UT Law student places second in transactional competition

For the third consecutive year, the University of Tennessee College of Law has earned top honors in Baylor University’s “The Closer” competition.

Third-year law student John Adgent placed second in the event that took place in Waco, Texas throughout Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. Adgent was coached by Professor Brian Krumm.

Adgent said the simulation exercises he’s completed in a number of his classes at the College of Law were particularly beneficial as he approached this competition.

“It was a great opportunity to get hands on practical experience outside of the classroom,” Adgent said. “It’s a great way to see what your legal education can do.”

The annual invitation-only competition is open to schools that have excelled at past National Transactional LawMeets. 

The law students learn the details concerning the contract they must negotiate only 24 hours prior to the first round of negotiations. The tight timeline forces competitors to quickly identify the legal issues and devise and negotiate solutions to serve their client’s needs.

This year’s scenario was focused on the Zenneck surface wave, a developing technology that transmits electromagnetic waves along the interface of earth and air. Adgent served as legal counsel for the start-up company and conducted negotiations with fictional venture capital investors.

“It has huge implications, and it’s actually an emerging technology. If you’re driving from Dallas into Waco, you can see a tower that they’re testing,” Adgent said.

Competitors then participate in up to four 40-minute rounds of negotiations in front of experienced transactional lawyers. The students are judged on their presence and professionalism, knowledge of legal and financial issues, and their ability to craft a solution that satisfies their client’s objectives.

While Adgent was disappointed with a second-place finish, he said he came away with a greater level of enthusiasm about the career ahead of him working in the corporate securities group of Nashville-based Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. 

“This made me understand why professors put an emphasis on practical learning,” Adgent said. “Having a ton of information dropped on me at once, and then having a client say ‘how do we make this work?’ … I think that’s what I enjoyed the most about the competition.”

Krumm said Adgent’s performance reflected well upon the University of Tennessee College of Law.

“John has the type of personality that is perfect for this practice area,” Krumm said. “He is more focused on finding a solution that satisfies the client than he is on winning.”