Members of Wayne State University Law School’s transactional law teams are (l-r) Justin Hanna, Christopher Attar, faculty advisor Eric Zacks, Weiling Chou and Christopher Banerian.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Law School
Wayne State University Law School’s transactional law teams brought home first- and second-place honors in drafting and negotiating Feb. 28, in regional rounds of the National Transactional Law Meet competition.
The team of third-year student Christopher Attar of Farmington Hills and second-year student Justin Hanna of West Bloomfield placed first in drafting and negotiating at a regional contest hosted by Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Mass. Attar and Hanna will move on to the national competition in April in New York City.
Wayne Law’s team of third-year students Christopher Banerian of Bloomfield Hills and Weiling Chou of Troy placed second in drafting and negotiating at a regional contest hosted by Northwestern University Law School in Chicago and just missed out on qualifying for the national competition.
Assistant Professor Eric Zacks of Huntington Woods, who is the faculty advisor for Wayne Law’s teams, said he was thrilled with the teams’ performance in competition, particularly since this was only the second year Wayne Law had been involved in the contest. Eighty-four teams competed in six regional meets this year, and only 14 move on to the national competition.
The case handled by the law students for regionals focused on an indemnification issue that arises in an acquisition. Teams were assigned to represent either the buyer or seller of a business and were required to draft an agreement to address the issue, mark up the other side’s proposed draft and participate in live negotiations with the opposing team. Wayne Law’s teams have spent hundreds of hours since December (when the competition began) working on their agreements, participating in client conference calls and preparing for the live negotiations.
“LawMeet is essentially the moot court for transactional law and offers excellent practical experience,” Hanna said. “Not only did we learn about the various provisions that go into an agreement, drafting techniques and negotiation styles, but we had a ton of fun doing it. The best part of the entire experience has to have been sitting down in front of the other side and negotiating our way through the deal. It can get pretty intense. I look forward to bringing home the gold at nationals.”
Attar, who also competed for Wayne Law last year, said, “This is an exciting part of my law school career because it is allowing me to showcase and improve upon a different set of skills. The work for the competition has allowed our team to exercise and further develop the principles and practice we learned in courses, the business clinic and more. The competition has confirmed my passion for studying and being involved with business deals.”
The competition offers students an exceptional chance to use in practice what they’ve learned in their business law courses, Zacks said. All three third-year team members have taken at least one semester of Wayne Law’s Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law’s Business and Community Law Clinic, as well as the Business Planning and Mergers and Acquisitions courses. Hanna, as a second-year student, is in the process of taking the clinic and Mergers and Acquisitions. Attar and Banerian have taken a second semester of the clinic and the Corporate Finance course.
“The Transactional LawMeet is a great opportunity to get practical transactional experience in a real-world-type situation,” Banerian said. “The hands-on experience in drafting and negotiating is unmatched. I enjoyed the experience immensely.”
Chou, too, said she really enjoyed the competition.
“Drafting agreements, client conference calls and negotiating the deal really helped us feel like real deal lawyers,” she said. “It was a very different and rewarding experience.”
Said Assistant (Clinical) Professor Eric Williams, director of Wayne Law’s Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law: “The 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. I think the teams’ performance at regionals speaks volumes to the enthusiasm and skill our students bring to the table.”