Contributed by Kelly E. McDonald
Over 1,000 bankruptcy lawyers and other professionals were in attendance on March 7 at the gala awards dinner held in conjunction with the 19th Annual Duberstein (Memorial) Moot Court Competition in New York City.
Attendees packed the cocktail reception and dinner, held at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, to celebrate the legacy of the Honorable Conrad B. Duberstein, long-time bankruptcy jurist in the Eastern District of New York, and the competitors in his eponymous moot court competition, held March 5-7, 2011. The annual cocktail reception and dinner have become a major networking and social event for New York City-area restructuring professionals, having grown from a few hundred attendees at its inception to over 1,000 in recent years. The event packed Pier 60 wall-to-wall with attendees from the restructuring community.
The Annual Duberstein Moot Court Competition is hosted by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University Law School in Queens, New York, which is also home to a respected LL.M. in Bankruptcy program and the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. This year, almost 50 teams from schools across the country competed. Taking top honors were teams from University of Houston Law Center, which won first place, Baylor University School of Law, which won second place, and University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and University of Illinois College of Law, which tied for third place. Best Brief honors went to University of San Diego School of Law and the Best Advocate award went to Nicole Hay, a student at Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law (who also won Best Advocate in 2010). For the second year, Texas teams dominated the competition, after last year’s competition was nearly swept by teams from the University of Texas School of Law, which won first place, second place and Best Brief.
The competition was judged by local attorneys and bankruptcy judges, and the final round was judged by the Hon. Michael J. Melloy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; the Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; the Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the Hon. Carla E. Craig, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York; and the Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
This year’s Duberstein Moot Court Competition concerned two topical bankruptcy law issues: (1) whether the absolute priority rule applies in an individual chapter 11 case to prevent confirmation of a plan of reorganization over the objection of a dissenting class of impaired unsecured creditors where the individual is retaining prepetition property without paying the unsecured claims in full and (2) whether a chapter 11 plan can be confirmed over the objection of a secured creditor where the plan provides for the sale of the secured creditor’s collateral but denies the secured creditor the right to credit bid its claim in the sale.
More information regarding the Annual Duberstein Moot Court Competition may be found at http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/academics/llm/duberstein.