WashULaw Interscholastic Transactional Law Team Wins Silver

WashULaw students Ben Wagoner, Chanho Roh, and Don Phillips recently competed at the Interscholastic Transactional Law Competition hosted by Duke Law. The team was coached by Professor and Board of Advisors Chair Cash Nickerson, and they won the silver medal, on March 23rd  in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina.

While they are close friends, Ben, Chanho, and Don had not competed together before this competition. Post-graduation each of them would like to practice in a transactional or transaction-adjacent field. Chanho spent several years with the United Nations and sovereign authorities, assisting with economic development initiatives. Don worked in financial compliance for both FINRA and leading financial institutions. And Ben has direct investment and asset management experience across several asset classes. Collectively, they believed they could represent WashULaw with excellence.

Before they could officially represent the law school, the group presented to the SBA Executive Board to explain why they would be the best choice to represent WashULaw in the competition. They emphasized their collective transactional and commercial experience, as well as their participation in numerous corporate, commercial, and deal-focused classes, including Professor Nickerson’s business lawyering course. The team was selected by the SBA and was excited to put their skills to the test. Unlike with litigation, few opportunities exist for students targeting transactional work to simulate real-world practice. They wanted the experience and also to establish WashULaw’s presence in the competition and pave the way for future teams’ participation.

Three days before the competition, the team received general facts about the transaction that they were going to be negotiating – a software licensing agreement for a generative AI product. Professor Nickerson’s coaching was invaluable during brainstorming, researching, and developing the negotiation strategy. Ben says, “As we developed our negotiation strategy, Professor Nickerson acted as our counterparty and forced us to think critically about when to reveal information and how much, where we would need to be firm, and what opportunities for logrolling existed. This gave us confidence as we proceeded to the live negotiation, which he was not present for, and we executed in a manner we all were proud of.” Coach Professor Nickerson said, “The students competed against teams who had won their respective school’s intramural competitions.  At the end of the day, the highly experienced transactional lawyer who judged the competition said the WashULaw team was one of the best he had seen in competitions.”