Twenty-two law schools from across the nation compete in Wayne State Taft Transactional Law Invitational

Detroit, MI – Twenty-two law schools from across the country gathered to compete in the 2024 Wayne State Taft Transactional Law Invitational on Friday, March 22, 2024. This year's event took place at the Southfield offices of Taft Stettinius & Hollister.

The competition results are as follows:

Buyer’s Counsel:

1st  Place Negotiations - University of Kansas School of Law

2nd Place Negotiations - William and Mary Law School

1st Place Drafting - University of Kansas School of Law

2nd  Place Drafting - Baylor University School of Law


Seller’s Counsel:

1st Place Negotiations - Georgetown University Law Center

2nd Place Negotiations - University of Oregon School of Law

1st Place Drafting - University of San Diego School of Law

2nd Place Drafting - Georgetown University Law Center


This invitational is an important component of a comprehensive learning experience crafted and overseen by Wayne Law Professor Eric Zacks and Taft attorney and Wayne Law alumnus Justin Hanna. Third-year Wayne Law students Ameera Hashwi, Camran Astani, Connor Schram, and Danny Harwood served as chairpersons for this year's competition. The program is supported by the Taft Transactional Law Competition Fund, which was established in 2018.

The competition helps students in honing drafting, negotiating, and counseling skills, with two-member teams representing buyers and sellers in a complex acquisition. After a semester of drafting and revising, teams engage in two rounds of negotiations, receiving feedback from attorneys after each round.

Justin Hanna remarked, "Taft is proud to be a supporter of this critically important practical educational program for law students throughout the country interested in transactional law. Since its inception as a locally centered program for Wayne Law students, the Wayne State Taft Invitational has flourished and includes teams from regionally and nationally recognized law schools throughout the country. This practice-based learning approach with respect to business transaction negotiation and documentation helps put the participants leaps and bounds ahead of their peers as prospective lawyers. The expanded national program is a tribute to the success of Professor Zacks’ vision and the execution by the Wayne Law student chairs hosting the event.”

Attorneys serving as judges were: 

  • Justin Hanna ‘15, Taft
  • Joshua Borson ‘13, Taft
  • Peter Sugar ‘70, Taft
  • Ryan Mardini, Taft
  • Adomas Rauckis ‘19, Taft
  • Josh Unice, Taft
  • Will Friedman, Taft
  • Bruce Kahn, Taft
  • Summer Moukalled, Taft
  • Jamie Young, Taft Cleveland
  • Ahmad Sabbagh ‘19, Honigman
  • Natalie Watkins, Taft
  • Amy Smith ‘17, Honigman
  • Alex Monahan ‘17, Varnum
  • Jackson Buday ‘21, Troutman Pepper
  • Hillel Nadler, Wayne State Law
  • Danielle Graceffa ‘06, Invest Detroit Foundation General Counsel
  • Christopher Banerian ‘14, WorkForce
  • Jon Sriro, Taft
  • Nick Hayes ‘18, Paesano Akkashian
  • DeLone Dawisha ‘18, Dawisha Law
  • Apollo Upshaw '14, Oracle

 “Wayne Law was excited to hold the competition again, and we were pleased to see so many schools participate. Taft has been a wonderful partner for, and supporter of, this program, and we are grateful to them. Our student chairs really did a wonderful job coordinating this year’s competition, and, as always, the most valuable part of the competition was the student feedback sessions with the judges. We are appreciative of all of the attorneys that donated their time to serve as judges,” said Zacks.

The participating schools and students were:

  • Wayne Law: Lena Vushaj, Lydia Dunn
  • University of Kansas School of Law: Alli Baden, Jackie Jeschke, Andrew Abdelqader  
  • Widener University Commonwealth Law School: Helene Hess, Kiara Douglass, Anne Carrie Swoope
  • University of Mississippi School of Law: Mason Borneman, Ademide Adeoye
  • Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law: Miriam Wang, Ademide Adeoye
  • Charleston School of Law: Emily Sanders, James Mitchell
  • St. Mary's University School of Law: Nydia Ramirez, Lauren Ramirez
  • William & Mary Law School: Cooper Quist, Hily Nichols
  • Baylor University School of Law: Ryan Cox, Andrew Cowden
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City: Aaron Mott, Alex Villalobos
  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law: Orelvis Dominguez, Shreyas Kafle
  • University of Oregon School of Law: Matthew Lee, Nathan Rice
  • Brooklyn Law School: Martha Dallman, Steve Mazzu, Keely Redhage
  • Georgetown University Law Center: Trey Wolf, Zoe Dettelbach
  • University of San Diego School of Law: Maria Miramontes, John DelMastro, Cesar Serrano
  • Southern University Law Center: Silas Thomas, Austin Opara, Peace Scott, Shaul Israel
  • DePaul: Ryley king, Betsy Pisabaj, Kaitlin Stanfield
  • St. Thomas University: Sharon Alfandary, Viviana Velez-Bowe
  • Washburn University School of Law: Carissa Occhipinto, Miaeda Hutchinson, Oliver Gilmore
  • Michigan State University College of Law: Edward Mosella, Haley Pflum
  • Emory University School of Law: Leah Shelton, Ryan Mayhan, Leah Shelton
  • University of Tennessee College of Law: Carson Jennings, Deji Adeniyi, Myles Roth

Photos of the competition can be viewed here.


Contact: Jennifer Kennedy

Phone: 313-577-4629


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