KU students advance to national finals in transactional law competition

Friday, March 07, 2014

LAWRENCE – A team of University of Kansas School of Law students will compete in the finals of the National Transactional LawMeet next month after winning at the Chicago regional round.

The law school fielded two teams in the competition, which offers a moot court experience for aspiring transactional lawyers. Jay Berryman, of Meade, and Kevin Wempe, of Topeka, won for the buyer’s side in Chicago, and Anna Kimbrell, of Lawrence, and Rachel Martin, of Kansas City, Mo., earned the prize for best overall draft agreement at the Midwestern regional in Kansas City.

This is the first year KU has participated in the competition.

“The LawMeet’s drafting and negotiation process is very reflective of what corporate attorneys do in practice, so this experience is invaluable to me and one that most transactional attorneys did not have the opportunity to engage in while in law school,” said Berryman, who will graduate in May, then begin his career practicing corporate transactional law at Polsinelli PC in Kansas City, Mo.

Teams were assigned to represent either buyers or sellers of a business and were required to draft an agreement covering a disputed issue, mark up the opposing side’s counterdraft and negotiate a resolution. Teams from 84 law schools met at seven regional sites last Friday to conduct the negotiations. Two teams from each region (one buyer and one seller) advanced to the final round to be held April 3-4 in New York. 

“The negotiations were very professional,” said Wempe, who is set to graduate in May and will work in public finance with Gilmore & Bell PC in Kansas City, Mo. “We decided beforehand we would avoid being adversarial, if possible, and instead take the approach that we were there to facilitate our client’s wishes and move the transaction forward rather than bicker with the opposition.”

Competition judges evaluate which team most adeptly combines its lawyering skills, drafting, marking-up and negotiating techniques with their knowledge of corporate and other facets of business law and business sense to develop innovative solutions to negotiate a draft agreement.

For its Chicago victory, KU bested teams from the University of Colorado, Ohio State University, Temple University, Northwestern University and elsewhere.

KU law alumni Ken Lynn, Class of 1981, and Kelley Sears, Class of 1974, coached the teams in preparation for the competition, with assistance from Webb Hecker, professor of law.

KU law students win top brief at North American international environmental moot court competition

Friday, February 07, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Law students Jon Simpson and Matt Huntsman are the latest to join the school’s legacy of success in international moot court activities. The pair brought home top honors for their written brief at the North American rounds of the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, which was Jan. 24-26 in Denver.

“Their oral advocacy was strong, they learned a lot, and they met interesting colleagues at several other law schools,” KU Law professor and team coach John Head said. “And of course I’m thrilled at the success they enjoyed with their written submission. It’s a fine achievement, and I’m over-the-top pleased for them and proud of their work.”

Teams from the University of Kansas and the Bahamas gathered in Denver for the North American competition, which focused on international, environmental and human rights law. Wake Forest, the University of Maryland, Pepperdine and American University were among the participants, with the University of Hawaii and the University of California-Hastings advancing to the international rounds and KU’s brief named the best of the competition.

Simpson, of Wichita, and Huntsman, of Sherman, Texas, spent five months preparing for the event. As newcomers to the field, they did extensive research. “I literally had to start from scratch and work my way through various treaties, articles and books,” Huntsman said. “It probably worked to my advantage. Had we dealt with a more familiar area of law, I doubt I would have taken the time to approach every issue in such a thorough way.”

Huntsman and Simpson credit their faculty mentors with their success and are confident that the skills gained through the competition will serve them well in their future careers. “More than anything, I credit the Stetson competition for providing me the opportunity to refine my advocacy skills.”  Simpson said. “But I also appreciate the experience for exposing me to new areas of law.”

Currently in its 18th year, the Stetson International Environmental Law moot court competition features schools from all over the world. This year’s theme focused on sea turtle protection and cultural practices, challenging participants to consider the legal implications of pitting indigenous people’s rights against protection of endangered species.

Simpson and Huntsman continue a strong KU tradition of excellence in national and international moot court competition. Jayhawks brought home top honors for their briefs at the Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition and Mardi Gras Sports Law Competition in 2012. Last year KU Law became one of only two American law schools to advance teams to the finals of both the European Law Students Association and the Jessup  International Law Moot Court Competition in the same year.

