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ABI's Annual Spring Meeting to Focus on New Bankruptcy Law

February 28, 2005, Alexandria, Va. –More than 1,000 bankruptcy professionals will attend the American Bankruptcy Institute's (ABI) 23rd Annual Spring Meeting, held April 28-May, 2005, at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. The program will address a wide array of timely insolvency issues.

Special quest speaker at this year's program is George Will, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and commentator, who appears every Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Mr. Will is the Friday luncheon keynote. Optional events include a D.C. Nationals baseball game vs. the New York Mets, a special performance by David Copperfield and the always popular Capitol Steps. The final night dinner features entertainment by comedian Richard Jeni and music by ABI’s Indubitable Equivalents.

ABI will also hold Bankruptcy Fundamentals: Nuts and Bolts for Young Practitioners on Thursday, April 28. At this special program, an outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners will explain the fundamentals of bankruptcy in separate consumer and business tracks.

A Saturday luncheon program, sponsored by the American College of Bankruptcy, will feature former Senate Parliamentarian Robert B. Dove. Mr. Dove is of Counsel to Patton Boggs LLP and teaches federal legislation at both Georgetown and George Washington Universities.

The conference educational program begins on April 29 with ABI's Ninth Annual Great Debates, moderated by ABI's Vice President of Education Neil P. Olack of Duane Morris LLP (Atlanta). The event consists of three debates.  In Debate No. 1, "Plain Meaning’ Must Control Judicial Interpretations,” Prof. Todd J. Zywicki of   Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, D.C.) will debate Reginald W. Jackson of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP (Columbus, Ohio).

In Debate No. 2, "Market Interest Rates Are Irrelevant," Judith Elkin of Haynes and Boone LLP (Dallas) will debate James Patrick Shea of Shea & Carlyon, Ltd. (Las Vegas).

In Debate No. 3, "Solvent Debtors Are Bad Faith Filers," G. Eric Brunstad Jr. of Bingham McCutchen LLP (Hartford, Conn.) will debate Robert J. Keach of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson PA (Portland, Maine).

Expert panels have been organized in concurrent sessions, allowing conference attendees to choose the one that most interests them.  Speakers include bankruptcy judges, accountants, attorneys, turnaround managers, law professors, trustees and others.

In "Suppliers to Distressed Industries: Insurmountable Problems or Challenging Opportunities?" Bettina M. Whyte of AlixPartners LLC (New York) will moderate a discussion featuring Peter S. Fishman of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin (San Francisco),   Sheryl E. Seigel of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP (Toronto, Ontario) and Sheryl Toby of Dykema Gossett PLLC (Detroit).

Katherine Stadler of Godfrey & Kahn SC (Madison, Wis.) will moderate a panel on Dealing with State Regulators in Utility Industry Bankruptcies.”   Panelists joining her include G. Larry Engel of White & Case LLP (San Francisco), Alan W. Kornberg of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (New York) and William K. Snyder of Corporate Revitalization Partners LLC (Dallas).

Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (Detroit) will moderate a panel on "Consumer Conversions Between Chapters 13 and 7: Pre— and Post-Confirmation Issues, Property of the Estate, Exemption Objection and Avoidance Action Deadlines, Permissible Planning." Prof. Margaret Howard of Washington & Lee Law School (Lexington, Va.) and Dennis J. LeVine of Dennis LeVine & Associates Inc. (Tampa, Fla.) will join the discussion as panelists.

In "Deepening Insolvency: The ‘Outlandish’ Tort Affecting Professionals, Lenders, Insurers, Officers, and Directors" Lynda H. Schwartz of Ernst & Young LLP (Boston) will moderate a discussion featuring Richard Banzinger of Citigroup Inc. (New York), Judge Stuart M. Bernstein (New York) and Lawrence J. Kotler of Duane Morris LLP (Philadelphia).

Geoffrey L. Berman of Development Specialists Inc. (Los Angeles) will moderate "Post-Confirmation Quagmire: Limits on Liquidating Trusts, Plan Modifications and Amendments and Practical Business Issues." Panelists will include Judge E. Stephen Derby (Baltimore), David R. Kuney of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP (Washington, D.C.) and Michael P. Richman of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (New York).

Richardo I. Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick & Associates PC (Auburn Hills, Mich.) will moderate a panel "What’s New in Consumer Credit: Interest Rate Trends, Portfolio Assignments, Servicing, Sub-prime Markets, Truth in Lending Awards, Home Owners Protection Act, Class Actions."  The panel will also feature Melyssa R. Barrett of Visa USA Inc. (Foster City, Calif.) and Steve C. Olen of Olen Nicholas & Lopeland PC (Mobile, Ala.).

Judge Joan N. Feeney (Boston) will moderate a “Judges' Roundtable: Hot Bankruptcy Issues Now Riding the Circuits” plenary session with Judge David W. Houston III (Aberdeen, Miss.), Judge Linda B. Riegle (Las Vegas), Judge Barry S. Schermer (St. Louis, Mo.) and   Judge Mary F. Walrath (Wilmington).

