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KU students advance to national finals in transactional law competition

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Danielle Promaroli, Anna Lavigne and Courtney McCray

LAWRENCE – A team of University of Kansas School of Law students will compete in the finals of the National Transactional LawMeet next month after winning the regional round in Provo, Utah.

The law school sent three teams to the regional competitions, which offer a “moot court” experience for students with aspirations to practice transactional law. Anna Lavigne, of South Saint Paul, Minnesota; Courtney McCray, of Mission, and Danielle Promaroli, of Wentzville, Missouri, were named finalists in Utah and won the prize for best seller’s side draft agreement. This is the third time in the five years that KU has competed in the LawMeet that a Jayhawk team has advanced to nationals.

“It was an amazing experience garnering real-world skills,” Lavigne said. “The competition included so many facets of transactional law, both in written drafting and real-time negotiating, and it made me feel confident in my chosen career path.”

Haley Claxton, of Olathe; Nell Neary, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Alex Rindels, of Edmond, Oklahoma, finished third in Boulder, Colorado; and Riley Buckler, of Kansas City, Missouri; Evan Drees, of Prairie Village, and Lauren Johannes, of Overland Park, finished third in Austin, Texas.

Teams were assigned to represent either the buyers or sellers of a business. Over the course of two months, they drafted a purchase agreement, interviewed their clients and marked up opposing teams’ drafts. On Feb. 23, 96 teams met at eight regional sites to negotiate a resolution. Two teams from each region – one buyer and one seller – were selected to compete in the national rounds in April in New York.

Competition judges included partners from leading law firms, corporate general counsels and other senior practitioners. They chose finalists after evaluating which teams most adeptly combine their lawyering skills, drafting, marking-up and negotiating techniques with their knowledge of corporate and other facets of business law and business sense to develop innovative solutions to negotiate a draft agreement.

Other law schools represented at the Provo regional included West Virginia University, University of Colorado, University of Denver, University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Utah and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Centennial Teaching Professor Webb Hecker and KU Law alumnus and adjunct professor Kelley Sears, class of 1974, coached the teams in preparation for the competition. Three practicing attorneys also provided expert feedback: Eric Mikkelson, class of 1994; Brian Wolf, class of 2008, and Stan Woodworth, class of 1978.

“This year’s competition was especially exciting for me because it was two years in the making. After placing third in last year’s regional competition, I had my sights set on a higher finish,” Promaroli said. “I did not expect to not only win the competition but also win best draft – something that a KU Law team has not done before. After more than 300 hours of work between the three of us, I am thrilled that our hard work paid off.”

McCray said the competition had been the most challenging and fulfilling part of law school: “I am excited we made it this far and cannot wait to see what we accomplish in New York.” 

Photo: From left, KU Law students Danielle Promaroli, Anna Lavigne and Courtney McCray.