KU Team to Participate in National Bankruptcy Moot Competition

LAWRENCE – Two students from the University of Kansas Law School will participate in the 30th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Competition in New York later this month.

Sophomore law students Katelyn Girod and Helen Phillips wowed the judges at the regional rounds of the American College of Bankruptcy and American Bankruptcy Institute 2022 – Seventh Circuit Moot Court Event. Teams practice for national rounds at the regional competition. They also have the opportunity to get feedback on their performance from leading bankruptcy practitioners and several bankruptcy judges. The KU duo received praise, advancing to the final rounds at the regional competition.

Girod and Phillips received the issue for the moot court competition in December 2021 and set to work with advice from Stephen Warelaw professor and trial coach.

Helen Phillips, law student at the University of Kansas“Once we submitted our brief, Professor Ware sat down with us and had us articulate the strongest case for the petitioner. It was not what I expected at that first debriefing meeting; I thought we were going to discuss the arguments we made in the brief and get his feedback,” Phillips said. “But it helped me identify weak points in my research and gave us an opportunity to reason through different political arguments.

Ware has been coaching bankruptcy moot court teams at KU Law for nearly 20 years. KU Law Advocacy Program East ranked 13th in the country and has ranked in the top 30 nationally for the past six years.

Ware thanked the entire Moot Court Council for helping this team prepare for the competition and lined up practices with Kansas City attorneys to continue challenging the duo.

“Kat and Helen excel because they combine natural talent with good old-fashioned hard work. They are both working hard in the bankruptcy class this semester, as well as learning the mock court problem for writing their dissertation and practicing oral argument,” Ware said. “They showed the full range of their advocacy skills by qualifying for the regional competition finals.”

Girod said she and Phillips shared a mutual respect after hours of preparation for the competition.

“Helen set a positive and encouraging tone for our team early on,” Girod said. “I was really lucky with a great teammate.”

At the national competition, Phillips and Girod will contest in alternating preliminary rounds, with bankruptcy attorneys judging the rounds.

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