Alumni Short

Transactional Lawyering Competition Draws Enthusiastic Response

On Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13, forty-eight students competed in the Law School’s second Transactional Lawyering Competition—essentially a “moot court” for students who are interested in becoming deal lawyers. The Competition is the only intramural competition of its kind in the country.

Divided into twenty-four two-person teams, representing the buyer or seller, participants engaged in mock negotiations over the sale and purchase of a private airport facility in upstate New York. They were judged by a distinguished panel of twenty-eight deal lawyers from around the country, many of them Cornell alumni. Students were required to attend five lectures on basic deal structuring in order to participate in the Competition. Each team also received twenty minutes of direct feedback from the instructor-judges following each round of negotiations. They were judged on the basis of their mark-up of a modified purchase agreement and their ability to negotiate effectively on behalf of their respective clients.

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“One thing I learned is that, with any negotiation, progress is best made when you understand the other party’s interests as well as your own,” said Adam Hubbard ’12 of the winning buyer team. Added his partner, Paul Swanson ’12, “As law schools continue to send significant numbers of their graduates into business law, exposure to transactions becomes even more essential. I’m glad that Cornell is leading the way in that regard.”

Partners on the winning seller team were Mystyc Metric ’13 and Tiina Vaisanen ’13. “We were excited to win,” they said. “We also learned a lot, had fun, and feel much more confident going into our summer jobs after the competition.”
“None of this would be possible without the strong support of alumni who bring real-world experience to students, and students who put in the extra work necessary to develop transactional skills in law school,” noted Professor Charles K. Whitehead. “I would like to thank both for working together to make the competition a success.”

That success reflects the widespread interest of Cornell Law students in transactional lawyering, which was also evidenced the week before when 130 students flocked to a three-hour “Anatomy of a Private Deal Negotiation.” Sponsored by the Clarke Business Law Institute and the Cornell Business Law Society, the mock deal negotiation was presented by five senior lawyers from Kaye Scholer LLP under the leadership of senior partner Joel Greenberg.  

The Clarke Business Law Institute was created in 2007 with a $5 million lead gift from Jack G. Clarke LL.B. ’52 and his wife, Dorothea S. Clarke. The BLI offers a venue for students to learn from nationally-recognized scholars, senior lawyers, regulators, and business leaders. At its core, the BLI focuses on hiring faculty who concentrate on business law areas, developing courses in business law, facilitating business law projects between Law School faculty and other Cornell departments, and organizing conferences that use the Law School’s academic platform as a neutral forum for the discussion of pressing topics involving business law.

Transactional Lawyering Competition Alumni Instructor-Judges
John Alexander ‘71 (Sayles & Evans)
John Altorelli ’93 (Dewey & LeBoeuf)
Karen Bertulli ’01 (Winthrop & Weinstine)
Franci Blassberg ’77 (Debevoise & Plimpton)
Dave Boehnen ’71 (SuperValu Inc.)
Joseph Calabrese ’81 (O’Melveny & Myers)
William Casazza ‘85 (Aetna)
Emanuel Cherney ’77 (Kaye Scholer)
Claire Chino ’91 (Itochu Corporation)
Thomas Christopher ’84 (Kirkland & Ellis)
Robert Davis ‘78 (Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton)
Todd Feinsmith ’91 (Pepper Hamilton)
Steven Flyer ’91 (Gotham Private Equity Partners)
Joel Hartstone ‘70 (Stonegate Capital Group)
Denise Hauselt ’83 (Corning Incorporated)
Sarah Hewitt ‘82 (Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis)
James Hill ’91 (Morgan Stanley Structured Credit Products)
Sital Kalantry (Cornell Law School, Avon Center)
Jeffrey Kochian ‘98 (Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld)
Ira Marcus ‘74 (Marcus, Brody, Ford & Kessler)
Raymond Minella ’74 (Cornell Law School, Clarke Business Law Institute)
Dale Okonow ‘83 (The Watermill Group)
Jay Rakow ’77 (The Lincy Foundation)
Ira Roxland ‘67 (SNR Denton)
John Schwolsky ‘85 (Dewey & LeBoeuf)
William Shiland ’83 (Rexford Management Company)
Mark Underberg ‘81 (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison)
Raymond Zemlin ’80 (Goodwin Proctor)