The Fifth Annual <em>The Closer</em> Transactional Law Competition: A Unique Experience for Law School Students to Compete to Close the Deal

January 8, 2021

The Fifth Annual The Closer Transactional Law Competition: A Unique Experience for Law School Students to Compete to Close the Deal

Competitors judged on client counseling, negotiation, deal-making, and use of technology – all under tight deadlines


The fifth annual The Closer transactional law competition will see students from the nation’s top transactional law programs vying for a total of $10,000 in cash prizes and bragging rights as a top closer. The brainchild of Professor Beth Miller in 2017, this unique competition is the premier transactional law contest where the details of the complex business transaction to be negotiated are disclosed to students only 24 hours prior to the opening rounds of the competition.

The student competitors will participate in four grueling rounds of negotiation on Saturday, January 16th, and the top four entrants will compete a day later in the final rounds. This tight timeline reflects Baylor Law’s commitment to training practice-ready lawyers by pushing competitors to identify the most important legal issues, and devise and negotiate solutions that best serve their client’s wishes with the efficiency required of lawyers under realistic time constraints. This year’s event will be held entirely online, adding a new dimension to the already challenging competition.

“Consistent with challenges confronting lawyers in all types of practice settings—from the courtroom to the conference room—competitors in The Closer this year will need to employ strategies and techniques that result in an effective presence and style of communication in a virtual setting,” stated Baylor Law’s Beth Miller. “A transactional competition relies on interpersonal skills and the ability to work towards a mutually beneficial business deal – this is made all the more difficult given the limitations of technology. But this is the world we live in now, and this year’s competitors have the opportunity to hone their skills and will receive feedback from successful practicing lawyers throughout the competition,” she added.

The Closer is an invitation-only event, limited to one student entrant per school. To receive an invitation to the competition, law schools must have excelled at previous transactional law competitions or otherwise distinguished themselves in transactional legal training.

The fourteen schools participating in the 2021 The Closer are:

  • BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School – Avery Benesch
  • Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law – Yeshesvini Chandar
  • Emory University School of Law – Grace Kim
  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Madalyn Clary
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law – Kevin Finkelstein
  • SMU Dedman School of Law – Floy Gaidarski
  • The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law - Ellen Steinmetz
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law – Bradley Scoble
  • University of Kansas School of Law - Samuel Klaassen
  • University of Mississippi School of Law – Conner Whitten
  • University of Oregon School of Law – Jacob Landsberg
  • University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law – Jennifer Kim
  • University of San Diego School of Law - Preston Chaffee
  • University of Tennessee College of Law – Trevor Torres

The 2021 The Closer competition is generously sponsored by Bill and Kim Shaddock, Munsch Hardt and J. Michael Tibbals of Freeman Mills PC.

More information is available on Baylor Law’s website, here:

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
PHONE: 254-710-6681

Established in 1857, Baylor University School of Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law is one of the leading smaller law schools in the nation, known for its rigorous, results-oriented legal training. With more than 7,600 living alumni and a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service, the Law School boasts among its notable alumni two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2, while the Law School is ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best Schools for Practical Training,” and in the top 15 “Best Law School Facilities” in the country. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award’s inception in 1984. Learn more at

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at

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