With the Eighth Annual National LawMeet scheduled to unfold in New York City, a March 14 Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) explored the competition’s impact on legal education.
The article traces the history of LawMeet competitions, launched in 2010 when Professor Karl Okamoto concluded that budding deal lawyers deserved the same kind of opportunity to hone their skills at the negotiating table that future litigators had gained for decades through mock trial and moot court competitions
“The competition points to a larger trend in legal education: teaching students that every lawyer isn’t destined to be the next Perry Mason,” the article said. “Even though at least half of practicing lawyers at most large law firms handle deals and transactions, law school still tends to skew toward a courtroom-based curriculum.“
Citing a growing emphasis on experiential education in law schools and the pressures that law firms face to hire practice-ready associates, the article quotes a first-year lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP, who credits LawMeets with helping to prepare him for his current job.
Since Okamoto convened the first LawMeet in 2010, the article notes, the competition has expanded into arenas such as intellectual property agreements, bankruptcy deals and startup documents.
The Eighth Annual LawMeet, the culminating event following seven regional meets in which 84 teams took part this year, will be held at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on March 31.