MARCH 2020 VOL. 7, NO. 3
From the ABI Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund

Back-to-Back Wins for SMU Dedman School of Law at Duberstein Moot Court Competition

The Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, named for the late Judge Conrad B. Duberstein, a St. John’s alumnus and former ABI director, has grown into the largest appellate moot court competition in the nation. This year's competition — the 28th Annual — was held Feb. 29-March 2 in New York and was co-sponsored by ABI and St. John’s University School of Law. ABI’s Endowment Fund awarded $13,000 in cash prizes for the winners during the final night gala reception at Gotham Hall in New York City on March 2, which was attended by more than 500 members of the New York restructuring community. 

First Place - Team from SMU

A team from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law took first-place honors at the Duberstein Moot Court Competition.

The Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law won this year's competition. The SMU team also won the Duberstein Moot Court Competition last year. Baylor University Law School took second place in the competition, and third-place honors were shared by teams from the University of Notre Dame Law School and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Baylor University Law School won for the Best Brief, and Destiney Thompson from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law won the Best Oralist award.

more winners

Left: Destiney Thompson from Campbell University Wiggins School of Law won the Best Oralist award. Right: A team from Baylor University Law School won for Best Brief.

The competition consists of eight rounds of oral arguments, and the final rounds are held at the Duberstein Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. Many of the teams are coached by ABI practitioners or academic members, and nearly 200 lawyers and federal judges donated their time and expertise to help judge the event. The fact pattern for the competition focused on two key developments stemming from chapter 11 case law.

The first issue looked at whether 11 U.S.C. § 365(c)(1) permits a debtor in possession to assume an executory contract over the objection of the nondebtor party to such contract when applicable nonbankruptcy law excuses the nondebtor party from accepting performance from or rendering performance to an entity other than the debtor or the debtor in possession. The second issue focused on whether, in a case where a class of claims is proposed to be impaired under a joint multi-debtor plan, 11 U.S.C. § 1129(a)(10) requires acceptance from at least one impaired class of claims of each debtor or, alternatively, acceptance from one impaired class of claims of any one debtor.

Competion Reception

Bankruptcy professionals packed Gotham Hall for a reception celebrating the competition winners.

Final-round judges for the 2020 competition included Chief Bankruptcy Judge Carla E. Craig (E.D.N.Y., Brooklyn), Chief Bankruptcy Judge Cecilia G. Morris (S.D.N.Y., Poughkeepsie), Judge Michael J. Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette). Bankruptcy Judge John T. Gregg (W.D. Mich.; Grand Rapids) and Paul R. Hage of Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss (Southfield, Mich.) drafted this year’s fact pattern.

What the Endowment Funds: Veterans’ Task Force Moving Forward on Important Initiatives

ABI’s Task Force on Veterans’ and Servicemembers’ Affairs, which provided critical support and information for the passage of the Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019 (HAVEN Act), continues to focus on important initiatives related to our military veterans and servicemembers. The Task Force, which is co-chaired by John W. Ames (Dentons Bingham Greenebaum; Louisville, Ky.), John D. Penn (Perkins Coie LLP; Dallas) and Prof. Jack F. Williams (Baker Tilly/Georgia State University; Atlanta), is designing a pro bono clearinghouse directory of organizations and volunteers who help veterans and servicemembers with pro bono legal issues.

The directory will be shared with other organizations and housed on the Task Force’s website. The Task Force is also developing materials to assist servicemembers and veterans’ organizations in educating current and past members of the military about the dangers of debt/credit. For more information about the Task Force’s activities, visit

Veterans Affairs Task Force

Levels of Support

Millennium Level
Contributions of $50,000 and above

30th Anniversary Circle
Contributions of $30,000 – $49,999

Century Council Member 
Contributions of $25,000 – $29,999

Contributions of $20,000 – $24,999

Contributions of $15,000 – $19,999

Lifetime Member
Contributions of $10,000 – $14,999

Contributions of $5,000 – $9,999

Sustaining Member
Contributions of $2,000 – $4,999

Leadership Club
Contributions of $1,000 – $1,999

Contributions of $100 – $999

Pledges at the Leadership Club
level and up are payable over
up to five years.

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Endowment Fund Development Committee

Vice President—Development:
Robert P. Reynolds
Reynolds, Reynolds & Little, LLC

Committee Members:
Steven M. Berman
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Eric J. Fromme
Theodora Oringher, PC

Richard S. Lauter
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

Jerry M. Markowitz
Markowitz, Ringel, Trusty + Hartog, P.A.

Bradley D. Sharp
Development Specialists, Inc.

Christopher A. Ward

Donald A. Workman

Endowment Fund

Regional Endowment Chairs


Chair: Christopher A. Ward – Polsinelli
Sam J. Alberts – Dentons
Ryan G. Foley – Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
Charles Forman – Forman Holt
Neil B. Glassman – Bayard, P.A.
Thomas M. Horan – Fox Rothschild LLP
Warren Martin – Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, PC
Richard M. Meth
James E. Van Horn – Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Donald A. Workman – BakerHostetler

Chair: Richard S. Lauter – Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Daniel A. DeMarco – Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP
James A. Lodoen – Lindquist & Vennum LLP
Claire Ann Richman – Steinhilber Swanson
Sheryl L. Toby – Dykema Gossett PLLC

New England
Chair: Jeffrey T. Varsalone – G2 Capital Advisors, LLC

New York Metro
Co-Chair: Lisa G. Beckerman – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Co-Chair: Allen D. Wilen – EisnerAmper LLP

Rocky Mountain
Co-Chair: Annette W. Jarvis – Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Lynne Long – All Business Development Solutions, LLC

Chair: Kristina M. Johnson – Jones Walker LLP
Rudy J. Cerone – McGlinchey Stafford, PLLC
Craig M. Geno – Craig M. Geno, PLLC
James R. Irving – Dentons Bingham Greenebaum
Derek F. Meek – Burr & Forman LLP
James E. Smith – Williams Anderson PLC
Emily Campbell Taube – Burr & Forman LLP


Chair: Jerry Markowitz – Markowitz, Ringel, Trusty + Hartog, P.A.
Terri L. Gardner – Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP
Neil C. Gordon – Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
Jennifer McLemore – Williams Mullen
Jennifer M. Meyerowitz – Summit Investment Management LLC
Edward J. Peterson, III – Stichter, Riedel, Blain & Postler, PA
Lynn Lewis Tavenner – Tavenner & Beran, PLC
Glenn Thompson – Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin, PLLC

Texas & Southwest
Co-Chair: Jason S. Brookner – Gray Reed & McGraw, PC
Co-Chair: Scott Van Meter – GlassRatner LLC
Jordan A. Kroop – Perkins Coie LLP
John Penn – Perkins Coie LLP
Thomas J. Salerno – Stinson LLP

Chair: Bradley D. Sharp – Development Specialists, Inc.
Matthew Gates – Duff & Phelps, LLC
Scott Gautier – Robins Kaplan
Mitch Ryan – Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc.

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