1Ls Win Basketball Negotiation Competition

Consider them Rookies of the Year.

1Ls Jaron Petreas and Hixon Frank
1Ls Jaron Petreas and Hixon Frank

The Texas Law team of 1Ls Jaron Petreas and Hixon Frank took top honors at the 2024 Fordham National Basketball Negotiation Competition in New York City on March 8-9. In addition, Petreas won the individual title of “Best Advocate” at the event.

The competition featured 44 teams, but Petreas and Frank were the only 1Ls competing at the event; the other teams were comprised of 2Ls and 3Ls. 

Fordham University’s NBNC simulates National Basketball Association negotiations. Law students act as lawyers, managing a series of legal problems relating to real-life scenarios. The negotiation situation varies with each round and level of the competition. In the simulations, Petreas and Frank represented various entities—a shoe manufacturer in an endorsement deal, an NBA team in a trade agreement, the NBA in a broadcasting rights discussion, and a player in a contract negotiation.

“Being able to participate in competitions like this has been a great supplement to my in-classroom learning,” says Petreas, whose Best Advocate honor was determined by a vote of the judges. “It has particularly helped to develop my skills in public speaking, working in a team, and cooperating with an adverse party to find a mutually beneficial solution.”

Frank also appreciated the opportunity. “At Fordham, we had the chance to negotiate, make deals, and find creative solutions to contract disputes,” he notes. “I know that I will be using these skills throughout my legal career, and it was an incredible opportunity to start training these skills now as a 1L.”

A second Texas Law team—2Ls Blake Birdwell and Glenn Thomas—also competed at Fordham. Both teams were coached by Sam Spiers ’17 and Kabir Phaguda ’17, associates at White & Case in Houston.

For Spiers, who was active in the transactional skills program Texas Law student, the NBNC was an opportunity to give back to his alma mater.

“Jaron, Hixon, Glenn, and Blake put in a tremendous amount of time and effort, and I’m glad to see that it paid off,” says Spiers. “This exemplifies Texas Law’s continued growth in transactional law, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the administration.”

The transactional skills program has been providing opportunities for students to participate in competitions with the support of practitioner-coaches for the past decade. Transactional law is one of several specialty areas in which Texas Law students can compete as part of the school’s advocacy program, where students hone their trial and appellate skills.

Recent Wins

This was the second transactional competition of the year for Texas Law students. In January, 3Ls Yusra Salama and Erin Johnson advanced to the semifinals of the ABA Mergers & Acquisitions competition in Laguna Beach, California. Johnson has experience with California tournaments: she was part of the winning team at the 2023 UCLA Transactional Law Competition.

In the final transactional competition of the spring season—the Duke University Interscholastic Transactional Law Competition on March 23—the Texas Law team of 3Ls Taryn Willett and Garic Barrosse and 1L Allison Silverman placed third on the “Sell Side” (licensors).


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