Record number of teams set for Annual Gabrielli Moot Court Competition

By Lauren Mineau
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Albany Law School will virtually host 30 teams from across the country for the 33rd Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition on February 26 and 27.

Jenni Barra ’21 is this year’s Moot Court Board competition chair with help from competition associates Michelle Bodden-White ‘22 and Katarina Parise ‘22.

“[Legal Assistant] Theresa Colbert has worked tirelessly to help us navigate through the logistics of hosting a remote competition and Professor Evelyn Tenenbaum has been vital in helping us prepare this year’s problem,” Barra said. “While the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have presented our board with unprecedented problems, we have responded with unprecedented solutions. All of this would not be possible without the tremendous work ethic and dedication of the students, faculty, and staff at Albany Law School.”

Even though in-person arguments are traditional, this year’s competition will be held virtually due to the pandemic. However, it has made it easier for some law schools to be part of the competition for the first time.

“One of the goals of the Moot Court Board is to continuously adapt to changing circumstances, with the intent of demonstrating why our competitions are unique. Although we wish we could have welcomed the competitors to our campus, we are still excited to give students an opportunity to virtually compete during this pandemic,” said Joseph Pidel ’21, executive director of the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court Program at Albany Law School. “We’ve accommodated the need to social distance and this has resulted in numerous first-time attendees. The caliber of competition from previous years has set high expectations for this year’s competitors, but I’m confident they’ll be ready to meet that challenge.”

The fictitious problem for this year’s competition was created by Barra and will address:

1 – whether the New Scotland Third Appellate Division correctly determined that the Respondent was the lawful beneficiary of the assets in a decedent’s estate because she did not willfully or unlawfully kill the decedent within the meaning of New Scotland’s slayer statute, but rather was not cognizant of her actions due to Battered Women’s Syndrome

2 – whether the Respondent is a fit parent even though she, the mother, caused the death of the children’s father after suffering years of his physical and emotional abuse and is only 12 hours into treatment for her mental disorder due to Battered Women’s Syndrome and her alcohol and benzodiazepine misuse.

Competition judges are yet to be announced.

The 30 teams in the competition are from

  • Brooklyn Law School
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law*
  • Florida State University College of Law
  • The George Washington University Law School
  • New York Law School*New York University School of Law
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law
  • Penn State Law
  • Pepperdine Caruso School of Law
  • South Texas College of Law, Houston*
  • Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
  • UIC John Marshall Law School
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law*
  • University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • University of Connecticut School of Law
  • University of Dayton School of Law*University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law*
  • University of Mississippi School of Law
  • University of Nevada, Boyd School of Law
  • University of Richmond School of Law
  • University of South Dakota, Knudson School of Law
  • Villanova University, Charles Widger School of Law
  • Wayne State University Law School
  • *2 teams