by Brittany Hardy
Two teams from Baylor Law School will leave Friday morning, March 4, for the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition. James Willis and Kristen Blakely and Kyle Counce and Trey Duck make up the two teams, with Judge Larry Kelly, Bill Drabble and Kathy Serr at their coaches. The teams also had the assistance of two brief writers -- Josue Caballero for the Counce/Duck team and Dustin Lucas for Blakely/Willis.
The competition problem concerns a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case for a small portable toilet business, run by Martin Manville. He wants to force his reorganization plan onto his largest creditor, Jonathan Azoff, who also happens to be his former brother-in-law. Azoff financed Manville's purchase of a specialized portable-toilet warehouse. The problem involves two intricate provisions in the bankruptcy code, which could prevent the plan from being forced on the creditors.
During the months of December and January, the teams researched the problem and wrote briefs. The first step of the competition was to turn in a brief on Jan. 31, "the same day all four of us had our remedies final," Kyle Counce said. Immediately after turning in the brief, all four students had to take winter quarter finals.
Then, during the second week of February, they began practicing. They have been practicing at least three times per week as a team, as well as many hours individually, both writing and researching new arguments.
Both teams went to Austin on the February 18 and 19 to participate in the Texas Bankruptcy Bar's Elliot Cup, which uses the same problem as the Duberstein Competition. There, they were judged by local Bankruptcy practitioners, as well as Bankruptcy judges from the 5th Circuit.
"We've been working on the problem in some form since the beginning of the winter quarter. We all had to take Judge Kelly's bankruptcy course in order to get a grounding in bankruptcy law," Counce said. "Once the problem was released to us in December, we divided the two sides between the two teams, then decided which team member would tackle each issue."
The final step begins Friday, when the team will leave for a two- or three-day competition at St. John's University in New York.