KU Law students participate in an in-house moot court competition during their second year of law school, with top performers representing KU at national and international competitions during their third year.

Law school selects Dean’s Fellows to mentor incoming class

Monday, August 26, 2013
KU Law Dean's Fellows 2013-14

LAWRENCE — Eight law students at the University of Kansas have been selected as Dean’s Fellows for 2013-14.

The second- and third-year students will serve as mentors for first-year students, providing them with a peer’s insight into the first-year experience and helping ease their transition into law school. This is the seventh year for the program, which is administered by the law school’s Office of Student Affairs.

“To be selected as a Dean's Fellow, one must show leadership, compassion and a willingness to serve those following behind them,” said Kaitlin Brigman, student affairs counselor at the law school. “The Dean’s Fellows are a select group, and the ones chosen for this academic year possess an especially wonderful set of qualities that will serve as an invaluable resource to the incoming students.”

Becky Howlett, who is returning for her second year in the program and will serve as the Head Dean’s Fellow, said this year’s program would be revamped to foster more interaction between mentors and first-year students.

“As a returning Fellow, I know how easy it is for incoming students not to make use of this invaluable resource,” she said. “The goal is to create an environment where our entire team is accessible so that 1Ls feel comfortable reaching out to any of our student mentors for general advice, study strategies or the often-needed ‘It’ll be fine’ pep talk. Ultimately, the Dean’s Fellows are committed to promoting student success in the first year of law school and beyond.”

The 2013-14 Dean’s Fellows are listed below by hometown.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY
From Kansas City, Kan. 
Becky Howlett, a third-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in English and journalism at KU. She has served on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and will be an associate editor during the 2013-14 academic year. Her student organization involvement includes Women in Law, Environmental Law Society and Native American Law Students Association. Howlett, who is returning for her second year of the program, will serve as the Head Dean’s Fellow. She graduated from Piper High School and is the daughter of Wayne and Rosemary Howlett.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Prairie Village 
Ben Ashworth, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in journalism and political science at KU. He is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and a sports columnist for the University Daily Kansan. This year, Ashworth will serve as the chief of defense for Traffic Court and as a staff editor on the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. He will also conduct side research about international arbitration. Ashworth graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and is the son of William and Gayle Ashworth.

LYON COUNTY
From Emporia 
Paul Mose, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in communications at Emporia State University. He has participated in several intramural sports leagues and is a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. This year, he will serve on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and as a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. Mose works at the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon through the firm’s Diversity Writing Program. He graduated from Emporia High School and is the son of Susan Vargas.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Wichita 
Grant Brazill, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in secondary education at Wichita State University. He has been involved in the Environmental Law Society and the 1L Mentor Program. This year, he will serve on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and become a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. Brazill graduated from Wichita Northwest High School and is the son of Rick and Marlene Brazill.

BARTON COUNTY
From Great Bend 
Paige Blevins, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in English at KU. She has participated in Women in Law and the Public Interest Law Society. This year she will serve as a staff editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and events coordinator for the Public Interest Law Society. She graduated from Great Bend High School and is the daughter of Ralph and Laura Blevins.

FORD COUNTY
From Dodge City 
Kate Marples, a third-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in Germanic languages and literatures at KU. She has participated in Environmental Law Society, In-House Moot Court Competition, Kansas Law Review and the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies. This year, Marples will represent KU at the Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. As the Law Review symposium editor, she is also organizing the 2013 Kansas Law Review Symposium on the topic “Waters of the United States: Adapting Law for Degradation and Drought.” Marples graduated from Dodge City High School and is the daughter of Doug and Jane Marples.

UTAH
From Orem 
Jason Harmon, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in business management with a minor in Spanish and Portuguese at Utah Valley University. He has been involved in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and this year will serve as a teaching assistant for the Lawyering Skills course and a staff editor on the Kansas Law Review. He graduated from Timpanogos High School and is the son of Phillip and Janet Harmon.

ARIZONA
From Phoenix 
Annette McDonough, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in physics at the University of Wyoming. She has been involved in Traffic Court, Women in Law, Native American Law Students Association and the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. This year, McDonough will serve as the Westlaw student representative and participate in the In-House Moot Court Competition. She graduated from North High School and is the daughter of David Cox and Emily Jordan.

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