Alumni SpotlightPosted: September 3, 2013
In 2012, Penn Law’s Dan Gershwin and Megan Clair won the Transactional LawMeet National Championship title (click here to see Dan and Megan negotiate the final round with Annette Redmon and Joseph Gillis from Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law).
This past year Dan clerked for Judge Aldisert of the Third Circuit and is now headed to Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. We recently spoke to Dan to talk about his experience with LawMeets and more.
Who was your favorite professor in law school and why?
Tom Baker was my favorite law school professor. I took his 1L torts class and I really enjoyed the way that he encouraged us to think beyond the cases in the big red casebook. We frequently discussed public policy issues and the role of tort law in our society. I enjoyed the class so much that I spent my 1L summer working for him as a research assistant, and I then took his insurance law class during my 3L year. Some concepts I learned in that class came in handy during the LawMeet.
In 2012 you brought home the gold – the National Transactional LawMeet Championship title. Tell us about the experience and how many autographs you have had to sign since.
The LawMeet was a fantastic experience, particularly for someone who had been somewhat focused on litigation as opposed to transactional law. I had just finished a semester with Professor Kosuri and Professor McMenamin in Penn’s Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, and that gave me a great foundation in contract drafting, negotiating, and business concepts in general. I really enjoyed putting those new skills to use in a competition.
I was lucky to enter the LawMeet with my partner from the Clinic, Megan Clair. She brought different skills and expertise to the table, including a much more sophisticated understanding of tax and estate planning issues, which was critical for an executive compensation assignment like we had. We spent many hours working together on the employment agreement, and kicking around ideas at that stage helped us get ready for what those across the negotiating table would throw at us when the big day arrived.
One of my favorite things about the competition was receiving instantaneous feedback from the judges. They sharpened our thinking and techniques and gave us a sense of how the negotiation would play out in the real world. Megan and I didn’t sign any autographs after the LawMeet, but we did hop in a car and head down to UVA for the law school softball tournament. Our classmates celebrated with us and didn’t give us too hard of a time in front of the other teams. Our performance in the LawMeet was far better than our performance on the softball field, but we had a great time.
Compared to other experiences in law school, how did LawMeets rank with respect to preparing you for practice.
The LawMeet and Penn’s Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic were the two experiences that prepared me most for the transactional work that I hope to do in the future. As I mentioned above, the Clinic gave me great fundamentals and experience interacting with clients in person, and through the LawMeet I furthered my understanding of business concepts and transactional practice in a competitive setting. I also got the chance to network with lots of lawyers who gave me great insights into transactional practice in the real world. Students should definitely take advantage of similar opportunities at their law schools.
You just finished a clerkship with Judge Aldisert of the Third Circuit. What’s up next for you?
I am heading to Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, where I will be joining the Environment and Energy practice group. I am still interested in both litigation and transactional work, so the group is a perfect fit because I will get to do a little bit of both.
Any last words?
Thank you for setting up a great competition and I look forward to seeing what LawMeets does in the future!