William and Mary Law School

Drescher '09 Wins ABI's First Bankruptcy Law Writing Competition

Cullen DrescherA paper written by Cullen Ann Drescher, who will graduate from William & Mary Law School on May 17, was chosen as the winning submission in the American Bankruptcy Institute's First Annual Bankruptcy Law Writing Competition.  The paper, titled "Introducing the Foreign Gap Debtor: The Applicability of Code Section 549 in Chapter 15 Cases," will be published in the ABI Journal. In addition, Drescher will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a one-year ABI membership. Second and third place were awarded to papers by R. Travis Santos and Taejin Kim, respectively, both of Emory University Law School.

According to Drescher, her paper "introduces the 'foreign gap debtor,' as a new character in American transnational insolvency law who appears as a result of the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. The paper suggests a new way of approaching unauthorized transfers by the foreign gap debtor, and proposes a unique application of section 549 to protect his good faith transferees."

Drescher credits Adjunct Professor of Law Paul K. Campsen, chairman of the Creditors' Rights Practice Group at Kaufman & Canoles, for encouraging her to submit a paper to the competition and for reviewing it prior to submission.  "I am grateful to Professor Campsen for his confidence in my writing and for being a constant source of insight and support," she said. 

Lynda Butler, interim Dean of the Law School said "it is a marvelous honor for Cullen to have her scholarship recognized by the ABI. She has enjoyed great success in her legal studies at William & Mary and I think this award demonstrates her enormous potential for professional achievement."

This will be Drescher's third publication. A bankruptcy-related note, titled "The BAPCPA, the Gag Rule and the First Amendment," will appear in the Summer 2009 issue of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. Her undergraduate honors thesis, written while a student at Georgetown University, titled "The Macroeconomic Effects of TRIPS Mandated Intellectual Property Regulation on Developing Countries," was published in 2004 in the Georgetown Journal of Health Sciences.

While in law school, Drescher served as the Spong Scholar Justice on the Moot Court Board, participated in the I'Anson-Hoffman Inn of Court, and, in fall 2008, was founding president of the Bankruptcy Law Society (BLS).

"I founded the BLS in hopes that it will afford law students increased exposure to emerging issues in insolvency law while serving as a platform for networking with practitioners in the community. It is a service-learning organization geared toward outreach in the form of education for consumers on issues such as debtor's rights and the responsible use of credit."  She plans to make a gift of $1,000, the amount of her ABI writing prize, to the Law School to support the society so that "it will continue as a vibrant part of William & Mary in the years to come."

Drescher worked as a summer associate in the Norfolk offices of McGuireWoods between her second and third years of law school and also clerked for the firm during the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters.  During the past semester, she also served as a volunteer liaison between the firm and the Law School's Veterans' Benefits Clinic, helping to coordinate and schedule the firm's pro bono services. After graduation, Drescher will clerk for Judge Stephen C. St. John of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and then will practice law with McGuireWoods.

Douglas M. Foley, chairman of McGuireWoods' Restructuring and Insolvency Department, said "throughout Cullen's time with McGuireWoods, she has demonstrated a tireless work ethic and an analytical ability that far surpasses her years of experience. We are thrilled to have her as part of our team and fully expect her to excel as a bankruptcy professional."

Editor's Note: Drescher was awarded the College of William & Mary's Thatcher Award for Excellence at the university's commencement ceremony on May 17.