Two experienced US lawyers were recently guest lecturers at a two-week Certificate in International Business Negotiations for PPC 2 trainees in the Law School.
Jay Finkelstein is a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US), and Walter Bardenwerper is a retired vice-president, general counsel and secretary of Towers Watson & Co (now Willis Towers Watson).
A total of 24 students took part in the course, which was structured around a simulated negotiation exercise, facilitated by the two guest lecturers.
Half of the students in the class represented a multi-national pharmaceutical company (KJH Pharmaceutical Corporation), and the other half represented an African agricultural production company (Malundian Cassava Corporation).
In the exercise, the two companies are interested in working together to exploit a new technology, developed by KJH Pharmaceutical, that uses the cassava produced by Malundian Cassava Corporation.
The form of their collaboration is agreed through a process of live negotiations and written exchanges.
Head of the Diploma Centre Claire O’Mahony and PPC course manage John Lunney said that the course was designed to provide students with several opportunities:
- To experience the sequential development of a business transaction over an extended negotiation,
- To study the businesses, legal issues and strategies, that impact on the negotiation,
- To gain insight into the dynamics of negotiating and structuring international business transactions,
- To learn about the role that lawyers, and the law, play in these negotiations,
- To give students experience in drafting communications, and
- To provide negotiation experience in a context that replicates actual legal practice.
Trainees described Finkelstein and Bardenwerper as “very knowledgeable”, adding that, as well as the case brief and class notes, the duo also shared their experiences of similar transactional negotiations during their careers.
“It is hard to overstate the benefit I derived from the educational experience of a business transaction in a simulated true-to-life learning environment,” one trainee said.