By Lois R. Lupica, Maine Law Foundation Professor of Law
On the first weekend of spring break, Maine Law students Emily Cramer ’18, Mary Esty ’18, Katie Bernhardt ’18, and Tyler Lauzon ’18 traveled to New York to participate in the 25th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition. The Duberstein Competition is widely recognized as one of the country’s preeminent and largest single site moot court competitions – and the only competition focusing on significant issues in bankruptcy practice. The students were masterfully coached by Bodie Colwell ’11 of Preti Flaherty. They spent December and January writing their briefs, and February honing their oral advocacy skills. During a four-night a week practice schedule, bankruptcy experts across southern Maine served as judges, working to perfect the substance of the students’ arguments, their strategy, and their oral argument style. The teams also had support from Maine’s bankruptcy bench, with Judges Peter Cary and Michael Fagone ’97 judging the final practice argument.
Opening rounds of the Competition were held at St. John’s School of Law in Queens, and the final rounds were held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse in Brooklyn. The competition wrapped up with a gala awards banquet in Manhattan, attracting a crowd of more than 1,000 bankruptcy lawyers and judges from New York and beyond. While the Maine Law Duberstein teams did not advance in the Competition, their performances were, by all accounts, outstanding.
Maine Law Duberstein team members regularly describe their participation in the Competition as one of the best experiences in law school. Duberstein provides students with the opportunity to do in depth research on a current bankruptcy practice issue; the chance to be intensely coached and mentored; the forum to interact with local members of the bankruptcy bench and bar; and to argue before a sophisticated national audience of bankruptcy lawyers and judges.
In addition to Bodie Colwell, Maine Law Duberstein coaches and supporters in the past have included Professor Lupica, Chapter 13 Trustee Peter Fessenden ’74 , Judge James B. Haines, Judge Michael Fagone, and Robert Keach ’80 of Bernstein Shur.