2023 Wayne Law Jaffe/Taft Transactional Law Invitational hosts 19 schools, names winners

DETROIT –19 law schools from across the country competed on Friday, March 24 in the 2023 Wayne State Jaffe/Taft Transactional Law Invitational. This year, the Invitational hosted the schools at the Southfield offices of Jaffe Raitt Heuer and Weiss (now part of Taft, a national firm with offices across the country). 

Winners were: 

Buyer's Counsel  

  • 1st place Drafting – Georgetown University Law Center 
  • 2nd place Drafting - KU School of Law 
  • 1st Place Negotiations (tie): Georgetown University Law Center and Wayne State University Law School       

 Seller's Counsel 

  • 1st Place Drafting - University of San Diego School of Law 
  • 2nd place Drafting - University of Tennessee College of Law 
  • 1st Place Negotiations - University of San Diego School of Law 
  • 2nd Place Negotiations - University of Wisconsin Law School 

The invitational is part of a skilled learning experience created and supervised by Associate Professor Eric Zacks and Taft attorney and Wayne Law Alum Justin Hanna. Third-year students Muhannad Al-Ujayli, Muhammad Siwani, Trevor Lloyd, and Andrew Valliencourt served as chairpersons of this year’s competition. The program is supported by the Jaffe Transactional Law Competition Fund, established in 2018 by Jaffe/Taft. 

The competition helps students develop drafting, negotiating and counseling skills, with two-member teams representing a buyer and seller involved in a complex acquisition. After a semester of drafting and revising, the negotiations brought the teams together for two rounds of competition. The panel of judges – composed of 20 attorneys – offered feedback following the completion of each round. 

Said Hanna, “Taft is proud to be a supporter and participant in this important and practical educational program for law students throughout the country interested in transactional practice.  Since its inception as a locally centered program for Wayne Law students, the Wayne State Jaffe/Taft Invitational has grown to include teams from regionally and nationally recognized law schools. It offers important practice-based learning with respect to effective business transaction negotiation and agreement preparation.  The expanded regional and national participation is a tribute to the success of Professor Zacks’ vision and the execution by the Wayne Law student chairpersons hosting the event.” 

Attorneys serving as judges were: 

  • Christopher Attar ’14, General Motors 
  • Christopher Banerian ’14, WorkForce Software  
  • Kent Bednarz ’08, Wolfson Bolton Kochis PLLC 
  • Joshua Borson ’13, Taft 
  • John Decker, Taft 
  • Michael De Matteis, Taft 
  • Melissa Demorest LeDuc ’05, Demorest Law Firm 
  • Marguerite Donahue ’87, Taft 
  • Justin Hanna ’15, Taft 
  • Jennifer Horn, Taft 
  • Jeff Izzard, Taft 
  • Thomas Kelly, Thomas J. Kelly Law PLLC  
  • Sara Kruse ’96, Taft 
  • Miles Macik, Howard and Howard  
  • Steve Migliore ’08, Honigman 
  • Christopher Moceri, Taft 
  • Kelsey Postema ’21, Wolfson Bolton Kochis PLLC 
  • Lee Sartori, Howard & Howard  
  • Peter Sugar ’70, Taft 
  • Brandi Weekley, Taft 
  • Jeffrey Weiss, Taft 
  • James Young, Taft 

"This was our largest competition ever, and it was wonderful to have so many schools attend from across the country,” said Professor Zacks. “We are helping to prepare, with Taft’s support, students for the real world of transactional law. We grateful to all of the practicing attorneys who volunteered to act as judges for our competition. Their feedback to the students is perhaps the most valuable part of the competition.”   

The participating schools and students were: 

  • KU Law: Cassidy Bee, Kyler Womack, Sarah Wood 
  • Brooklyn Law School: Ali Rawaf, Neda Salamzadeh, Sydney Parks 
  • University of Colorado: Jack Ryan, Kaden Dailey 
  • LSU Law: Tyrus Norcise, Mira Prisco 
  • Washburn University School of Law: Walker Bassett, Autumne Hovde, Heather Kellum 
  • Georgetown University Law Center: Claire Yang, Nikko Martins 
  • Widener University Commonwealth Law School: Alexis R. Rostucher, Callie M Dreher, Summer Pannizzo, Jessica Collier 
  • University of Mississippi: Katie Lee Crockett, Le'Ronda Gates, Mia Fontenot  
  • SMU Dedman School of Law: Eryka Mendoza, Clint Edens, Ademide Adeoye 
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville: Alyx Thompson, Eric Allen 
  • William & Mary Law School: Ryan Myers, Michael Whittaker 
  • Charleston School of Law: Christopher Clemens, Parker Craig  
  • Depaul University Law School: Ryley King, Angelo D'Agostini, Betsy Pisabaj 
  • University of Wisconsin Law School: Brennan Corbett, Madeline Clasen, Bryant Keith Petersen 
  • University of San Diego School of Law: Connor Porzio, Maria Miramontes, Saachi Keswani  
  • Baylor Law School: Allison White, Adam Holtz 
  • MSU Law: Jarrett Sabina, Molly Anderson 
  • Albany Law School: Samuel Levin, Gabrielle Van Dyk, Cheyenne Lufkin 
  • Wayne Law: Connor Schram, Danny Harwood 
  • Wayne Law: Camran Astani, Ameera Hashwi 

To learn more about the Wayne State Jaffe/Taft Transactional Law Invitational, visit go.wayne.edu/jaffe or view the digital photo gallery on Flickr

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