Pircher Conducts Joint Venture Challenge Competition between UCLA and USC


Pircher, Nichols & Meeks LLP (Pircher) recently completed its inaugural Real Estate Joint Venture (JV) Challenge competition between the law and business students of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC). The event was hosted on UCLA’s campus on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020.

Pircher would like to congratulate the winning university, UCLA, which earned a grand total of 235 points among its competing teams. USC finished close behind with 225 points. Pircher would also like to recognize the winning teams of the day: First place from UCLA, David Gallop (J.D. Candidate), Dana Ontiveros (J.D. Candidate) and Asad Rafi (MBA candidate); second place from USC, Robert Brownlie (J.D. Candidate), Brian Carey (MRED candidate), Tucker Elliott (MBA candidate) and Peter Haddad  (J.D. Candidate); and third place from UCLA, Mary Ramzy (J.D. Candidate), Timothy Roofian (J.D. Candidate), Riley Simas (MBA candidate) and Tanner Wilson (MBA candidate).

The annual JV Challenge event is an integral component of Pircher’s commitment to continuing education and mentoring, both within the firm and beyond. Since 2013, Pircher has facilitated an annual JV Challenge at UCLA, and this year marked the third year the firm has conducted the program for USC students as well. The JV Challenge provides students from the law and business schools at each participating university the opportunity to work alongside each other in a competitive environment to solve real estate joint venture issues that may be encountered after graduation. Students worked in small teams to negotiate particular issues based on hypothetical facts and letter of intent provisions, with the USC students playing the role of the operating partner and the UCLA students playing the role of the capital partner in the potential JV.

This year, coaching was provided to the teams from both schools beforehand by six Pircher attorneys: Alexis Alonzo, Danny Guggenheim, Rich MacCracken, Michael Ray, Ariel Robinson and Mike Soejoto. Pircher partner Steve Carey moderated the competition. The events concluded with a reception, where winners were announced, and cash prizes were awarded to the first and second place teams. In addition, a plaque was awarded to UCLA as the winning university that the school will keep until next year’s competition, scheduled to be hosted at USC.

Pircher would like to extend a special thank you to the panel of distinguished industry professionals who judged each team’s performance: Jennifer McElyea, senior managing partner, Watt Investment Partners; Phil Nichols, founding member and senior counsel, Pircher, Nichols & Meeks LLP; Tyler Rothenberg, managing director, Cerberus California, LLC and Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management, LLC; and Patricia Sinclair, senior advisor, special projects, Lincoln Property Company.

The Pircher team is grateful to the event’s sponsors for their support of the program, Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, Ziman Center for Real Estate, USC Gould School of Law and USC Marshall School of Business.

Pircher’s JV Challenge provides the rare opportunity for law and business students to be exposed to the niche of complex real estate joint ventures prior to graduation and allows them to obtain practical negotiating experience and network with and learn from industry professionals through interaction with coaches and immediate feedback from judges. While most business schools nationwide are already implementing experience-oriented programs such as the JV Challenge, law students often lack the same opportunities to garner real world transactional skills. Many law schools across the country are beginning to offer this kind of experience to students, and Pircher is proud to have been a part of that movement for the last few years on the West Coast.

In a few weeks, Pircher will be conducting its sixth annual JV Challenge at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) on March 20, 2020.