Top Bankruptcy Attorneys Coach Moot Teams to Success in Duberstein Moot and CKP Cup

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(L to R: Daniel Halperin, James Czodli, Sarah Usman, Jillian Baronoff, Michael Lorigas, Eli Gordon)

Miami Law’s moot court team of Eli Gordon and Daniel Halperin, both joint JD/MBA students, and 2L Sarah Usman, won first place at the 2016 11th Circuit - Cristol, Kahn, Paskay Cup. The CKP Cup is named in honor of three federal bankruptcy judges who serve or have served in the 11th Circuit: A. Jay Cristol of the Southern District of Florida; A. David Kahn of the Northern District of Georgia; and Alexander L. Paskay of the Middle District of Florida

The CKP Cup serves as the regional warm-up for the Duberstein National Bankruptcy Competition. Law schools from the Eleventh Circuit (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) compete in the CKP before heading to New York City in early March for the national Duberstein bankruptcy competition.

“Winning CKP has been the highlight of my law school career,” said Gordon. “With the guidance of Professor [Patricia] Redmond and our other coaches, our team intensely practiced in front of local judges and practitioners for the six weeks leading up to CKP. The final round’s distinguished panel of seven judges, including Judge Cristol and Erik Brunstad, did not frazzle us because we had faith in our training. To know that all of our hard work has paid off has been an incredibly rewarding feeling.”

After the CKP win, that team along with a second Miami Law team headed to New York City to compete in the Duberstein Competition. The second team was comprised of moot court president 3Ls James Czodli and Michael Lorigas, and 2L Jillian Baranof.

Both teams fared extremely well. The CKP Cup Champions continued their success and placed in the top 8, while the second team also excelled and finished in the top 16. These top placements continue Miami Law’s success in the Bankruptcy moot in which they came in second place in 2015.

“The Duberstein Competition was an amazing experience,” said Halperin, executive vice-president-elect of the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board. “It was amazing to see how much Eli, Sarah, and I grew together as a team. Past teams and coaches set the bar extremely high, and we welcomed the challenge.”  

The Duberstein competition focuses each year on timely issues of bankruptcy law and is sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). It is consistently one of the largest and most prestigious tournaments in which the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board competes. This year, 52 law school teams competed. Nearly 200 lawyers and judges helped to judge the competition, which included eight rounds of arguments. In addition to New York area bankruptcy judges, the ABI brought in a dozen bankruptcy judges from around the nation.

The Miami Law teams were coached by Professor Patricia Redmond, director of Miami Law’s Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic, along with several other young Miami Law alumni, including Michael Rothenberg, Jeremy Evans, Quinshawna Landon, Freddi Mack, and Leah Aaronson.

“It has truly been an honor to compete in the Duberstein Competition this year,” said Sarah Usman, who plans to practice bankruptcy law. “The opportunity to be coached by successful bankruptcy attorneys and bankruptcy judges from South Florida has been the best experience of my law school career thus far.”