March 1, 2012
A team from Baylor Law School took home the prestigious Elliott Cup the last weekend in February. Morgan Harkins, Hunter Oliver and Matt Greenberg won the competition with Harkins also being named runner up for Best Speaker. A second Baylor Law team of James Willis, Stephanie Larsen and Allison Rasnick also performed well. The teams are coached by Bill Drabble.
The Elliott Cup is sponsored by the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Texas and is named in honor of the late Joseph C. Elliott, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Texas. The event includes law schools throughout the Texas/Fifth Circuit and is designed to serve as a formal practice competition for law school teams that will compete in the National Duberstein Moot Court Competition on March 9-12.
During the competition, the team argued a case dealing with a bankruptcy trustee's ability to avoid an unauthorized post-petition transfer. The transfer stemmed from a Broadway entertainment company's purchase of a cake that was a life-size reproduction of the set of the West Side Story musical. The cake was extremely popular and helped the debtor put on a profitable convention, but the purchase of the cake was still unauthorized under the bankruptcy code.
"The most challenging part of the competition was attempting to master the intricacies of a complex and confusing Bankruptcy Code," Harkins said. "Neither Hunter nor I had any background in Bankruptcy Law, so figuring out how all the code provisions fit together was a struggle. It was refreshing to see even Chief Bankruptcy Judges like to see complex topics broken down into plain English and distilled into every day policy considerations. Thanks to our other teammates' knowledge as well as our coach Bill Drabble's tough and intellectually-stimulating questions, we were more prepared than we thought."
The Elliott Cup's final round was held at the 5th Circuit En Banc Courtroom in New Orleans before a distinguished panel of judges, including the Honorable Ronald King, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Texas; the Honorable Barbara Houser, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Texas; Judge Brenda Rhoades, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Texas; and the Honorable Richard Schmidt, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge of the Southern District of Texas.
"The opportunity to argue the semifinal and final rounds at the 5th Circuit was both humbling and incredibly unique," Oliver said.
The Elliott Cup was the fourth advocacy competition won in 2012 by a Baylor Law team. Two Baylor Law teams have qualified for the National Trial Competition after winning the regional competition; a team from Baylor Law won the National Security Moot Court Competition at George Washington University's School of Law; and Baylor Law captured the Transactional Law Meet Midwest Regional. Baylor Law advocacy teams are underwritten through the generosity of the M.D. Anderson Foundation.
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