Transactional law team places third in competition

Wayne State University Law School’s transactional law team parlayed countless hours of preparation into a top-notch learning experience — and a fine finish, as well.

The team placed third in the region for its buyer’s draft of a purchase agreement amendment during the National Transactional LawMeet, a skills competition for students interested in a transactional law practice. The event took place recently at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago. The team placed fourth in the region overall.

The fictional problem before the competitors was based on a stock purchase agreement that had been signed by two parties, said Professor Eric Zacks, faculty advisor for Wayne Law’s team. The target company was s a medical diagnostics company that became “embroiled in intellectual property litigation and an FDA investigation” between the times that the stock sale agreement was signed and the deal had closed. Each competing team was assigned to represent either the buyer or seller, and to negotiate an amendment to the purchase agreement to address the changed situation.

“While we are proud of our accomplishment, I am confident that we can use our experience to help the program at Wayne State prepare a team to do even better next year,” said law student Chris Attar (Farmington Hills), team captain.

He, and his fellow team members, students Chris Banerian (Bloomfield Hills) and Weiling Chou (Troy), found the competition to be a learning experience beyond compare.

“Drafting an amendment to a stock purchase agreement, marking up the opposing counsel’s draft of that same amendment, and negotiating all of its terms allowed us to learn more than I can explain,” Attar said. “The experience was something that we would not have been able to get without participating in the competition. We learned so much about the legal, economic and other aspects that go into conducting a ‘deal.’”

Zacks said Wayne Law had more than a dozen students participate in the two-week merger and acquisitions online course leading up to the competition, as well as the preliminary rounds. During one of the preliminary rounds, Banerian finished in the top three nationally.

Wayne Law’s transactional law team comprised the three students who went to Chicago and four others — Erick Hosner (Ferndale), Michael Khalil (West Bloomfield), Katie VanderVeen (Clarkston) and Marianna Wess (Dearborn) — who “helped behind the scenes as the students drafted a transactional agreement, held mock conference calls with clients, negotiated with the other side, and revised the other team’s proposed drafts,” Zacks said.

The students compete under the aegis of Wayne Law’s new Program for Entrepreneurial and Business Law.

“Part of the PEBL program is designed to give students interested in transactional law a chance to develop the necessary skills to be a successful deal lawyer in real-world situations,” Zacks said.

“The PEBL program aims to create as many opportunities as possible for students to explore transactional law beyond the four walls of the classroom, and competitions like this are an integral part of that,” said Professor Eric Williams, director of PEBL. “I think the team’s recent performance at Northwestern speaks volumes to the enthusiasm and skill our students bring to the table.”

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