"Baseball arbitration is a very unique form of alternative dispute resolution..."
Baseball arbitration
The team of full-time and part-time students from Camden and Newark competed successfully in the 11th Annual International Baseball Arbitration Competition at Tulane University.

Vera Jiang

I decided to take the winter class taught by Dean Andrews for credit. Frankly, I did not have any knowledge or interest in baseball and I was quite concerned if I could do well in this class. I remember emailing Dean Andrews about my concern that I am an international student from China and I had very limited exposure in baseball. She told me there’s no need to worry and, usually, some of the best students in this class have been women without experience in baseball. 

Before the class started, we had to submit our individual briefs and I was worried because I did not understand the statistics. Dean Andrews and the coaches, Rich and Steve were extremely helpful. They explained everything to me through an hour-long telephone conference.

I was selected to join the competition as a student coach. It was an amazing experience! New Orleans impressed me with its music scene and great seafood. This is the second time that Rutgers Law has made it to the semi-final. Without my teammates’ hard work, we wouldn’t have achieved this.

The last day we had to prepare for the argument until 2 a.m. and get up at 5 a.m. for the semi-final. When we were competing with Ottawa, we did not expect that we could win because their oral advocacy skills were so impressive and they memorized almost everything. To our surprise, we won that round based on our excellent rebuttal.

I made good friends through this experience and this semester I am doing directed research under Dean Andrew’s supervision. 

Michael Koehler

I was interested in the Baseball Arbitration Class & Competition mainly because I grew up playing baseball, and saw this as an opportunity to combine my passion for the law with my personal love of sports.

Thankfully, we had a really cohesive team that prepared thoroughly before and during our trip. That preparation led to us performing very well – and reaching the semifinals – against tough competition from other schools from across North America. Luckily, both my employer and Spring Semester professors were very accommodating and supportive in allowing me to go to New Orleans.

My biggest takeaway will be learning how to become a better oral advocate for clients. That opportunity to listen, analyze, and respond to opposing counsel arguments effectively was a tremendous experience I look forward to applying in the legal profession.

Amanda Navarro

I became involved in the International Baseball Arbitration Competition by enrolling in the baseball arbitration course held in Camden. I currently attend Rutgers Law School at the Newark location, but completed the baseball arbitration class at the Camden campus. This was my first experience at the Camden campus (as well as my first trip to New Orleans) and both were incredibly memorable.

I walked in the first day of class with very limited knowledge about the Detroit Tigers, Michael Fulmer, or baseball in general. However, over the span of a week, I completely immersed myself in the topic and developed a love for the game.

The class culminated with a mock arbitration, held in front of a panel of three judges, where my partner and I zealously argued on behalf of our client, Michael Fulmer, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. I prepared for the oral argument by composing a brief, creating PowerPoint visuals, and conducting research outside of the classroom.

Both the class and competition were incredibly exciting and engaging experiences. I had the opportunity to not only learn about baseball arbitration, which is a very unique form of alternative dispute resolution, but also work with phenomenal coaches and experts in the field. I would recommend participating in this course and competition to any law student with an interest in gaining hands-on experience in a fascinating area of law.

James B. Sullivan

I previously took a Sports Law class with Dean Andrews, which I enjoyed. So, that influenced my decision. Additionally, I enjoy sports in general, and baseball specifically. So, I jumped at the opportunity to combine my affinity for sports with a competition setting that would sharpen my oral advocacy skills.

Preparation consisted of things applicable to most moot court/arbitration competitions, e.g. drafting briefs, studying statistical charts (evidence), reviewing prior arbitration results (case law), outlining our argument, and anticipating opposing counsel's arguments in order to rebut their assertions.

Our coaches and faculty were great. Obviously, their knowledge of baseball and oral advocacy was superior. Their biggest piece of advice was to focus on knocking the rebuttal out of the park (pun intended) as the rebuttal is often where a case is won or lost.

The experience was great. The faculty, coaches, and teammates were all phenomenal. Tulane was a gracious host and the judges were all very accommodating in sharing their knowledge of baseball, arbitration proceedings, contracts, etc.

I am a part-time student with a full-time job, a wife, and two children. So, it was tricky finding time for this competition. Recognizing the value of this unique opportunity, I decided to take a couple of vacation days at work to make the trip. Most importantly, my wife, she stepped up and shouldered the load at home in my absence like the rock star she is.

The ability to formulate a cogent argument and advocate persuasively is a necessary and valuable skill in the practice of law. I don't know if I'll ever participate in sports litigation in the future, but the skills learned and applied during this process are extremely transferable.

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Vera Jiang, Michael Koehler, Amanda Navarro, and James B. Sullivan

Vera Jiang was born and raised in Beijing, China and moved to the United States for college. Jiang attended Fordham University and majored in sociology. Her dream career is to be an in-house counsel for a fashion company and this experience will help her in landing a job in sports/entertainment/fashion law.  Michael Koehler is from is Logan Township, NJ, and earned his B.S. in Political Science from the University of Central Missouri while finishing a 6-year enlistment in the United States Air Force. Koehler is currently a 2L member of the Rutgers Journal of Law & Religion, and works part-time as a law clerk at Swartz Campbell LLC in Philadelphia, PA. Amanda Navarro is from Montclair, New Jersey. Before law school, Navarro attended Montclair State University with a Major in Justice Studies and a double minor in English and Business. Navarro serves as the Administrative Editor for the Rutgers University Law Review and I am a member of the Moot Court Board in Newark. James B. Sullivan is 39-year-old and a current police lieutenant in a local municipal police department. Sullivan is married with two children and resides in Columbus, NJ. Sullivan attended Rutgers University–New Brunswick.