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Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Successfully Defends title at 24th Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Moot Court Competition

Alexandria, Va. Law students from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law successfully defended their title at the 24th Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, held March 5-7 in New York. The competition is co-sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law. The University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law took second place in the competition. Third-place honors were shared by teams from Mississippi College School of Law and the University of Texas School of Law. SMU Dedman also took top honors in the competition in 2013. The University of Idaho won for Best Brief. Hannah Roblyer, a student at the University of Texas School of Law, won the Best Oral Advocate award.


The competition consists of eight rounds of oral arguments, and the final rounds are held at the Duberstein Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. Many of the teams are coached by ABI practitioners or academic members, and nearly 200 lawyers and federal judges donated their time and expertise to help judge the event. The final round was judged by a panel of distinguished federal jurists that included Judge Edward C. Prado of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge N. Randy Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Chief Bankruptcy Judges Cecelia G. Morris (S.D.N.Y) and Carla E. Craig (E.D.N.Y.).


This year’s problem was particularly timely, because one of the issues is set for argument next week before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in an appeal arising from the General Motors bankruptcy case. The fact pattern for the competition was based on the General Motors case and raised the issue of whether a free-and-clear sale order could be enforced against product defect claimants who were not given notice of the proceedings. The second issue focused on the split between the Third and Seventh circuits over the extent of the bankruptcy court’s “related to” jurisdiction following confirmation of a chapter 11 plan of reorganization.


“This year’s problem, while timely, was an extremely difficult one for law students, many of whom have not taken a bankruptcy course. The student competitors rose to the challenge and made amazing presentations,” said Prof. G. Ray Warner, Associate Dean for Bankruptcy Studies at St. John’s, a former member of ABI’s Board of Directors and faculty advisor to the Moot Court competition.


The Duberstein Competition, named for the late Judge Conrad B. Duberstein, a St. John’s alumnus and former ABI director, has grown into the largest appellate moot court competition in the nation. ABI’s Endowment Fund awarded $12,000 in cash prizes for the winners during the final night gala dinner on March 7, which was attended by more than 800 members of the New York restructuring community.


For more information on the Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, please go to 


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 more than 12,000 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 For additional conference information, visit