Fact Pattern Distribution

All schools that have properly registered for the competition will be provided the general facts for the first three rounds in March 2023. Confidential facts for the final round will only be distributed to the two teams advancing to the final round. Please check this page for any updates regarding rule or schedule changes.

Competitors may not conduct any outside research; all preparation must be limited to the materials provided. Judges will be instructed to penalize competitors for reference to any outside sources. All questions concerning the competition problems should be emailed to Any clarifications or responses to questions made concerning the problem will be directed to all participating schools by email. 

No participating school with more than one team in the competition will be provided with the confidential facts for both sides of a problem for any competition round. Participating schools are prohibited from sharing confidential problem information with each other until the conclusion of the tournament.

Competition Format

Pairings for the first three rounds will be assigned at random. For the final round, the top two teams from the first three rounds will advance. Competition rounds, consisting of two teams of two competitors each, will be structured in the following manner:

Negotiation (45 minutes) 

  • Each team will be allowed an optional 5-minute caucus during the round 

Self-evaluation preparation (10 minutes) 

  • The first team gives self-evaluation (10 minutes) 
  • The second team gives self-evaluation (10 minutes) 

Judges comments (15 minutes) 
TOTAL TIME per round: 90 minutes 

Self Evaluation: Preparation for the self-evaluation portion must take place outside the presence of judges, timekeeper, and opposing team. After the initial ten minutes of permitted prep time, once the first team begins its self-evaluation, the second team of competitors will not be permitted to continue preparing. The second team will wait outside the room with a designated representative of the host school until it is time for the second self-evaluation. During the self-evaluation, each team should address the following two questions: (1) "What parts of this negotiation would you keep the same, and what would you change if you had to do this negotiation again?" (2) "How did your strategy impact the outcome?" The teams should also be prepared to answer additional questions from the judges about team's preparation and performance.

Caucus: If one team elects to take a break, both teams are required to leave the room, and may not converse with any other competitors or persons. The teams may reenter the room at any point prior to end of the five-minute break, but are required to return to the room once five minutes have passed.
Judges may deduct performance points based on any violation of these rules.

Team Identification

Competitors (or any other school representative) are not allowed to divulge the name of the school they represent to any other competitor, judge, or school representative until the completion of the competition.

Exhibits and Visual Aids

Competitors may not make reference to any outside source or visual aid. No outside materials may be presented during the round, including charts, agendas, or other visual representations of the materials provided. All negotiation rooms will have white boards for competitors to use during the rounds.

Electronic Devices

Competitors may bring calculators, stopwatches, and cell phones, or laptops so long as all devices are kept in airplane mode. All instant messaging and internet functions must be turned off. Competitors may not consult outside materials during the round. No prepared materials may be used or handed out for the self-analysis. The white boards and other permitted materials may not be used for the self-analysis.

Permitted Observers

One to two judges and a timekeeper will oversee each round. Before the start of the round, the timekeeper will also lay out the general rules for the competition. The panel of judges overseeing each round will evaluate the performance of the competitors according to the criteria provided. The score sheets for the first and second rounds will be collected after the self-evaluation and before the judges' comments for the second round. Judges' scores will be used to determine the matches for the third round.

Competitors are allowed to keep their own time, but the round will begin and end according to the timekeeper overseeing the round, regardless of any discrepancies in time between that of the timekeeper and that of the competitors.

Observers are permitted during the round, provided that they are respectful of competitors and remain in the room during the entirety of the round (until the second self-evaluation has ended). Spectators must leave while judges tabulate their scores. Entering or leaving during the middle of the round is disruptive to competitors and will not be permitted. Observers from a school may not observe any round in which a team from their school is not a competitor. All spectators must be associated with the teams competing in some way. Spectators are not allowed to use electronic devices while observing a round. Spectators may NOT talk with the judges inside the competition room prior to or during the round. Additionally, no spectator will be allowed to talk with a competitor from the beginning of the round until the round has fully completed (after the judges' comments). Judges may use their discretion to allow/disallow spectator attendance.

Final Round

The final round will include 3 or more judges. The top two teams from the first day's rounds will advance to the finals. Anybody may observe the final round. Otherwise, the same rules and timeline apply to the final as the above rounds.

W&M Ghost Team

If an uneven number of teams register, a William and Mary team comprised of first year students will compete as a "ghost team." The competitors will abide by the same non-disclosure rules as other teams, and will only be familiar with the facts for the side that they are representing. Judges will not know of this team nor its affiliation with William and Mary. The "ghost team" will not have the opportunity of advancing to the second day. If a registered team fails to show on a day of the competition, the competition administrators will adjust the schedule accordingly.


Any violations of these rules, or any other act or speech not contemplated in these rules that would have an adverse or unfair effect on the results of the competition, may be presented to the competition administrators for review and ruling. Competition administrators can disqualify the team for violations.