Pam McAfee Leads Team of Law Students in 29th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition
Ellis & Winters attorney Pam McAfee and Margaret Westbrook of K&L Gates coached two teams of Campbell Law School students as they competed virtually in The American College of Bankruptcy’s ACB Fourth Circuit Moot Court Competition on February 15. Campbell Law School third year students Savannah Singletary and Ben Aydlett and second year students Diane Ford and Breann Burns competed in the regional competition, presenting oral arguments on complex bankruptcy issues before bankruptcy judges and lawyers from within the Fourth Circuit. Savannah and Ben brought the trophy home to Campbell, making this the fourth year Campbell has advanced to the final round and the third year the team took first place.
The students also competed virtually in the 29th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition on February 27-28 The Duberstein team was comprised of Savannah, Ben, and Diane. The participants made a mock argument to the United States Supreme Court, with Savannah and Ben presenting oral arguments and all three team members writing a brief on the legal issues presented by the competition problem. The team prepared for the competition with multiple practice rounds before local bankruptcy judges and attorneys.
Jointly sponsored by St. John’s University School of Law and the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious moot court competitions. The Duberstein Competition has a reputation for hosting high quality judges. The preliminary rounds and briefs are judged by bankruptcy practitioners and advanced rounds are judged by leading appellate and bankruptcy judges from around the country. In some cases, moot court competition participants have gone on to clerk for participating judges.
Thirty-five teams competed and eight teams advanced beyond the preliminary rounds. Year after year, the scoring margins come down to hundredths of points. As scores are still pending, Pam anticipates a similarly narrow margin this year.
Since 2014, Pam has coached 23 students competing in either the Duberstein Competition or the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition. Additionally, Pam has been an adjunct bankruptcy law professor at Campbell Law School since 2014 and has worked closely with several students in a mentorship capacity.
Pam places emphasis on the importance of law students and young lawyers building relationships with mentors outside of their school or organization. She is glad to develop these relationships and maintain a level of trust with her mentees.