The final four teams from each region and four “wild card” teams faced off in the National Transactional Law Meet competition hosted by the law school on March 29 and 30.
The competition, the first of its kind in the country, required student teams to negotiate an employment agreement for the CEO of a fictitious company. Teams represented either the CEO or the company that was pursuing her. The Law Meet, created by Earle Mack School of Law Professor Karl Okamoto, aims to fill an unmet need in legal education, to prepare students who seek to be transactional attorneys on how to structure and negotiate a simulated “deal” on behalf of a fictional high-profile client.
This year was the first time regional competitions were held leading up to the final rounds at the law school. Over 20 teams made it to the national finals. Among them were participants from Columbia University School of Law, UCLA Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, Salmon P. Chase College of Law Northern Kentucky University and University of Pennsylvania Law School.
In the final round, students from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law Northern Kentucky University sat across the negotiating table from students from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, with the University of Pennsylvania Law School taking home the prize.
Experts in the field of transactional deal-making judged the competition. Among them were, Scott Price, partner and head of the Executive Compensation practice group at Kirkland & Ellis, Adrienne Moss, senior legal counsel for Dreamworks Animation LLC, Michael Sherman, a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and former partner of Wolf Block LLP in Philadelphia, and Sherry Lemonick, an expert in privately-held company transactions and former Director of Legal Services for a subsidiary of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
After the final round of the competition, Price and Moss faced off against Sherman and Lemonick in what Professor Okamoto referred to as the real reward for the competitors, “a chance to see a demonstration by the pros” of the very same deal the finalists negotiated.
At the conclusion of the demonstration Price commented on the professionalism of the members of the final teams and was impressed by the complexity of the issues presented in the competition. Similarly, Sherman noted that one of the lessons the competition teaches is that an effective transactional lawyer must not only be mindful of the legal implications of a particular agreement but also the economics and accounting principles behind it.