Press Release
March 15, 2023

Holland & Knight Conducts 2023 Joint Venture Challenge Competition

CENTURY CITY (March 15, 2023) – Holland & Knight recently completed its Real Estate Joint Venture Challenge (JV Challenge). The event brought together graduate-level law, business and real estate development students from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Friday, March 10 from noon to 5 p.m. at UCLA Law School. The Holland & Knight team is grateful to UCLA for hosting the event and thanks the event's sponsors for their support of the program, the Lowell Milken Institute for Business and Policy, the Ziman Center for Real Estate and the Berkeley Center for Law and Business.

The JV Challenge is an annual event that was organized and conducted previously by Pircher, Nichols & Meeks LLP commencing in 2013. Last year, the lawyers of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks joined Holland & Knight and established the firm's Century City office, and this year the event was conducted for the first time by Holland & Knight.

The JV Challenge provides students from various graduate schools at each participating university with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a competitive environment to solve real estate joint venture issues similar to those they may face after graduation. Prior to the competition, students received a hypothetical set of facts, an issues list, associated letter of intent provisions and background reading materials. During the competition, the students worked in four-person teams, each of which negotiated two separate, complex issues based on the information that had been provided to them. Five teams from UCLA and one team from UC Berkeley participated. Half of the teams represented the investor (the financial partner), and half of the teams represented the sponsor (the operating partner).

In the closest JV Challenge to date (all the scores were extremely close):

  • First place went to the UCLA investor team comprised of Patrick Begian (UCLA School of Law, 2025), Kyle Brauer (UCLA Anderson School of Management, 2023), Shanee Cohen (UCLA School of Law, 2024) and Rohan Gandhi (UCLA School of Law, 2025).
  • Second place went to the UCLA investor team comprised of Jeremy Bowinkel (UCLA Anderson School of Management, 2024), Connor Green (UCLA School of Law, 2024), Sophia Serata (UCLA School of Law, 2025) and Ariel Yomtobian (UCLA School of Law, 2025). 
  • Third place went to the UCLA sponsor team comprised of James Johansen (UCLA School of Law, MLS), Alanna McNaughton (UCLA School of Law, 2025), Marcus Mello (UCLA School of Law, 2025) and William Wu (UCLA School of Law, 2024).

This year, coaching was provided to all of the teams beforehand by Holland & Knight attorneys Alexis Alonzo, Susan Booth, Bill Jackson, Richard MacCracken, Ariel Robinson, Michael Scheinberg and Jennifer White. Steve Carey of Holland & Knight moderated the competition.

A panel of the following distinguished industry professionals judged each team's performance: Dan Hirsch, former co-head of the U.S. Real Estate Team of Farallon Capital Management; Val Kwong, Equity Investments, Corebridge Real Estate Investors (formerly AIG Global Real Estate Investment); Phil Nichols, retired founder of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks LLP; and Patti Sinclair, Senior Advisor, Special Projects at Lincoln Property Company.

The JV Challenge allows students to learn about complex issues to be considered in each joint venture transaction, obtain practical negotiating experience, and network with and learn from industry professionals through interaction with coaches and immediate feedback from judges.

JV Challenge First Place Winners
First Place Team

JV Challenge Second Place Team
Second Place Team

JV Challenge Third Place Team
Third Place Team

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