Wayne Law transactional team competes in nationals; new course planned

 Wayne State University Law School’s team of Christopher Attar and Justin Hanna finished fourth in drafting and sixth in negotiations at the 2014 National Transactional LawMeet.

The competition, hosted by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York City office and sponsored by Bloomberg Law and Practical Law, was April 3 and 4. It featured the top 14 teams in the country that advanced after being named finalists in seven regional LawMeet competitions.

“Our team performed really well and received a lot of compliments from the judges, opposing teams and opposing teams’ advisors,” said Assistant Professor Eric Zacks of Huntington Woods, faculty advisor to the Wayne Law teams.
He’ll help run a new one-credit course in to be offered in both the fall and winter semesters.

“The course is intended to provide an opportunity for students to develop written and oral transactional lawyering skills, including drafting agreements, revising agreements, advising clients and negotiating with transactional attorneys while exploring important legal and business issues relevant to mergers and acquisitions,” Zacks said.

Students in the fall semester of the new course will be introduced to a transaction problem leading up to an in-house competition at the end of the term. The problem and competition will be modeled on previous years’ regional and national LawMeet competitions.

“The top teams at the in-school competition will be selected to represent Wayne Law at the regional LawMeet competition,” Zacks said.

Those top team members will be able to enroll in the winter semester of the transactional law team course at Wayne Law, where they’ll prepare for the upcoming regional competition. At both the in-school and regional competitions, professional transactional experts will judge which two-member teams are most adept.

Hanna of West Bloomfield, a second-year student, will serve as chair of the in-house competition next year. Third-year students Attar of Farmington Hills and Christopher Banerian of Bloomfield Hills (who placed second in drafting and negotiations at the Chicago regionals this year with teammate Weiling Chou of Troy) will return as alumni to help run and judge the in-house competition. Banerian went to New York for this year’s LawMeet national contest to help prepare and advise competitors Attar and Hanna.

Each year, the LawMeet competition releases a complicated problem based upon important issues that arise in many acquisitions. Teams are designated as either representing the buyer or seller in the sale context and are provided with the deal history, a complex purchase agreement and other related information and documentation. Problems typically require teams to figure out how to address a situation that arises after the sale process has commenced, including by drafting a stand-alone agreement to address the new issues, participating in a mock client conference call, revising the opposing side’s stand-alone agreement and—at the in-school and regional competitions — participating in live negotiations with teams representing the other side.

The competition offers students a chance to use in practice what they’ve learned in their business law courses. LawMeet competitors typically spend hundreds of hours preparing for the contest, and Wayne Law’s team members have found it to be one of the most rewarding and stimulating law school experiences, Zacks said.