Richardo I. Kilpatrick
Copyright © December 1, 2001, American Bankruptcy Institute.
s I approach the middle of my one-year term as ABI President, I write to
update you on several initiatives and encourage your continued participation in our
One of my early goals was to promote good relationships between ABI and other
organizations. Since May, I have attended a number of meetings with David Allard,
the past president of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, and Robert
Hertzberg, first vice president of INSOL, both of whom are in the Detroit area.
Through these meetings, we have formalized future projects and explored how these
organizations can best complement each other. Alliances with other organizations will
be pursued as well, whether for membership, educational programming or publications
The second initiative focuses on ABI's international activities. Our Vice
President-International Affairs, Steven Golick from Toronto, formed an ad hoc
committee this summer to prepare a comprehensive mission statement and action plan for
ABI. We hope this plan will serve as our roadmap in this exciting area for years
Third, our educational programs are benefitting from a written protocol of
responsibilities for regional program chairs, developed by Vice President-Education Judy
Thompson, assisted by Andy Caine, who previously held this post and who is currently
ABI's president-elect. This protocol will help us ensure consistency in the quality
of our educational offerings. Still to come are guidelines for committee chairs, each
of whom is also involved in continuing legal education by their programs at our two
annual membership meetings.
I hope you have noticed some further improvements to ABI World, our
award-winning web site. The Management Committee has recently approved a new web
hosting service that will help us expand our services. The asset sales site has been
remodeled, the ABI Quick Poll has been added to the home page, online CLE will
be promoted through our partnership with West LegalEdCenter, and content will be
enhanced by a new arrangement with The Daily Deal newspaper. Still to come in
2002 will be a job board, helpful to firms looking to hire insolvency
professionals and individuals seeking new opportunities, and member listserves organized
by practice area.
My colleagues on the Executive Committee have been active in creating valuable
programs and products. Foremost is in the area of publications, where Vice
President-Publications John Penn is working hard to finalize some major projects.
Bankruptcy in Practice, written by Prof. Jack Ayer (U.C.-Davis School of Law)
and Michael Bernstein (Arnold & Porter), is an outstanding 500-page work on
practice and procedure sure to benefit both new and experienced practitioners. Also
coming soon is a manual on trade creditors' rights in reclamation, written by Bruce
Nathan (Davidoff & Mailito), and a monograph on the "ins and outs" of first-day
Membership continues to grow under the watch of Vice President-Membership Lenny
Goldberger. More than 1,400 new paid members and a 90 percent retention rate
highlight our year-end numbers. We welcomed our 8,000th member in record time
earlier this year. Our professional staff is hard at work on new benefits to add
still more value to membership in 2002.
The creating of the Robert M. Zinman Resident Scholar program has brought a valuable
addition to our in-house research capability. Prof. Jack Williams, our first and
current scholar, has maintained a hectic pace of writing, lecturing and advising
members of Congress and staff. We look forward to having Prof. Margaret Howard join
us in January 2002. And I am thrilled to announce that Prof. David Epstein,
one of the great bankruptcy teachers and writers of our time, will be the Zinman
Scholar beginning in spring 2003.
Growth of the ABI Endowment Fund is a priority of Vice President-Development
Michael Richman. The fund is already a major player in providing resources for
scholarly projects. Our 20th Anniversary drive, now underway, hopes to fully fund
the Zinman Scholar, among other goals. We need every member to help us meet our
goals, either by the $30 checkoff contribution when you renew your dues, or through
our five-year installment pledge campaign.
As we enjoy this growth and continued evolution, we are mindful of the need for
careful planning. This fall, our Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Bob
Fishman, met to reassess our goals and help ensure strong volunteer leadership in the
future. We have made it our priority to identify and encourage ABI's active members
to step forward to be tomorrow's leaders. As we prepare for activities heading up
to our 20th Anniversary celebration at the Annual Spring Meeting in April, I urge
you to take this unique opportunity to become active in ABI.
I close with personal thanks to my mentors who preceded me as president and
continue to guide me, especially Bob Fishman, Deborah Williamson and Keith Shapiro.
Thanks also to our professional staff, led by Sam Gerdano, for their hard work and
support. This year has been both memorable for ABI and personally fulfilling for
me. I look forward to working with you all in the challenging months ahead.