News

Moot Court teams pleased with performance at national competition

March 14, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – Four Maine Law students traveled to New York in early March, testing their skills against other top students at the only national moot court competition devoted to bankruptcy law.

The annual Hon. Conrad B. Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition was held in New York City March 10-12, with opening rounds at St. John’s School of Law in Queens, and final rounds 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.

A total of 56 teams, representing about 40 law schools, participated. Maine Law sent two teams to the competition: Bill Olver and Laura Rideout; and Eric Bither and Tudor Goldsmith. All are third-year students. Neither of the Maine Law teams advanced to the final round of 16, but they were highly competitive and even scored well against one of the competition’s perennial favorites, Stetson University.

“The competition is very much like a golf tournament. You can shoot a 66, which is a heck of a score, but if someone shoots a 64, they win,” said Peter Fessenden (’74), who has has coached the Maine Law Duberstein Competition teams for the past seven years. Fessenden is the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the District of Maine. “We were tickled pink. It was unfortunate that we didn’t advance, but we were very happy with our performance,” he said.

This is the 8th consecutive year that Maine has sent teams to the event. The tradition began under the direction of Lois Lupica, a Maine Law professor and an expert on bankruptcy law.

“Students consistently have told me that this is the best experience they have had in law school,” said Lupica, who serves as faculty advisor for the teams. “They are thrown into a world of real-world brief writing. It forces them to grapple with the most complex issues of bankruptcy.” The students held a final practice session on March 7 at the Law Court courtroom in Portland. Guest judges were Leigh Saufley (’80), chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court; U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen; and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Haines.

Maine Law teams are financially supported by the local bankruptcy bar. Robert Keach (’80) of Bernstein Shur has spearheaded the fundraising.

“For the local bar to have stepped up in the ways that they have, it says a lot about the community here and the character of the lawyers,” Lupica said.

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law

Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: tmaxwell@usm.maine.edu