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National Family Law Negotiation Competition finds permanent home at UM Law, Osgoode Hall

Annual virtual competition a collaborative effort

November 24, 2023 — 

The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law and The Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University are pleased to announce they will serve as permanent co-hosts of the National Family Law Negotiation Competition (NFLNC) beginning the 2023-24 academic year.

Dr. Jennifer L. Schulz, Associate Dean of the JD Program at Robson Hall, is thrilled to see the competition’s return to Manitoba, where the inaugural event was held in 2020. Having hosted the event in 2023, Winkler Institute Co-Academic Directors Professors Patricia McMahon and Shelley Kierstead are equally delighted to have the Institute provide a home for the NFLNC. Both institutions believe in the importance of negotiation and other non-adversarial approaches as the key to future legal practice, especially in the area of family law. Developing the skills that promote access to more effective forms of dispute resolution is consistent with the mandates of both schools, including improving access to justice. 

Dr. Schulz praises the work of Robson Hall’s Dr. Lorna Turnbull and the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, an organization that she has long supported in her capacity as one of its fellows. “Negotiation and other non-adversarial forms of dispute resolution are the future of legal practice in Canada. No where is this more important than in family law. Students should be lining up to participate in this national negotiation competition, and Robson Hall students in particular should be proud of their law school’s foundational involvement in the competition.”

Dr. Lorna Turnbull sees family law as an important area of practice. “Manitoba is a leader in modernizing the family justice system to better meet the needs of children and to improve access to justice,” Turnbull says. “Providing students the opportunity to participate in family negotiation allows them to develop those important skills while working with coaches from the profession and also building important professional relationships.”

The NFLNC provides students from across Canada the opportunity to experience first-hand how effective negotiation skills can help families going through difficult life transitions. Participating in the NFLNC gives students the chance to further develop their skills through the preparation and presentation of mock negotiations and receipt of feedback from highly skilled professionals. 

This year’s competition will be held virtually from February 29 to March 2, 2024. Team registration is due by December 1 – please find details here: National Family Law Negotiation Competition Tickets, Thu, 29 Feb 2024 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite.

(If any team encounters a problem with the December 1 registration deadline, please reach out to Shelley Kierstead at skierstead [at] osgoode [dot] yorku [dot] ca).

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