On April 9, 2010, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP hosted students from Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law in mock negotiating sessions with first-year associates from the firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice Group.
The Drexel students are enrolled in the course, “Law & Finance of Transactional Lawyering,” taught by professor Karl S. Okamoto. Professor Okamoto is the director of Drexel’s program in Business & Entrepreneurship Law. He recently hosted Drexel Law’s inaugural Transactional Lawyering Meet, a two-day competition among teams of students representing 11 law schools from across the country, in which each team negotiated a letter of intent for the sale of a business. Drinker Biddle lawyers participated in the event, including serving as panelists at the faculty conference and as judges for the meet.
The event at Drinker Biddle was a real-time simulation of negotiating an asset acquisition. Three teams of first-year associates from Drinker Biddle’s Corporate and Securities Practice Group, each representing the seller in the transaction, faced three teams from Professor Okamoto’s class, each representing the buyer. The Drinker Biddle associates recently completed the firm's first-year training program, which extended for six months and incorporated many of Professor Okamoto’s theories about effectively training transactional lawyers. At the heart of the Corporate and Securities Practice Group’s training program is a commitment to challenge its new lawyers to take an active role in their own development by participating in a variety of simulated training exercises requiring significant amounts of initiative, legal knowledge and judgment, and not merely relying on lectures or classroom exercises.
Professor Okamoto and Drinker Biddle partners Doug Raymond, Scott Connolly, Matt McDonald, Howard Blum and Neil Haimm, and associates Justin Watkins and Justin Brennan, observed the negotiations and critiqued both sides, providing feedback about the key issues in the asset purchase agreement and discussing negotiating strategy.