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University of Houston Law Center Hosts National Mediator Competition

S. Dakota law student wins top prize in Blakely Advocacy Institute contest.

Laura McNeal of the Leah Leone, left, the Hon. Josefina Rendón, South Dakota School of Law student Cody Miller and Andrew Tolchin.

Leah Leone, left, the Hon. Josefina Rendón, South Dakota School of Law student Cody Miller and Andrew Tolchin.

Oct. 22, 2019 — Twelve law students from across the country recently competed in the National Mediator Competition hosted by the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.

Cody Miller of the University of South Dakota School of Law won the Jeffry S. Abrams Best Mediator Award and scholarship of $2,000. The runner-up, Shannon Walker of the Stetson University College of Law, received a $1,000 scholarship also sponsored by Abrams in recognition of the work of, an international environmental organization addressing the climate crisis.

The national competition, started in 2010, is held in conjunction with the Law Center’s in-house Tom Newhouse Representing Clients in Mediation Competition. Students in the national competition serve as mediators for the Newhouse competition.

Competitors work their way through a series of three problems based on actual commercial mediations and scenarios provided by Abrams, a mediator and 1982 graduate of the Law Center.

“To my knowledge, this competition is the most “real-to-life” mediation competition in the country,” said Jim Lawrence, executive director of the Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute which sponsors the competition.  “The longer time format and the opportunity to have unlimited caucuses really tests the student mediators’ skill set.”

Final round judges included Leah Leone, Judge Josefina Rendon and Andrew Tolchin.

Media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184,; Elena Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-1125,; John T. Kling, Communications Manager, 713-743-8298,; and John Brannen, Senior Writer, 713-743-3055,

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 About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 11 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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