Texas Tech law students recall the road to victory as this year’s National Advocacy Champions.
After law professor Rob Sherwin announced a class trip to Chimy's restaurant and bar as an incentive to advance in the 51st National Advocacy Competition at the inaugural Hall of Fame Sports and Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition, two students made it their mission to win.
Second-year students Arvin Farangi and James Ashmore worked tirelessly leading up to the competition with previous American Bar Association (ABA) negotiation champions to perfect their skills and develop strategies.
In addition to one-on-one training, the pair believes their specialized interests in different areas of the law contributed to their success.
“I'm interested in the more transactional side -- negotiations,” explained Ashmore. “I like them because you're trying to reach an agreement that benefits all parties. When looking at it from that aspect, the competition felt like just another negotiation.”
As Texas Tech is the only law school in the country to rank in the Top 10 of the ABA competition championships every year since the rankings began, there's an expectation of greatness from competitors, but the duo didn't let this faze them.
With Farangi's experience in advocacy and Ashmore's in negotiations, they were confident they would pull out a win.
“There's always a bit of nerves going into a national competition like this, but my studies here helped me feel prepared,” Farangi said.
Competitors were tasked with negotiating sports and entertainment contracts for fictitious clients such as “Strikey” and “Pear TV” and presenting them to a panel of judges.
Adding to the pressure, most of the judges were prominent attorneys in sports or entertainment law.
“One was general counsel for Disney, another for Radio City Music Hall, and one even used to represent a famous tennis player,” explained Farangi.
The competition took place over two days with the first dedicated to a preliminary round. The second included breakout rounds and the final round with increasing difficulty as the day progressed.
“For the first day, we had a week to prepare. The second, we received our prompt the night before. For the final round, we had about an hour,” recalled Ashmore.
Time, however, wasn't the only obstacle they faced.
Although the competition was conducted over Zoom, many competitors were in the same place, sharing the same screen. Ashmore and Farangi on the other hand, were in different cities.
“We utilized the chat feature on Zoom, but it's hard to be on the same page when you aren't physically together,” Ashmore explained.
Still, the team persevered and acquired valuable insight into an unfamiliar area of law.
“After competing, I learned a lot about the sports and entertainment industry and there's more to it than I originally thought,” Farangi said.
Given Texas Tech's impressive track record in this competition, distinguished alumnus and president of the Law School's Foundation Board Tom Hall has pledged $125,000 to match donations made to scholarship endowments. This pledge has been reached and his generous donation will benefit students with a demonstrated commitment to advancing advocacy.
“His donation incentivizes the bread and butter of what Texas Tech's Law School is all about,” Ashmore said. “I think incentivizing those students to do more advocacy and preparing them for it with that financial backing is phenomenal.”