Volume 3, Number 3, May 2003
Although the process and formats of mediation are quite different
than mock trial, the goals are not. The mediation tournaments
still seek to introduce students to a methodology for finding
resolution; to train students in important communication skills;
and to give the student all the benefits of intercollegiate
competition and camaraderie. However, the mediation tournaments
and the training offered at the tournaments give students
one important additional benefit: it trains them in skills
which they can take back to their campuses and use while still
in school. These students are equipped to reach out to others
on campus and help them to find a peaceful resolution to conflict.
Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament has completed its
third season. This year 20 teams from across the nation competed.
As in mock trial, students who demonstrated exceptional skills
were recognized with Intercollegiate All-American®
In the mediation tournaments, teams are made up of three
students each. In each preliminary round one student is the
mediator, another the advocate, and the third the client.
Each member of every school's team must participate as the
mediator in one of the three preliminary rounds. In each round,
co-mediators from different schools conduct the mediation.
They mediate a case involving two advocate/client pairs from
schools other than their own. After three preliminary rounds,
the top four teams based on points awarded to each team member
in the preliminary rounds go on to the finals. The point totals
for the final round determines team ranking. Intercollegiate
All-American® mediator honors are awarded to these
mediators and mediators from other teams who individually
showed exceptional mediation skills but whose teams did not
reach the finals.
One clear distinction between the mediation tournaments and
mock trial tournaments is that competition is less noticeable
in the former. Because students must co-mediate with students
from another school there is considerably more rapport built
among the students. Students feel there is considerably less
pressure on them to “win,” and more on learning
and working with others. Further, at every mediation tournament,
there is training in mediation available for students and
Those of us who are members of the National Intercollegiate
Mock Mediation Tournament Board are quite enthusiastic about
the program for several reasons: First, it gives students
who may not be as aggressive as “mockers” an opportunity
to learn and participate in a meaningful intercollegiate activity.
Second, it introduces students to a new and dynamic methodology
for problem solving that avoids the traditional adversarial
format. Third, it encourages students, at an early age, to
identify themselves as peacemakers and to conduct their personal
lives in nonconfrontational ways, which can only make them
better people. And, fourth, it introduces students to a movement
which is beginning to have a profound effect in the legal
system and society generally.