By Jenny WhalenMarch 4, 2015
Fresh off their victory at the Chicago Regional Meet, three Michigan Law students are preparing to put their negotiating skills to the test once more as they advance to the 2015 National Transactional LawMeet next month.
The National Transactional LawMeet is the transactional equivalent to a moot court experience for students interested in transactional practice. The competition begins with seven regional meets, with the top team from each side of the regional negotiations invited to compete at the National LawMeet on April 10 at Sullivan & Cromwell LLC in New York.
One of those top teams at the Feb. 27 Chicago Regional was formed by Michigan Law 3Ls Danielle Bass, Sharief El-Gabri, and Sean O'Neill, all of whom are former or current students of the Transactional Lab. Coached by Clinical Assistant Professors Ted Becker and Michael Bloom, the team has been participating in various stages of the competition since December 2014.
"Ted and I met with the students early on to talk about different resources and answer questions about the transaction, but the team has been in the driver's seat the entire way," said Bloom, who also directs the Transactional Lab (to become the Transactional Lab & Clinic in Fall 2015).
At the start of the competition, teams are provided with a statement on the context of the transaction, which this year involved the sale of a family-owned business to a private equity buyer. The teams are then tasked with proposing a draft agreement and writing a mark-up of a draft agreement prepared by another team. These teams eventually encounter each other during the preliminary negotiation rounds of the regional competition.
"It was an exciting experience overall," Bass said of the competition. "To find creative solutions on your toes and react in the moment was challenging but exciting. We were thrilled when we were announced as winners. It was very gratifying that our hard work paid off. We were super grateful for the time we put in, as well as the support Professor Bloom and Becker gave us throughout the competition."
For Bloom, one of the most exciting features of the competition was the opportunity to watch his team respond to feedback on the fly from the judges and each other.
"It was really exciting to see the team implement the feedback they received on their performance and improve in the second round," he said. "It was honestly very impressive to watch the team think on its feet in the throes of a negotiation. It was an intense few hours from one round to the next."
Overall, Bloom said, the competition only furthered his belief in the advantages of experiential education.
"After two rounds of actual competition, students had the opportunity to watch a model negotiation between two partners performing the same negotiation they just did," Bloom said. "To spend months preparing for and then actually doing the negotiation twice in this competitive scenario, and then to have experts provide a model and commentary, provides such rich context for learning practice knowledge and skills. From a teaching perspective, it cemented my belief that this is a model for learning."
Michigan Law now advances with 13 other teams to the National LawMeet, where they will participate in similarly structured negotiations and compete for the National Transactional LawMeet Championship title.
Pictured above (left to right): Professor Michael Bloom, Sean O'Neill, Danielle Bass, Sharief El-Gabri, and Professor Ted Becker.
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