Richard E. Mikels of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo PC (Boston) will moderate "Asset Sales: Parts I (How Broad Is the Power to Cleanse?) and II (Advanced 363 Issues) " and will be joined by   Howard Brod Brownstein of Nachman Hays Brownstein Inc.(Narberth, Penn.), Andrew Graiser of DJM Asset Management (Melville, N.Y.), Lisa M. Poulin of FTI Consulting (Dallas), Benjamin L. Nortman of Hilco Trading Co. Inc.(Northbrook, Ill.) and David Peress of  the Ozer Group LLC (Needham, Mass.)

In the panel "Mass Torts, Parts I and II (Herding Cats and Other Problems: Managing Mass Torts Litigation in Chapter 11)" moderator Theodore L. Freedman of Kirkland & Ellis LLP (New York) will be joined by panelists Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh), Laura Davis Jones of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub PC (Wilmington), Robert J. Rosenberg, Latham & Watkins LLP (New York), Karen B. Shaer of GCG (Melville, N.Y.) and Frank J. Vecchione of Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione PC (Newark, N.J.). The Mass Torts Committee will continue the discussion.

"Secured Property in Chapter 7: Surrender, Redemption, Reaffirmation, Lien Avoidance, Valuation, Relief from Stay, Other Options" will be moderated by Mark V. Bossi of Thompson Coburn LLP (St. Louis, Mo.). Elizabeth J. Marshall of Ford Motor Credit Company (Dearfield Beach, Fla.), Judge James D. Gregg (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and David B. Stratton of Pepper Hamilton LLP (Wilmington, Del.) will join him as panelists.

In "Churches and Non-Profits in Chapter 11” Susan G. Boswell of Quarles & Brady Streich Lang LLP (Tucson, Ariz.) and Ford Elsaesser of Elsaesser, Jarzabek, Anderson, Marks, Elliott & McHugh Chtd.(Sandpoint, Idaho) will moderate a discussion featuring Prof. Marci A. Hamilton of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (New York ), Judge Ronald B. King (San Antonio, Texas) and Daniel R. Murray of Jenner & Block LLP (Chicago). Each of the panelists is involved in a current church bankruptcy.

A session titled "New Commercial Lending Vehicles and Trends: Understanding Complex Debt" will be moderated by Melissa Kibler Knoll of Mesirow Financial Consulting LLC (Chicago).  Panelists include Jerome Fons of Welss Fargo Business Credit Inc.(Minneapolis), David A. Gozdecki of LaSalle Business Credit Inc. (Chicago), William K. Lenhart of BDO Seidman LLP (New York) and Baker A. Smith of Morris Anderson Associates Ltd. (Atlanta).

Mock Presentation with an Evidentiary Focus on Privileges: Lawyer/Client, Fifth Amendment, Waiver, Trade Secrets, Financial Privacy, Turnover, Alternatives" will be moderated by Dillon E. Jackson of Foster Pepper & Shefelman PLLC (Seattle) and will feature Judge Barry Russell (Los Angeles) and R. Scott Williams of Haskell, Slaughter Young & Rediker LLC (Birmingham, Ala.).

Moderator Salvatore A. Barbatano of Foley & Lardner LLP (Detroit) will be joined by panelists Richard Byrne of the U.S. Trustee Program (Washington, D.C.), Samuel J. Gerdano of the American Bankruptcy Institute (Alexandria, Va.) and   ABI Resiedent Scholar Prof. Jeffrey W. Morris of the University of Dayton School of Law (Dayton, Ohio) to discuss "New U.S. Trustee Initiatives, Legislative and Caselaw Developments.” The latest on the new bankruptcy law will be fully covered.

In "Professional Fees After Lamie: Payment from Whom and How, Conversion of Case, Future Retention by Trustee, Retainers”  James T. Markus of Block, Markus & Williams LLC (Denver)   will moderate a panel featuring C. R. “Chip” Bowles of   Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald PLLC (Louisville, Ky.) and Patricia A. Redmond of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson PA (Miami).

Counseling the Officers and Directors When You Represent the Debtor—Insurance, Liability, Fiduciary Duties, Stock Loans, KERPS, Employment Agreements” will be moderated by Andrew I. Silfen of Arent Fox PLLC (New York) and features panelists Nancy A. Peterman of Greenberg Traurig LLP (Chicago), James D. Sweet of Murphy Desmond SC (Madison; Wisc.) and Carl H. Young II of Bridge Associates LLC (Tulsa, Okla.).

The Annual Spring Meeting has consistently been ABI's biggest conference. It is one of two annual conferences where ABI committees and subcommittees meet. More than 20 such committees will hold programs for CLE credit. The four-day conference offers approximately 19 hours credit, including three hours of ethics. Register by April 1 and save $30. 

The American Board of Certification (ABC) will offer its Consumer Bankruptcy, Business Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights exams on Thursday, April 28. For details please visit the ABC web site at or e-mail


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency.   ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues.  The ABI membership includes more than 10,600 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.  For additional information on ABI, visit ABI World at  For additional conference information, visit


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