University of Texas Takes Top Honors at Duberstein Competition

University of Texas Takes Top Honors at Duberstein Competition

Contact: John Hartgen
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March 17, 2010 Alexandria, Va. — Students from the University of Texas-Austin earned top honors at the 18th Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law. Two teams of students from UT won both first and second place, and UT students also won the best written brief competition. A team from the University of Miami took third place overall, while a team from Texas Tech Law School finished in fourth place. Other top briefs were submitted by students from the University of Alabama, the University of Miami and the University of Houston. The top oralist award went to a student at Southern Methodist University. The ABI Endowment Fund provides cash awards to the winning participants, while St. John’s provides plaques.

The Duberstein Competition, named for the late Judge Conrad B. Duberstein – a St. Johns alumnus and former ABI Director -- has grown into the largest appellate moot court in the nation, with nearly 50 teams from 35 participating law schools. The final rounds are held at the recently-renamed Duberstein Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. Many of the teams are coached by ABI practitioners or academic members. More than 100 practitioners donated many hours serving as early round judges or graders of written briefs. This year’s case problem was pulled from today’s headlines involving Ponzi scheme bankruptcies, and raised two questions: whether a sophisticated investor who becomes suspicious and withdraws funds is denied the protection provided to good-faith transferees, and whether a bankruptcy trustee can waive an individual debtor’s attorney/client privilege. The competition is directed by Prof. G. Ray Warner, Associate Dean for Bankruptcy Studies at St. John’s and a member of the ABI Board of Directors.

The final round bench consisted of federal appeals court judges R. Guy Cole (6th Circuit), Steven Colloton (8th Circuit), Gerald Tjoflat (11th Circuit) and Wallace Tashima (9th Cir), along with bankruptcy judges Carla Craig (Chief Judge, E.D.N.Y.) and Stuart Bernstein (S.D.N.Y.). More than two dozen bankruptcy judges from around the country served on the quarter-final and semi-final rounds as judges.

More than 1,000 insolvency professionals attended the awards gala, held at Pier 60 in Manhattan. The dinner has become the New York insolvency event of the year. Judge Burton R. Lifland (S.D.N.Y.) was honored for his 30 years of service on the bench as jurist, scholar and innovator.


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 12,400 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