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Mississippi College School of Law Captures National Moot Court Title

Contact: John Hartgen
             703-739-0800
             jhartgen@abiworld.org


MISSISSIPPI
 COLLEGE SCHOOL
OF LAW CAPTURES NATIONAL MOOT COURT TITLE

March 12, 2008, Alexandria, Va. — The Mississippi College School of Law overcame a tough challenge from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Lawto win the 16th Annual Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Memorial Moot Court Competition. Forty-four teams from law schools around the country competed in New York from March 8-10 at the nation’s only moot court competition devoted entirely to bankruptcy.   Mississippi’s win this year follows its strong second-place finish in last year’s competition, in which Brooklyn Law School placed first.

The competition is sponsored by St. John’s University School of Law and the American Bankruptcy Institute and is named for distinguished St. John’s alumnus and former ABI Director Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 90. Many of the teams were sponsored or coached by bankruptcy bar associations or local law firms.

The ABI Endowment Fund provided the first-place team with $5,000 and the second-place team with a $3,000 prize.  The University of Houston Law Center and a second team from the Mississippi College School of Law each received $1,500 for their third-place tie.  The Emory University School of Law won $1,000 for the Best Brief.  Megan C. Connor, a student at the University of Miami School of Law, won the $1,000 Best Oral Advocate award.

“This is a wonderful educational event that exposes young law students to the complexity and excitement of bankruptcy law and pushes them to a level of excellence they did not realize they could achieve,” said Prof. G. Ray Warner, director of the LL.M. in Bankruptcy Program at St. John’s and a faculty advisor to the competition.  “In addition, the competition helps advance the development of bankruptcy law by giving the judges an outstanding presentation of issues that they will soon see in their own courts.”

Nearly 200lawyers and judges helped judge the event, which included eightrounds of arguments.  In addition to New York-area bankruptcy judges, ABI brought in a dozen Bankruptcy Judges from around the nation to preside over the advanced rounds.

The final round was held at the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Courthouse in the Duberstein Courtroom..  The final round was judged by a panel of distinguished federal jurists that included: Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Hon. Marjorie O. Rendell, Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; Hon. Stuart M. Bernstein, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D.N.Y.; and Hon. Carla E. Craig, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D.N.Y.

Each year, the competition problem focuses on two sophisticated cutting-edge issues of bankruptcy law.  Past competitions have addressed such topics as environmental clean-up costs, channeling injunctions in mass tort cases, state sovereign immunity, the constitutionality of the bankruptcy courts, religious-entity bankruptcies and the constitutionality of speech restrictions imposed on consumer bankruptcy attorneys. 

This year’s problem again raised two timely unresolved issues of bankruptcy law: (1) whether class-skipping gifts are permissible in chapter 11 plans, and (2) whether a provision of an intercreditor agreement authorizing a senior creditor to vote the claim of a junior creditor is enforceable.  The fact pattern and information about previous competitions can be accessed at http://www.abiworld.org/moot/index.html or www.stjohns.edu/law/bankrutpcy.

The event culminated with the gala awards banquet at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers. More than 800 attended the event, including many of New York’s leading bankruptcy judges and practitioners.

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ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 11,700 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.