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Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Takes Top Honors at 23rd Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition

Alexandria, Va. — Students from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law prevailed over nearly 60 other student teams to win first place at the 23rd Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, held March 7-9 in New York. The competition is co-sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law. The University of Miami School of Law took second place in the competition. Third place honors were shared by teams from the University of Texas School of Law and a second team from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. SMU Dedman also won the event in 2013. The Best Brief award this year went to a team from the University of San Diego School of Law. Jennifer Leah Aaronson of the University of Miami School of Law took the honor of Best Advocate.

 

This year’s problem raised questions on the important issue of student loan debt in bankruptcy: (1) whether the undue hardship requirement of the 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8) educational loan discharge provision requires a showing that repayment of the loan would impose an unreasonable burden on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents based on the totality of the circumstances; and (2) whether undue hardship can be found where the debtor fails to enroll in a Department of Education’s Income Contingent Repayment Plan that would require no monthly payments and cancel the debt after 25 years.

 

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 9, which was attended by more than 800 members of the New York restructuring community.

 

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 competition is directed by Prof. G. Ray Warner, Associate Dean for Bankruptcy Studies at St. John’s and a former member of ABI’s Board of Directors.

 

For more information on ABI's Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, please go to http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/academics/llm/duberstein.

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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 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 www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.