As an articles editor for the Buffalo Law Review, Ryan Maxwell knows good writing when he sees it. Maxwell, a third-year UB School of Law student, got the good news recently that he had won a top award in a practical skills writing competition sponsored by the American College of Coverage Counsel. The Virginia-based organization advocates for the interests of insurance law practitioners, representing both insurers and policyholders.
Law students were invited to submit a brief in response to a hypothetical insurance law problem. Maxwell’s brief earned him second-place yielding a $1,500 award and an expenses-paid trip to Chicago in May to attend the organization’s national convention.
“They give you a policy to work off and a body of case law that they want you to use and not go beyond,” Maxwell says. “It took several weeks to go through and iron out the details, and read through the cases to understand how California (where the hypothetical case is set) would interpret some of the insurance issues. I have a baseline understanding of insurance law issues to begin with, but New York insurance law is very different from California insurance law.”
The case involved a home child care provider whose own child struck another with a toy sword, blinding him in one eye. Contestants were asked to choose one of four positions to advance with their entries. Maxwell’s carefully constructed 10-page memorandum of law argued that, based on the policy details, the insurer he ostensibly represented had no obligation to pay for the child care provider’s defense in the underlying tort action.
He knows something about insurance law already, having taken adjunct professor Dan Kohane’s course on the topic last year. He has spent two summers at the Buffalo firm Hurwitz & Fine, P.C., and continues there part time, looking to take on as much insurance-related work as he can get.
“I’ve worked closely with Ryan over the past two years, and am delighted to learn that the ACCC recognized the same insight and intellect that we’ve come to expect,” says Steven E. Pieper ’04, a member of Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. and co-chair of the firm’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group. “Ryan is an exceptional learner, and has a unique ability to recognize nuanced issues often overlooked by his peers.”