pointers:

(a) Understand the research process: Familiarise yourself with the steps involved in legal research, such as identifying the legal issue, formulating research questions, locating relevant sources, analysing and synthesising information, and applying the findings to the legal problem at hand.

(b) Utilising credible sources: Use reputable legal resources such as statutes, regulations, case laws, legal treatises, law review articles, and secondary sources like commentaries and annotated codes.

(c) Developing effective research techniques: Learn how to use various search tools efficiently, including online legal databases for instance SCC, library catalogues, and specialised search engines. Mastering Boolean operators, keyword searching, and advanced search techniques can help streamline the research process and yield more precise results.

(d) Evaluating the reliability and relevance of sources: Assess the credibility, authority, and currency of legal sources to ensure their reliability. Differentiate between primary and secondary sources, and prioritise using primary sources for accurate legal analysis. Additionally, consider the jurisdiction and relevance of sources to the legal issue at hand.

(e) Staying updated with legal developments: Keep track of recent changes in legislation, regulations, and case law. Subscribe to legal newsletters, follow legal blogs, and participate in legal research workshops or seminars to enhance your understanding of evolving legal principles and emerging issues.

Now, to address the concept of “exhaustion of research” and its importance in law. It means leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of relevant legal information. The importance of exhaustion of research lies in its potential to enhance the accuracy and persuasiveness of legal arguments. By conducting thorough research and considering a wide range of legal authorities, you increase the likelihood of discovering persuasive precedents, relevant statutes, regulations, or legal principles that can support your position or strengthen your legal analysis. Exhaustive research demonstrates your commitment to diligence and professionalism as a legal practitioner. It helps build credibility, as it shows that you have made a conscientious effort to consider all available legal resources and have not overlooked any potentially relevant information.

Once again, Hearty congratulations!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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One comment

  • Best wishes to both of you in your future endeavors. Hope many more successful events will come up soon. Stay happy and confident.

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