Society for Dispute Resolution Competition News

QUSL SDR Competition Team Members Taylor Matook, JD ‘19 (left) & Catherine Fiore, JD ‘19 (right)

QUSL SDR Competition Team Members Taylor Matook, JD ‘19 (left) & Catherine Fiore, JD ‘19 (right)

QUSL congratulates 3Ls Catherine Fiore and Taylor Matook for competing in the ABA National Client Counseling Competition at Baylor Law in Waco, Texas!

After their excellent performance at the Regional Competition, Catherine and Taylor were invited to compete in the ABA National Client Counseling Competition. The competition started with 106 teams in 11 different regions. 12 teams went to the nationals for Client Counseling, including QUSL’s own power team, Taylor and Catherine. At the competition, they were joined by their coach, Chelsea Vetre, Class of 2015.

At the National Competition in Waco, 6 of the 12 teams moved on. Although Catherine and Taylor did not advance to the top 6, their judges raved about their excellent performance.

Coach Chelsea Vetre, JD ‘15 (left), Taylor Matook, JD ‘19 (middle), & Catherine Fiore, JD ‘19 (right).

Coach Chelsea Vetre, JD ‘15 (left), Taylor Matook, JD ‘19 (middle), & Catherine Fiore, JD ‘19 (right).

The skills Quinnipiac students gain while preparing and competing in these competitions gives students opportunities to hone their core lawyer skills that will be used as lawyers in service of their future clients’ goals.

For this competition in particular, students serve in teams of two, Interviewing a mock client about whom they have little information. They have to establish rapport, gather facts, counsel, and handle the business and ethical aspects of an initial client interview.  Professor Carrie Kaas, co-director of the Center, serves on the ABA Student Competitions Committee, and is instrumental in running this competition every year. 

On behalf of the QUSL community, we are extremely proud of Catherine, Taylor, Chelsea, and Professor Kaas for all their hard work and excellence!

Society for Dispute Resolution- 2018 News Recap

In 2018, the Society for Dispute Resolution (SDR) expanded the number of competitions in which SDR members participated. In October, we sent teams to New York Law School’s annual Intellectual Property Law competition. At this competition, 2Ls Megan Spicer and Matthew Parenti competed as a team, along with 3L Taylor Giancarlo, and 2L Caroline Womack. Both teams received positive feedback from their judges, and Giancarlo and Womack won Highest Score in an Individual Round, and Womack won Best Advocate for the whole competition.

In November, Quinnipiac Law hosted the annual ABA Negotiation Competition, which focused on employment law. Three teams competed at this competition, with teams comprised of 3Ls Alissa Bang and our former Center on Dispute Resolution Fellow Leah Mantei; 2Ls and our current Center on Dispute Resolution Fellows, Jessica McDade and Rebecca DeBiase; and 1Ls Jill Durso and Patrick Hoerle. Durso and Hoerle placed third in the overall competition, and Quinnipiac Law received great feedback for being an excellent host!

In January, SDR sent a team for the first time to Tulane’s annual Sports Law Negotiation competition. 3L Kaitlyn Hennessey and 2L Ricardo Reyes did a fantastic job representing Quinnipiac, while gaining valuable experience in negotiating in a new field.

This spring, SDR is sending teams to two more competitions: the annual ABA Client Counseling Competition and the annual ABA Representation in Mediation. Stay tuned for an update in how our competitors do in these competitions. For now, send good vibes our way.

Alumni Spotlight- Kristen Sweet


Kristen Sweet graduated from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2013 with a concentration in civil advocacy and dispute resolution with honors. However, Ms. Sweet wasn’t always sure she wanted to go to law school. She graduated from college in 1992, and immediately went to work in the entertainment industry as a stage manager for live productions for 15 years. Her work brought her to Seattle, New York City and Connecticut. After her daughter was born, Ms. Sweet shifted focus in the entertainment industry and began working in payroll, sales and marketing in Los Angeles. In 2008, Kristen realized a lot of the work she was doing involved contract negotiations and began to wonder if she could cut out the middlemen and do these negotiations herself. So Ms. Sweet started to explore going to law school. She knew she never wanted to be an attorney who did day-to-day work in the court system; she thought agreements could be much better reached if the parties involved had an actual say in the matter. When she began looking at law schools, Ms. Sweet only looked, therefore, at schools with strong alternative dispute resolution programs. When she looked at Quinnipiac, she was extremely impressed with the school’s Center on Dispute Resolution. She talked to Dean Brown (back then, Professor Brown) about her work and goals with respect to the center, and what it meant to look at the whole lawyer and how we interact with one another in the practice of law. In 2010, Ms. Sweet officially enrolled at Quinnipiac University School of Law and began her transition from theater sales and marketing to the legal field.

While in law school, Ms. Sweet became the second student fellow to work for Quinnipiac’s Center on Dispute Resolution. She did an externship with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, working as a mediator doing employment discrimination. For classes, Ms. Sweet took as many ADR and employment law classes as she could. While she was working in the entertainment industry, she was a union member and decided that, while in law school, she wanted to use the knowledge and experience she already had in employment law and combine it with ADR work in that field. Ms. Sweet’s daughter was 10 years old when she started law school, and when asked about what that was like, Ms. Sweet noted that it definitely wasn’t easy raising a daughter while in law school, but she “just did it.” She reflected fondly on the study dates they would have together, and how grateful she was for her classmates and Quinnipiac faculty and staff being so supportive of her while she was doing it.

