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KU students named national finalists in transactional law competition

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas School of Law students were named finalists at the 2014 National Transactional LawMeet in New York. Jay Berryman and Kevin Wempe finished in the top four of 14 teams in the competition, which offers a “moot court” experience for aspiring transactional lawyers.

Berryman, of Meade, and Wempe, of Topeka, qualified for the event after their strong showing at the regional competition in Chicago. Anna Kimbrell, of Lawrence, and Rachel Martin, of Kansas City, Mo., earned the prize for best overall draft agreement at the Midwestern regional in Kansas City.
This is the first year KU has participated in the competition.
“The LawMeet’s drafting and negotiation process is very reflective of what corporate attorneys do in practice, so this experience is invaluable to me and one that most transactional attorneys did not have the opportunity to engage in while in law school,” said Berryman, who will graduate in May, then begin his career practicing corporate transactional law at Polsinelli PC in Kansas City, Mo.
Teams were assigned to represent either buyers or sellers of a business and were required to draft an agreement covering a disputed issue, mark up the opposing side’s counterdraft and negotiate a resolution. Teams from 84 law schools met at seven regional sites to conduct the negotiations. Two teams from each region (one buyer and one seller) advanced to the final round, held April 3-4 in New York. 
“The negotiations were very professional,” said Wempe, who is set to graduate in May and will work in public finance with Gilmore & Bell PC in Kansas City, Mo. “We decided beforehand we would avoid being adversarial, if possible, and instead take the approach that we were there to facilitate our client’s wishes and move the transaction forward rather than bicker with the opposition.”​

Competition judges evaluate which team most adeptly combines its 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.
KU law alumni Ken Lynn, Class of 1981, and Kelley Sears, Class of 1974, coached the teams in preparation for the competition, with assistance from Webb Hecker, professor of law.