Alumni Short

Law School Holds Third Transactional Lawyering Competition

Ithaca, NEW YORK, December 4, 2012

“The conventional law school curriculum implicitly emphasizes appellate litigation. But a transactional practice demands additional skills,” says Professor Charles K. Whitehead. In response, Cornell Law School has developed a comprehensive transactional lawyering cur­ri­culum, with courses and seminars that span a range of practice areas, from real estate deals to private equity finance to capital markets regulation, among others. Included within the new curriculum is an introductory course on transactional lawyering that provides students with a basic understanding of deal structuring. And on November 10 and 11, fifty-two Cornell Law students put their grasp of such skills to the test in the Law School’s third annual Transactional Lawyering Competition.


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Presented by the Clarke Business Law Institute (BLI) and the Business Law Society, the competition challenged student teams representing the buyer and seller in a transfer of assets to navigate a hypothetical transaction. Doing so required them to under­stand the client’s objectives, mark-up a precedent agreement, and negotiate that agree­ment with opposing counsel. The mock negotiations were judged by a distinguished panel of faculty and alumni deal lawyers.

Two days of competition whittled the field down to a pair of winning teams – buyer’s counsel, Jennifer Nettleton, LL.M. ’13 and Tom Schultz ’13, and seller’s counsel, Ryan Delaney ’13 and Kirk Sigmon ’13.

“Cornell’s program is the only intramural transactional lawyering competition in the country,” says Whitehead. “Through it, and coursework completed before the compe­ti­tion, students become familiar with issues that commonly arise in a business transaction and the tools that lawyers use to address them. The competition is made possible through the continued strong support of our alumni who act as instructor-judges.” 

The BLI was established in 2007 by a founding gift from Jack G. Clarke LL.B. ’52 and his wife, Dorothea S. Clarke. It provides a locus for law faculty with particular expertise in such areas as securities regulation, financial institutions, international economic law, intel­­lectual property, transactional lawyering, business organizations, and ethics and corporate culture. 

Transactional Lawyering Competition 2012 Alumni Instructor-Judges

John Alexander '71, Sayles & Evans
John Altorelli '93, DLA Piper
Andy Berger '69, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt
John Calandra '91, McDermott Will & Emery
William Casazza '85, Aetna
Jacqueline Duval '92, Ziff Legal Group
Robert Feiner '85, Feiner Wolfson
Todd Feinsmith '91, Pepper Hamilton
Steven Flyer '91, AUA Private Equity Partners
Dean Fournaris '91, Wiggin and Dana
David Furman '86, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Ashley Gillespie, J.D. '01/M.B.A. '00, Morgan Stanley
Frank Golay '77, Sullivan & Cromwell
Joyce Haag '75, formerly Eastman Kodak Company
Joel Hartstone '70, Stonegate Capital Group
William Haubert '91, Richards, Layton & Finger
Denise Hauselt '83, Corning Incorporated
Sarah Hewitt '82, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
James Hill '91, Morgan Stanley
Robert Lee '81, Wells Fargo & Company
Ira Marcus '74, Marcus, Brody, Ford & Kessler
Billi McCullough '94, Holland & Hart
Deborah McLean '78, Nixon Peabody
Ray Minella '74, Cornell Law School
Joshua Nathan '91, Private Practice
Dale Okonow, J.D./M.B.A. '83, The Watermill Group
Jeff Ross '99, Debevoise & Plimpton
John Schwolsky '85, Willkie Farr & Gallagher
William Shiland '83, Rexford Management Company
Andy Stamelman '83, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti
Chris Todoroff '87, Humana
Mark Underberg '81, Cornell Law School