For the second year in a row, students from the University of Calgary Law School’s Negotiation Club took over the offices of top Calgary personal injury law firm Litwiniuk & Company for the Club’s signature event, the LNC Negotiation Competition. Nearly 50 students attended the sold out function to prepare for a career in law by honing their negotiation skills, networking with industry professionals, and learning from the firm’s experienced lawyers. Litwiniuk & Company opened its boardrooms and team café to the students for the event, which included a catered reception, and a panel discussion.
The evening revolved around a mock negotiation, for which the students were divided into teams of two. This year’s fictional scenario was a car accident, chosen by the Club executive because of Litwiniuk & Company’s focus on personal injury law. Half of the teams were set to negotiate for the injury victim, while the other half were negotiating for the insurance company, and each received a set of facts. Teams had a half hour of preparation time to agree on a strategy, followed by 45 minutes in Litwiniuk’s boardrooms for the actual negotiation. Teams battled head-to-head while lawyers and Case Managers from the firm observed and made notes for the panel discussion.
“Our team really looks forward to this event,” said the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Fred Litwiniuk. “We have such a culture of taking ownership at our firm that it makes planning a huge event like this relatively easy. Our team members know what needs to be done to make it fun and memorable, and they do it.”
A team of over 15 volunteers from across the firm worked to bring the event to life. Rhiannon Mosoronchon and Stephanie Scott led the planning committee, which included Brianne Harris, Kelsey Adair, Lisa Nguyen and Tannis Caracciolo, as well as Club Executive member Michael Henry.
“This event gives our members the chance to hone their negotiation skills in a low-pressure environment, and receive insightful feedback from lawyers experienced in the art,” said Michael. “It’s been very popular with our members since inception, with all spots filling quickly in both years.”
Students enjoyed delicious fare from Spinelli’s Italian Centre, as well as beer and wine in the Litwiniuk team café after the negotiation. Club Executives Laura McPhee and Chad Haggerty collected results from the teams, and led a brief comparison and feedback session.
Litwiniuk Lawyers Clint Suntjens, Fred Litwiniuk, Geoff Brisbin, and James Early formed the expert negotiation panel, which offered observations from the negotiating session and provided valuable insight into how negotiation operates in the context of personal injury law. A question period followed, and students had over an hour to ask the lawyers all they ever wanted to know about negotiation. The night ended with an opportunity for the Litwiniuk team to socialize with the students. Team members from all departments of the firm were present, which gave the students the unique chance to interact with legal industry professionals of all types, not just lawyers.
The Negotiation Club has student members from all years of the University of Calgary Law School. The Club’s executive is committed to educating future lawyers on the essentials and the finer points of negotiation, and this annual event is a cornerstone of fulfilling that mission.
“This Club is so well-run,” says Fred Litwiniuk. “The Executive is really committed to creating something special and memorable for the members. They work hard, are very professional and organized, and are easy to partner with.”
Litwiniuk & Company has supported the Club since its inception, both financially and through mentorship, education, and the use of its office space. The support is part of a broader initiative by the firm to support students across Alberta and Canada, which includes a Personal Injury Law Scholarship and the SAIT School of Business Community and Culture Award.
“The team at Litwiniuk & Company has been our most important partner in this event, and in founding the club itself,” said Michael Henry. “We are consistently astounded by the generous donation of their work space, time, and sponsorship to make this event such a fun and beneficial experience for our students. Fred and his team have enthusiastically supported the event, and made a very positive impression on the U of C Law community.”
“Litwiniuk & Company has been a part of our community for over 40 years, and we’re always looking for ways to give back,” said Fred Litwiniuk. “Many of our best team members started with us right out of Alberta’s best colleges and universities, and we believe in those schools and their students.”
“We offer more than just money or sponsorship; we give our time and knowledge. These students will be the leaders of our industry and community, and we can better prepare them for that responsibility by teaching or mentoring them. Our firm believes in a modern, inclusive, positive legal industry, and we want to set a positive example for future lawyers.”