Donation from Kirton/McConkie sends law students to national bankruptcy negotiation competition

A donation from Salt Lake City law firm Kirton/McConkie will help University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law students advance their skills through participation in the LawMeet Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition.

The competition brings teams from around the country together to negotiate solutions to simulated real-world business problems.  Teams may be required in one round to represent unpaid creditors or employees of a foundering company and in another round to represent the business owners.  In order to save the company, and those who depend on the company as a going concern, the teams may need to find innovative win-win solutions.

The competition builds academic expertise because the teams must thoroughly understand both the legal rights of creditors, owners, employees and other constituencies, and the rescue and restructuring tools available under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, said Ralph R. Mabey, a professor at the law school who also practices at Kirton/McConkie. image

“Kirton/McConkie supports the academic, practical and ethical preparation of new lawyers at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.  This team sponsorship is a small part of the firm’s community outreach designed to build justice, excellence and equity in the delivery of legal services,” said Mabey. “The competition builds practical experience.  The teams must work together–with their opponents–to find a solution that works and is acceptable to both.”

Mabey noted the competition allows students to build ethical awareness and sensitivity.  Data show that negotiators who hide the ball, overreach or are otherwise untrustworthy, do not measure up.  A goal of the competition is to reach a trusted, agreed-upon, workable solution, Mabey added.

S.J. Quinney College of Law students have previously had success at the competition, which is held every other year.  The S.J. Quinney College of Law first entered the competition two years ago at USC.  Against about a dozen teams from legal powerhouses such as Stanford, USC, and UCLA, the law school’s team took first place.  

This year’s competition will be held in January at UCLA. Students who will represent Utah at the competition include Jeffrey Clayson, Rebekah Keller, and McKay Ozuna.