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Angelina Sanchez ’22 Wins UHLC National Mediator Competition 

Angelina Sanchez ’22 took first place in the annual University of Houston Law Center’s (UHLC) Blakely Advocacy Institute National Mediator Competition, held virtually in October. The event offers students from law schools across the country the opportunity to act as mediators in a “high stakes” environment with competitors acting as attorney/client teams in mediation scenarios. Sanchez successfully progressed through four two-hour rounds of mediation, including caucuses and attorney-client conferences that were observed and critiqued by the judges. 

“The judges’ feedback, both positive and negative, was very constructive and helpful,” Sanchez said. “It helped me improve in the next round.” The judges noted Sanchez’s effective tone and pace, and her sense of the right time to ask questions and, in turn, when to listen, in scoring her performance. “I’ve learned that as a mediator, there’s no standard approach. You often don’t know what the attorney/client priorities are,” she said. “It’s more productive to let the parties lead the discussion.”

A member of the Law School’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Honor Society (ADRHS), Sanchez competed previously as a negotiating party but this was her first acting as mediator. For the UHLC competition, she was coached by fellow ADRHS member Xinxin Zhou ’22. 

“Xinxin had participated in a similar competition last year, so she brought a lot of insight into crafting an opening statement, how judges would react, and about handling difficult emotions and topics involved in some cases,” Sanchez said.  

Coming up next for Sanchez? While mediation will play a part of in her future career, in spring ’22 she will be doing an externship with LawInSport, an online “knowledge hub” that provides expert analysis and commentary on the latest legal developments in sport. She’s also eyeing a focus ahead on intellectual property law. Having the mediation experience, Sanchez believes, will serve her well, wherever her career takes her. “Especially with rights and licenses, it’s important to have that ability to read between the lines during mediations and negotiations,” she said.