UCLA challenge winners Daniel Nagal and Steve Serena with Kevork Zoryan of Morgan Stanley and Stevens Carey of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks.

LOS ANGELES—Law firm Pircher, Nichols & Meeks has completed its second annual joint venture challenge with UCLA’s Milken Institute for students at UCLA and University of California, Berkley. The challenge is intended to give the students a real-life experience in transactional law before entering the workforce.

For the challenge, the law firm drafted two faux transactions for teams, which has a minimum of one law student and one MBA candidate, about the joint venture interests of a fictional company, Leverage Brothers. The first venture opportunity was with successful hotel while the second was a venture that owned thousands of undeveloped residential lots in Phoenix, AZ.  

Students on each team answered a series of questions based on the opportunities, which also included a realistic set of provisions. Daniel Nagal, a student in UCLA’s Anderson School of Business, and Steve Serna, a student in UCLA’s School of Law, were the UCLA winners. The UCLA Milken Institute awarded them with a $3,000 cash prize, which was presented by Kevork Zoryan of Morgan Stanley and Stevens Carey of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks. For the University of California, Berkley challenge, Arek Malinowski, Ben Bradbury, Mary Loum and Kim McGinnis were named the winners. Leo Pircher, an alumnus at the Boalt Law School, awarded the team with a similar, unnamed prize.

Such educational challenges are important for students to learn and grow. UCLA also partners with USC once a year for the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge, which draws the top students from both schools and more than 300 professionals. This year, the challenge was for teams to create proposals for an 11-acre development sit on Pacific Coast Highway. USC was the victor.