Congratulations to Team 1 and Team 12 for placing first and second, respectively, in the Berkeley Law and Haas Business School Joint Venture Competition. This was the first year Berkeley offered this competition, and the Berkeley Law Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCBLE) plans to continue running this competition annually.
The finalist teams were composed of the following Haas and Berkeley Law students:
Team 1: Ben Bradbury, Mary Loum, Arkadiusz Malinowski, and Kim McGinnis
Team 12: Zane Keller, Steven McCarty, and Sam Wang
The Joint Venture Competition is an internal competition among Berkeley graduate students, consisting of at least one business student and at least one law student. These students performed the role of advisors for a large private equity fund sponsor considering investments in two deals and were required to answer a series of questions. The topics of these questions ranged from finance and business strategies to tax implications and choice of law provisions.
During the award’s ceremony on March 19, 2014, the three judges, Phil Nichols, Stevens Carey, and Josh Myerberg, went through and gave feedback on the questions asked during the competition. Phil Nichols, the man responsible for organizing the fact pattern in the competition, commented that when designing this fact pattern he was looking for issues that were similar real life. When designing this project, Nichols ultimately chose a real estate topic because “property projects that are immensely successful must consider: business strategies, tax, ambiguities, and even drafting mistakes. Putting together the right analysis is always dependent on the business people and the lawyers working together.”
When asked about how students can improve the skills tested in his fact pattern, Nichols replied, “work for someone who is willing to take the time and let you do hard things. Someone who will let you do it, give you feedback, and allow you to fix it again.” True to his word, Nichols and the other two judges, provided all of the participants feedback during the ceremony about different ways to approach the problems and which are most effective.
One law student participant, Katsiaryna Stserynzat, stated, “I really enjoyed this competition. It was both challenging and very collaborative. It gave me an opportunity to work closely with business students and see issues through their perspective. The Joint Venture Competition also gave me an opportunity to work on transactional matters, which is a very different experience from the vast majority of law school courses.”
A special thanks goes to the Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy (BCBLE) and for all of the judges who gave their time to host this competition and give students valuable feedback.