Law students need as much hands-on experience in a controlled setting as possible before setting out on their own. To that end, there are moot court and mock trial competitions that help develop appellate and litigation skills for law students interested in those fields. But until recently, there has been nothing geared toward transactional law.
In steps Karl Okamoto. Okamoto designed a competition called LawMeets specifically geared toward transactional law.
In the competition, "students get fact patterns for a deal and play the roles of buyer, seller and client. Over a period of months, they have conferences; draft, exchange and mark up documents; and then negotiate the deal. Prominent transactional lawyers judge their documents and negotiations, as well as offer feedback. Then the students get to watch the pros haggle over the same terms."
The competition has rapidly grown in popularity. "In 2010, teams from 10 law schools competed at Drexel in Philadelphia. By 2011, the number had grown to 30 teams and Okamato launched a new venture, with 10 teams competing in an intellectual property version of LawMeets. Come 2012, growing popularity spawned five regional competitions and a total of 54 teams, with the winners going to Philadelphia for a national championship. And this year there were six regional competitions and 74 teams, with finalists going to Drexel."
This is exactly the type of innovation that we need in legal education reform. The hands-on experience and feedback from professionals is invaluable for law students to understand the real-world challenges of the types of law that they will practice.
ABA Journal -- You know about moot court–but Karl Okamoto wants students to practice moot deals