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Lanny Russell, a shareholder with Smith Hulsey & Busey, and Dana Bradford, managing partner and head of the litigation practice for the Jacksonville office of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, will continue the Florida-Georgia Moot Court Competition ...
Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 23, 201212:00 PM EST

Florida-Georgia moot court returns this year

by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

A fall legal community tradition returns this year.

Smith Hulsey & Busey has teamed up with Smith, Gambrell & Russell to bring back the Florida-Georgia Moot Court Competition with a slightly different name.

When approached about the 2011 competition, both the University of Florida and University of Georgia reported that budgetary reductions would not allow the teams to visit Jacksonville for the competition, said Lanny Russell, a Smith Hulsey & Busey shareholder who assisted in organizing the event.

Russell was unable to find another sponsor for the 2011 event to help cover the cost of bringing the teams to Jacksonville, estimated at $12,000 per team.

That problem was solved this year when Smith, Gambrell & Russell agreed to be an annual co-sponsor of the event, now called the Hulsey-Gambrell Florida-Georgia Moot Court Competition. It was formerly named the Hulsey-Kimbrell Moot Court Competition.

“Our firms have agreed to split the expense of the event and the universities have agreed to reinstate it, it’s on their calendar, we are preparing the written briefing materials for the panel of judges,” said Russell.

Georgia has 19 victories in the 30-year history of the event, including the competition in 2010. That competition returned to the trend of the school that won the moot court losing the football game.

The event will start at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 26, the Friday before the annual football game between the two universities. It will be held at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse in the courtroom of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel of judges includes Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Tjoflat, Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Huck of the Southern District of Florida, and U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood and Senior U.S. District Judge Avant Edenfield, both of the Southern District of Georgia.

Russell and Dana Bradford, managing partner of the Jacksonville office of Smith, Gambrell, are searching for a fifth judge to complete the panel.

“I think everyone enjoys the arguments, and the problems that have been created for appellate discussion have been very good problems over the years. It’s a delightful thing,” said Tjoflat.

“We are happy to come in and share the responsibility of hosting this competition with Smith Hulsey & Busey,” said Bradford.

One of the reasons Smith, Gambrell decided to become involved was because one of its namesakes, E. Smythe Gambrell, was a well-known and respected attorney in Georgia.

He founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.

The competition was founded by Mark Hulsey, a 1948 graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and Charles Kimbrell, a 1947 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law more than 30 years ago to give law school students some real world experience.

Hulsey was the lone remaining founder until his death last July 22. This will mark the first competition that Hulsey has not attended.

“He will be smiling down from somewhere upon high,” said Tjoflat about Hulsey, a friend.

Though the name will change for the event, Russell expressed the firm’s appreciation for the Kimbrell family’s involvement in the event.

“We appreciate the contributions of the Kimbrell family, but circumstance necessitated finding an additional sponsor and changing the name,” said Russell.

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