Following graduation, Ms. Sweet began working for an employment labor law firm in Hartford. The firm was management focused, and while Ms. Sweet was grateful for the time and experience she got there, she realized that she would much prefer working as either a neutral or an advocate on the employee end of the spectrum. Today, Ms. Sweet works for the United Public Service Union as a union attorney. She puts her ADR skills to work when she does contract negotiations or represents union members in mediations and occasional arbitration proceedings. She enjoys working hard for her clients in these negotiations and mediations. She’s found that a lot of what she learned in law school, she now gets to apply to her work, and she loves it.

Ms. Sweet thinks that parties are more open to negotiating and mediating than they were a decade ago. In employment law, and specifically labor relations, she noted that you always

need to consider that the parties have an ongoing relationship, and the employer and employees involved in these processes are very likely to have a long-term relationship. ADR processes allow her to keep those relationships in mind when she’s advocating for her clients. She’s also found that parties are more understanding of the value mediation offers in resolving these disputes; if the parties are willing to invest in the process and have open conversations, they’ll be more likely to find an outcome with which they both can live.

Outside of her work, Ms. Sweet finds she uses her ADR skills constantly in her everyday life. She noted that her daughter is a great negotiator, skills her daughter likely picked up from her. She thinks ADR really does improve our listening skills, as well as our ability to respond to one another, and increases our curiosity of what is in the mind of others in our lives. These skills, she noted, helps a lot in everyday life, and by using these skills in conversations and disputes with family and friends, you learn to bring a more humane approach to the formal processes. ADR, she said, offers skills that are beneficial in all aspects of life; she’s learned that sometimes treating each other fairly is more important than the outcome.

When asked if she had any advice for students thinking about a career in ADR, she had two simple words of advice: DO IT. Law school is one of the few times we have left in life to explore different things at the same time, so Ms. Sweet encouraged students to take advantage of what law school offers to try new things, hear speakers and do externships. She remembered that, when she wrote a paper for Professor Pillsbury’s Intro to Mediation course, she went out and interviewed mediators about their different styles, and how useful it was for her to talk to these individuals. She recommended that anything we can do to explore and better understand the ADR community, take full advantage of it. And if you find something that’s really cool, do not be afraid to talk to an ADR professor about setting up an independent study to learn more about it. “Let yourself be exhausted,” she recommended, “to take advantage of new opportunities.”

QUSL Society for Dispute Resolution Update

Quinnipiac University School of Law – Society for Dispute Resolution Update!

The Society for Dispute Resolution is excited to welcome new competition team members this fall. SDR will hold its annual intramural competition on September 29, 2018, giving new students an opportunity to join our competition team and broaden our participation in future competitions. In addition to the intramural competition, SDR will be sending teams to the ABA Regional and Intellectual Property Negotiation Competitions.

Last Spring, we hosted the ABA Regional Representation in Mediation Competition on February 24th and 25th. We were excited to host teams from law schools across the country, including some of our very own: Matt Parenti, Ginny Paino, Victoria Miller and Nicole Heroy (all 1Ls at the time). Fellow SDR Competition Team members, James Demetriades and Ryan Flament, coached both teams. Congratulations to all of those who competed, QUSL could not be more proud! 

Coming up, QUSL and SDR will be hosting the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition on November 9th and 10th. We will be happy to announce the names of our competitors in this competition, when the event is over. For now, just be sure to send good vibes our way. 

Calling all potential judges! We are looking for 36 judges for the upcoming ABA Regional Negotiation Competition on Friday, November 9, 2018. Please contact for more details. Thanks to those who have helped out as a judge, mock client, or coach and those who plan to do so at the upcoming competition. Quinnipiac's strong showing within the ADR community is a result of your assistance and support!


If you'd like to be more involved, please email us at: 

2018 Summer Conflict Management Institute – A Success!

All New – 2018 Summer Conflict Management Institute – A Success!

It gave new ways for analyzing complex, multiparty disputes.

The Center of Dispute Resolution has expanded its training offerings!

For five days in June, the Center held the first Summer Conflict Management Institute. Sessions included a broad array of topics including Conflict Triage, Dealing with Challenging Behavior, Overcoming Impasse, Giving and Receiving Feedback, Best Practices for Representation in Family Mediation, and Powerful Non-Defensive Communication. Some people attended a single session; others attended multiple sessions.

The participants included lawyers, therapists, social workers, staff from two human service agencies and a transportation company. The sessions were highly interactive with participants engaging in discussion, sharing experiences and practicing new skills.

In the Challenging Behavior Workshop, we looked at how some behaviors cause us to react in less than positive ways in a negotiation or mediation, how to address specific situations and engage with high conflict personalities. Participants mapped out personal plans for dealing with challenging behaviors. One participant concluded that “it was easily relatable to every day issues and conflicts that arise.”

