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Elon Law student testifies before state commission

On January 6, Austin Morris L'12 testified before the North Carolina General Statutes Commission on law governing the naming of debtors on financing statements.

Austin Morris, third-year student at Elon University School of Law

The North Carolina General Statutes Commission advises the North Carolina General Assembly on the adoption and amendment of uniform state laws (such as the Uniform Commercial Code). Morris testified before the commission based on expertise developed while researching a paper for Elon Law Professor Henry Gabriel’s Secured Transactions course.

In his testimony, Morris recommended that North Carolina adopt legislation proposed by the Uniform Law Commission for Uniform Commercial Code Article 9, Section 503, which governs the naming of debtors on financing statements. Morris suggested in his testimony that “Alternative A” offered by the Uniform Law Commission was a better choice than “Alternative B” because the former would create more certainty for the secured party, ease the burden on searchers of filing records, and contribute to national uniformity since a vast majority of states have chosen already to enact Alternative A.

Morris included in his testimony an analysis of written decisions illustrating the problems with the current system of naming debtors. Ultimately, after some discussion, the Commissioners did decide to recommend to the General Assembly the adoption of Alternative A. Morris testified at the invitation of Elon Law Professor Andrew Haile, who is himself a member of the General Statues Commission.

“It’s wonderful that the faculty of the Elon University School of Law goes to such lengths to find ways for students to develop intellectually, and to become engaged in the legal world outside the law school,” Morris said. “The experience reminded me anew of the value of the legal skills that we develop on a daily basis at the Elon University School of Law.”

Reflecting on the experience, Morris described it as part of a year in which he has been deeply engaged in various aspects of law and the legal profession.

“During my third year of law school alone, I will have worked alongside attorneys in state government, in private practice, and in a non-profit setting,” Morris said. “I will have written a scholarly paper, testified about its contents before the state’s General Statutes Commission, participated in a regional Mock Trial competition, attended oral arguments before the Fourth Circuit, volunteered with Wills for Heroes, and helped to organize a pro bono program which will provide hundreds of hours of free tax assistance to the people of Greensboro.”

Philip Craft,
1/19/2012 9:39 AM