Georgia State Law Students Win National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition

Posted On March 7, 2014

Portrait of Moot Court team

Georgia State University College of Law’s Bankruptcy Moot Court team took first place at the national Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in New York on March 3.

The win capped three days of competition involving 64 teams and eight rounds.Georgia State team members Fareed Kaisani (J.D. /M.B.A. ’14), Clay Roberts (J.D. ’14) and Paul Shuman (J.D. ’14) beat Mississippi College School of Law in the final around.

“It has been a colossal amount of work,” Shuman said. “Since Christmas, I have basically done nothing but research and write, then practice oral arguments. Winning was compensation for all that work.”

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Moot court competitions involve drafting briefs and participating in oral arguments before a panel of judges, usually prominent attorneys. Teams focus on the application of the law to a set of evidentiary assumptions.

The Georgia State team beat the University of Miami School of Law and 10 other law schools from the 11th Circuit in the 2014 Cristol, Kahn, Paskay Cup tournament on Feb. 22, which advanced it to national competition. In Miami, Georgia State Law competed against Emory University School of Law, the University of Alabama School of Law, Florida State University School of Law and Stetson University College of Law.

Trey Tharpe (J.D. ’14) and Associate Professor of Law Jessica Gabel coached the team, which spent months preparing the brief and practicing oral arguments in front of other moot court team members, the local bankruptcy bar and judges.

“Leading up to Miami, the guys were putting in hundreds of hours of research and preparation, but I knew it wouldn’t mean much if they couldn’t stand up to being grilled by sitting judges,” Tharpe said. “My main focus was to make sure they could by getting tough questions and forcing the team to answer them.”

Kaisani said preparing for the competitions has advanced his legal skills.

“I have expanded my knowledge of complex bankruptcy issues and refined my research, writing and advocacy skills,” Kaisani said. “Being a member of the team has been a great experience because of our camaraderie.”

Shuman, Kaisani and Roberts joined the team as second-year students and participate in the Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program to help low-income Atlantans. They have worked with local bankruptcy judges and the U.S. trustee.

“Having such a broad understanding of bankruptcy was an indispensable asset for the team,” Roberts says.

Other recent Moot Court team accomplishments include:

  • The First Amendment Moot Court team was named a quarterfinalist in the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition on Feb. 20-21. Team members are Ben Stubbs (J.D. ’14), Susan Haynes (J.D. ’14) and coach Chris Collier (J.D. ’14).
  • The Trademark Moot Court team placed third Feb. 8 in the International Trademark Association’s Saul Lefkowitz Southeast Regional Competition, which addresses issues in U.S. trademark and unfair competition law. Team members include Eric Connelly (J.D. ’14), Matthew Goings (J.D. ’15), Phil Parham (J.D. ’15), Patricia Uceda (J.D. ’15) and coach Jennifer D. Grant (J.D. ’14).
  • The Health Law Moot Court team placed second in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition on Nov. 1-2. Team members include Kara Gordon (J.D. ’14), Janelle Alleyne (J.D. ’15), Nirvi Shah (J.D. ’15) and coach Gregory Fosheim (J.D. ’14).