Oregon Law Boot Camp provides immersive mergers and acquisitions experience for students

Making the most of the pandemic? Like many others across the country, Oregon Law students experienced the impact of COVID-19 on summer employment opportunities. Built from a model first offered nationally in the summer of 2020, the Business Law Program and Center for Career Planning and Professional Development embarked on a joint initiative to develop and launch the Oregon Law-specific Summer 2021 M&A Boot Camp. The online, practice-focused transactional program provided skills and knowledge to students who had little to no prior experience with M&A concepts, transactional drafting, and deal negotiation. Oregon Law will again offer the M&A Boot Camp in the summer of 2022.

The Experience

Teamwork, networking, and strategy-building were integral parts of the Boot Camp experience. Students worked in teams of two to draft, mark up, and negotiate a letter of intent in anticipation of a simulated acquisition. They interacted with simulation clients, experienced practitioners, and opposing teams via video conference, email, and phone. A significant component of the experience focused on students learning from practitioners and receiving feedback on their work product, negotiation strategies, and client advocacy skills. The 15 volunteer coaches and judges who participated in this experience provided substantive feedback to the students and helped students connect the skills they were developing to those they would use in transactional practice.

Oregon Law student Nick Bursell (2L) participated in the Boot Camp. “As a student with interest in transactional business law, participating in the M&A Boot Camp provided a great introductory experience," Bursell said.

“Working alongside a partner and attorney mentor, we negotiated a letter of intent and engaged in research, drafting, and strategic planning,” Bursell said. "The Boot Camp helped me build practical skills, network, and practice in a simulated environment.”

In addition, the Boot Camp offered a series of webinars and practitioner roundtables on M&A concepts. Associate Professor Elizabeth Tippett taught a session on negotiation strategies, and Pro Tem Instructor LizAnn Eisen discussed valuation strategies. Clinical Assistant Professor Kristie Gibson led webinars on trademarks, IP licensing, and deal skills.

Concurrent JD/MBA student Alexander Dimmer (3L) participated in the Boot Camp. “My goal of combining a JD and an MBA was to prepare me to be a business law attorney. As I have taken courses in both programs, my focus is on corporate law, including M&A,” Dimmer said. “The Boot Camp provided an excellent opportunity to learn about M&A, underlying concepts of a deal, and some sticking points between parties. Working through a client’s hypothetical situation, I got to see the day-to-day role of an M&A attorney and safely try my hand at M&A-lawyering.”

Dimmer plans to apply the skills he acquired to the work he will do this summer as a summer associate in a corporate law practice group that focuses on M&A. “With my experience and development in the Boot Camp, I have more confidence in my ability to be an asset in making deals happen.”

Twenty Oregon Law students participated in the intensive 10-week Boot Camp. Student participants were asked to devote 12-15 hours per week, and each student received a $2,000 stipend.