2020 Competition

Article published in Fordham Law News regarding Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Moot Court Competition:

The annual Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Moot Court Competition, held at Fordham Law School, honors Judge Kaufman, a Fordham alumnus who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for many years, including seven as Chief Judge. The competition’s final round is presided over by a distinguished panel of judges, including Supreme Court Justices and commissioners of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was slated to preside once again on the panel.

This year’s competition—which was planned to be held at the Lincoln Center campus this month—was forced to cancel as an in-person event due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, Kaufman Editor Salvatore Cocchiaro ’20, in conjunction with the program’s student board and Fordham Law’s administration, worked around the clock to make sure the competition could go forward, with some modifications.

After much deliberation, Cocchiaro contacted the 28 participating law schools, explaining that the competition’s written component would still count since their briefs had already been submitted. However, the in-person oral argument component would be completely eliminated, leaving the top briefs to be determined solely on the written work that would be graded by Fordham Law faculty, alumni, and students.

“This competition has been in the works since July 2019 and has required hours upon hours of work in thinking through the issues, securing top-notch judges, and organizing the most talented young advocates like you,” Cocchiaro wrote to the competitors and coaches in early March. “Through it all, our goal has been to provide one thing, an experience: an experience to engage back and forth with judges in real-time; an experience to come together and meet like-minded students from all across the nation; an experience to network with practitioners and jurists to inform and inspire meaningful careers. We are canceling the oral arguments altogether for the same reason—because it has become clear that even if every possible detail of a virtual competition could be executed to perfection, we simply could not provide the experience that we strive for and that you all quite frankly deserve.”

This year’s competition problem featured a securities fraud private action involving an Italian liquor company’s launch of its new alcohol-spiked sparkling water. It raised two issues: a question as to the extraterritorial scope of the Exchange Act in light of the disagreement between the Second and Ninth Circuits, and a question involving the force and reach of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Lorenzo v. SEC given differing facts. The top three schools awarded Best Briefs—in descending order—were: William and Mary Law School, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and University of Miami Law School.

The distinguished panel of federal judges who were invited to participate this year included Justice Alito and Judges Pamela Chen, Richard Sullivan, Bernice Donald, and Paul Kelly. However, since the top qualifiers could not argue in front of them, Judges Chen, Sullivan, Donald, and Kelly sent the teams videos of congratulations and encouragement instead. Justice Alito, who has been the Chief Justice for several Kaufman Competitions, provided a written statement, which was read by Dean Matthew Diller to the students in a video.

2020 Competition Documents

For any further questions/concerns, please contact our 2021 Kaufman Editor, Erin Guiltinan, at [email protected].