In the Powerful Non-Defensive Communication (PNDC) workshop, we examined some of the underlying models and assumptions in how we communicate and then introduced PNDC concepts, techniques and basic tools for: (1) questions; (2) making statements, including (a) feedback to others, and (b) expressing our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs; and (3) predicting consequences as a way to set limits. One participant said she was able to “focus on how I could get my power back in different ways.”

The best part was how the personal experiences of participants were woven into the course as it unfolded.

Coming up in January, the Center will offer an Advanced Mediation Training, in March the 40-Hour Mediation Certificate Program and sessions are being planned for the 2019 Summer Conflict Management Institute. Stay tuned for more!

Alumni Spotlight Fall 2018!

Featuring. . . Andrew Marchant-Shapiro!


After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree at the University of Chicago (both in sociology), teaching college for several years, and working in software engineering for 15 years, Andrew Marchant-Shapiro decided to pursue a law degree. Quinnipiac School of Law’s Dean’s Fellows scholarship program caught his attention, and during an interview with some faculty members, one professor inquired as to whether or not The Fellowship of Reconciliation--a pacifist organization that Andrew was affiliated with–was a dispute resolution organization.

That query served to connect his dedication to pacifism with the importance of the role that dispute resolution plays in achieving that goal. He found himself drawn to dispute resolution at Quinnipiac, starting with trying out for the Society for Dispute Resolution’s competition team and later in enrolling and participating in various dispute resolution courses.

In a regional Representation in Mediation competition, Andrew and his co-competitor, along with 2 other teams from QU Law, made up the top 3 teams at an ABA regional competition in Rhode Island. It was then that Andrew got a sense for what QUSL was capable of when it comes to the field of dispute resolution. His team ended up placing second overall.

He has since transitioned into practicing law and incorporating mediation into his work as much as he can. Andrew currently has a small practice, River Bridge Resolutions, LLC, where he represents clients primarily in the fields of inmate civil rights, family, and business law, trying particularly with the latter two to stress the role that mediation and relationship building have for maintaining cooperation, whether in families or in business. In such settings, he has experienced that using litigation can destroy a relationship crucial to a family or to an ongoing project.  While he is excited about assisting divorcing couples to work out parenting plans and helping businesses make good deals and maintain professional relationships, he recognizes that there is much more to do in the legal field to make potential clients aware of the benefits and availability of mediation in lieu of litigation. “We need to find a way to make mediation sexy,” he told me as he was thinking, that as far as awareness of the legal system and the legal community goes, most people only think of lawyers as litigators, and don’t realize that mediation is an option. As the treasurer of The Connecticut Mediation Association (CTMA), Andrew hopes to find ways to do just that and to promote mediation as a tool that can help parties solve problems in an efficient manner. Mediation is particularly apt when there are matters that require people to work toward the future, whether it is parents ensuring the well-being of their child or businesses working together on an ongoing project. Mediation is a great way to maintain relationships into the future instead of potentially destroying them in litigation.

At the end of the day, Andrew hopes that attorneys and clients alike will recognize the value in resolving disputes as opposed to squeezing the greatest financial value out of any given situation. Mediation is about advocating for a solution, as opposed to advocating for a client’s individual interests, and neutrality is key. When asked what advice he had for current law students, Andrew stressed the importance of obtaining soft lawyering skills during law school due to the number of cases that settle. He said, “Work on your negotiating skills as soon as you can because the vast majority of cases are not going to end up in court, and even the ones that do will likely end up settling at some point. Get involved in SDR. Volunteer as a community mediator.”


Adult Children of Divorce: CCND

Connecticut Council for Non-Adversarial Divorce is hosting a dinner meeting on Tuesday April 24, 2018 at 6:00 PM. The QU Law Center on Dispute Resolution regularly cooperates with sister organizations, and this upcoming event is not one to miss! Please click here for more details about the event and registration.

The 10th John A. Speziale ADR Symposium

"Finding Solid Ground: Environmental and Land Use Dispute Resolution in Connecticut" 

DateMarch 17, 2017 8:30 a.m. @ QUSL

Keynote speaker:  Lawrence Susskind, a City Planner, Mediator, and MIT Professor, is one of the country's most experienced public and environmental dispute mediators and a leading figure in the dispute resolution field. 

Sponsors: The symposium is co-sponsored by QUSL and the Connecticut Bar Foundation. There is NO CHARGE for the symposium, which includes continental breakfast and lunch, but seating is limited. Register now.

QUSL Student Wins National Dispute Resolution Essay Competition

An essay by Emily Chumas, 3L, "How Alternative Dispute Resolution Encourages Subsequent Remedial Measures After Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, or Adverse or Unanticipated Events", was the winning entry in the 2016 James Boskey Dispute Resolution Essay Competition, sponsored by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. Her essay is published in the September issue of the Section's e-newsletter Just Resolutions.
Ms. Chumas, who this year is the Executive Managing Editor of the law school's Health Law Journal, submitted an earlier draft of her prize-winning essay last spring as her final paper for a new QUSL course titled "Introduction to Dispute Resolution in Healthcare."