Ellen A. (Nell) Hennessy Employee Benefits Moot Court Competition

About the Competition

The Ellen A. (Nell) Hennessy Employee Benefits Moot Court Competition is sponsored by the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) and hosted annually at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Established in 2018 to honor the significant contributions and legacy of Nell Hennessy in the employee benefits field, this competition welcomes law students to compete each year and argue before a panel of distinguished judges on an issue related to the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a federal law governing private sector pensions and employee benefits. Winners of the competition are eligible for monetary awards in the categories of Best Team, Best Brief, and Best Oral Advocate. 

Nell Hennessy received her J.D. from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in 1978 and her L.L.M. in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1984, where she was an adjunct professor for many years. At the time of her death, Nell was the president and CEO of Fiduciary Counselors, Inc., a DC-based independent fiduciary firm that she founded in 1999. During her career, she also served as the deputy executive director and chief negotiator for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a partner in two Wall Street law firms, and as a staff attorney in both the Office of Chief Counsel at the IRS and the PBGC. She was active in many legal and professional organizations, such as the American Bar Association and the DC Bar Association, and she was one of the founders of both the American Bar Association and the DC Bar Association. 

Nell is remembered fondly for her mentorship of students and young lawyers as well as for her availability to more senior colleagues and the press. She was known for her boundless energy, intellectual curiosity, and for being a fearless defender of individuals and retirees. 

Information about the 2021 Competition
  • In light of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, this year's competition will be virtual
  • The cost for entry is $200 per team. This is a one-time reduction in fee based on the virtual format of this year's competition. 
  • Teams may have a maximum of three participants. All team members must be current law students or pursuing their LLM. Any teams comprised of members from different law schools must seek permission prior to registration. 
  • Registration will be open until Friday, January, 15. The problem will be distributed electronically to all registered teams shortly thereafter. All rules pertaining to the competition will be included with the problem packet. 
  • Competing teams will be asked to submit a brief and will be assigned to write on behalf of either Petitioner or Respondent. 
  • Briefs will be due on Friday, February 26
  • The competition will take place on Saturday, March 27.  
  • The winning team will be eligible for an award provided by our sponsoring organization, the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. 
To register, please click on this link
Contact pashaj@cua.edu for additional information. 

Past Competitions Results