College Columns December 2018 - Page 12

9th Circuit Fellows and

USC Gould School of Law to Host Negotiation Competition

Ori Katz, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Mark Shinderman, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

On February 9, 2019, Fellows from the Ninth Circuit, with the support of the College, several law firms, and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, will host the 4th Biennial Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition.

Twelve teams from 10 law schools in 6 states will participate in the daylong event. Each team will compete in two rounds and represent the debtor, creditors, or buyer of assets. The new case narrative was created by Fellow Dan Bussel, a professor at UCLA School of Law and a partner at Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP, with supporting financial data created by Fellow Cynthia Nelson and her team at FTI. James Behrens of Milbank, Tweed in Los Angeles drafted the related distribution agreement. Each party to the negotiation also will receive a set of confidential facts not available to the other parties. Fellow Peter Benvenutti, of Keller & Benvenutti LLP, ran the previous three competitions based on a case narrative created by another Fellow, the Honorable Dennis Montali.

Ten Fellows have volunteered to act as judges, each judge to view 4 negotiations and provide constructive feedback and guidance to the law students (as well as evaluations of their performances). Professor Bob Rasmussen of the USC Gould School of Law and Fellow Tom Patterson, also of Klee, Tuchin, serve on the Negotiation Competition committee along with Fellows Dan Bussel, Cynthia Nelson, Ori Katz (of Sheppard Mullin), and Mark Shinderman (of Milbank Tweed).

The competition effectively forces law students to consider not only what is in the best interest of their clients, but also to account for what they perceive the other parties may require and how to reach a consensus given the limited resources available. Judging takes into consideration planning, term sheets created and exchanged in advance of the negotiation, flexibility, outcome, teamwork, self-evaluation, and negotiation ethics.

Ori Katz, Co-Chair of the Ninth Circuit Education Committee, remarked that “the ACB Negotiation Competition is a wonderful way for law students to learn about bankruptcy and see how the bankruptcy process can play out. It also allows Fellows to share their wisdom and experience with our future colleagues.” Professors at law schools inside and outside of the 9th Circuit provide additional support by enthusiastically promoting the competition and coaching the teams.

Feedback from prior competitions has been overwhelmingly positive by all of those involved -- students, and the Fellows who have served as coaches and, judges.

All Fellows are welcome to watch the negotiations, and are encourage to attend the 9th Circuit Fellows dinner to be held in downtown Los Angeles the night before the competition.