Kriti Sharma conducted an interview of Sanjana Aravamudhan, NLIU Bhopal, adjudged Best Mediator and Priyamvada Mishra, NLIU Bhopal, who won Best Client at the III RMLNLU National Mediation Competition 2017.
Question: How would you describe your overall experience at the Competition?
Sanjana: Great. There were a few concerns I had over the format but I would really like to commend the organizing committee on how patiently they answered all our queries. The organizing committee was very smooth running and incredibly helpful.
I would only request that they release a really clear Format Guidebook for the future, so they don’t have to answer as complicated questions as a few got, over the format.
Priyamvada: The Judges were really good, their feedback, completely on point. We were initially a little apprehensive about judges of the High Court being on our panel, considering how their approach will naturally be adjudicatory and not mediatory.
However, having the member and Joint-Secretary of the Mediation Cell, as our judges was a great idea and thoroughly loved. The only confusion was regard to the roles that participants had to play, considering there was no counsel, in the mediation format.
Question: Have you had any prior experience with participating in ADR competitions?
Sanjana: This is my 4th ADR competition. Previously, I have won the INADR International Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament held at Drake University Law School in 2015 and participated in the ICC Mediation Competition, Paris and the HSF International Negotiation Competition conducted by NLU Delhi.
Priyamvada: This is my 2nd ADR competition. I was a Semi-Finalist at the INADR International Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament 2016 held at Loyola University, Chicago School of Law.
Question: What are your observations about the competition level here?
Priyamvada: The Quarter- finals level was fantastic and judges great. The quality level post the Prelims was great. I can tell you, it wasn’t a cakewalk.
Question: What did the Judges have to say about your performance in the finals? Did they make any suggestions about how you could improve?
Sanjana: They were all generally appreciative. The judges who are advocates at the Mediation Cell, Lucknow, largely evaluated us on our mediation technique and oratory skills.
The High Court Judges said, they gave us the round, because we “handled the cross- caucus well.”
Priyamvada: Largely what she said. I think, for improvement, beyond this, one needs to go for courses.
Question: In what aspects did you think your opponents were better than you?
Sanjana: I honestly thought Yamini would win Best Mediator. She was very gracious and more conductive to the character of the competition, since ours was an international dispute.
Her presence was very pleasant, throughout the session.
Priyamvada: I thought Arushi would win Best Client in my case too, since she was so much more conversational, being in tune with the spirit of mediation.
Question: What recommendations would you give, to amateur mediators?
Sanjana: I tend to not be very good at being formal. A lot of people expect you to behave formally, when you’re performing the role of a mediator but I find creating a comfortable environment is far more important to build trust.
Simply because there is no way that your client is going to repose faith in you, if they can’t talk to you.
Priyamvada: Try to get into the character, perhaps more with the words, than the theatrics. I get into the skin of the character I am playing by simply enjoying the role play.