Okamoto is the director of the business and entrepreneurship law program and a professor in the Earle Mack School of Law.
Karl Okamoto, an Earle Mack School of Law expert in corporate, venture capital, private equity and securities law, and corporate finance, has developed a groundbreaking approach to teaching transactional lawyering—and it’s gaining national and regional traction.
While generations of law students have sharpened their litigating skills in moot court and mock trial competitions, Transactional LawMeets, created by professor Okamoto, is the first of its kind that allows students of transactional law to practice their deal-making skills.
In February, five regional competitions were held across the country. In addition to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet hosted by Drexel in Philadelphia, other competitions were hosted by Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Mass.; University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Ga.; University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in Kansas City, Mo.; and UCLA Law School in Los Angeles.
“LawMeets provide a taste of real deal lawyering by exposing students to realistic transactional challenges and to expert deal lawyers.”
-Karl Okamoto, Earl Mack School of Law
Transactional LawMeets was conceived in 2010 by Okamoto, a law professor and director of Drexel’s Business and Entrepreneurship Law Program, to put students’ negotiating skills to the test under the scrutiny of seasoned transactional lawyers who serve as judges. Interest in the meets has been so high that teams from many law schools were turned away in the first two years.
“Law schools struggle to provide ‘hands on’ learning for future transactional lawyers,” Okamoto says. “LawMeets provide a taste of real deal lawyering by exposing students to realistic transactional challenges and to expert deal lawyers.”
At each level of competition, teams are judged by seasoned transactional lawyers. The National rounds will be judged by distinguished practitioners from premier law firms and corporate law departments from both Philadelphia and New York.
This year’s competition required teams to negotiate an employment agreement for the CEO of a fictitious company. Teams represented either the CEO or the company that was wooing her. At the close of each meet, the judges demonstrated how they would have brokered the same deal that the students had just negotiated.
“Both students and our experts from practice have been very excited about the program,” Okamoto says.