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Presenters + Keynote

Jake Halpern

Keynote Speaker

Listed by Amazon as one of the hottest selling authors, Jake Halpern, author of Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld, will be talking with Convention attendees about the under world of consumer debt collection. His journey looks at the industry, where having a criminal background is no barrier to entry. Halpern will explain debt buying and how little regulation gave rise to a chaotic marketplace.

Amir Sufi

Keynote Speaker

Known as one of the leading experts on the macroeconomic effects of private debt, Professor Amir Sufi has produced some of the most important and compelling research on the impact of debt on consumer behavior during the recent housing bubble and bust. His book, House of Debt (co-authored w/ Professor Atif Mian), details the ways in which the housing bust damaged the economic well-being of low- and middle-income households across the country. What was outwardly disguised as a credit crunch is in reality a fall in demand for loans.

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson has lectured extensively for lawyers, realtors and tax professionals about Tax Liens, Tax Collection Defense, Mortgage Modifications, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and other Debtor-Creditor matters. He has been a featured speaker at the IRS National Tax Forum, Northwest Bankruptcy Institute, and the NACBA Annual Meeting. Kent has been active in the NACBA lobbying program for several years and was invited to speak at US Senator Jeff Merkley’s Mortgage and Foreclosure Solutions Summit. He is the current NACBA Oregon chair and continues to consult with the senator’s office on bankruptcy and foreclosure issues.

Kent established his private practice in 1978 and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the US Tax Court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court. Mr. Anderson is board certified in Consumer Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification. His practice includes tax collection defense, contested audit, and consumer bankruptcy matters.

He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the Bankruptcy Law Network, LLC, where he currently holds the office of Treasurer. As chair of the Website Committee for the Oregon State Bar Debtor/Creditor Section and member of the local Bankruptcy Pro Bono committee, he contributes his expertise to state bar efforts. Kent has been a public board member of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners since 2009. He is a contributing author on the LexisNexis Bankruptcy Law Center online forum and has worked with Lexis in developing and testing several versions of its software including its new TopForm 11 bankruptcy document assembly program.

Mary Beth Ausbrooks

MARY BETH AUSBROOKS (J.D., 1996, University of Memphis).  Mary Beth practices in Nashville and is a partner in the consumer debtor firm of Rothschild & Ausbrooks, PLLC.  She is a board certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist and has been certified as such by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the American Board of Certification.  She has served as the Tennessee State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and presently is a member of its Board of Directors.  She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the American Board of Certification.  Mary Beth has served as President, Vice-President and Secretary for the Middle Tennessee Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.   Mary Beth has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and was named a Mid South Rising Star for 2010 and 2011.  She has offered several presentations on best practices for consumer debtor attorneys and on other aspects of the consumer debtor practice.  Mary Beth is admitted to practice in the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Thad O. Bartholow, III., Esq.

Armstrong Kellett Bartholow P.C. , Dallas, Texas

Thad Bartholow is a partner with the Dallas, Texas law firm of Armstrong Kellett Bartholow P.C. In addition to consumer bankruptcy, Mr. Bartholow's practice focuses on individual and class-action litigation on behalf of consumer debtors in state, federal, and bankruptcy courts. He has spoken at local, regional and national conferences regarding issues related to consumer bankruptcy and consumer litigation, and Mr. Bartholow has obtained several favorable written opinions on issues related to objections to proofs of claims and creditors' standing / status as a real party in interest with authority to participate in bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Bartholow is a member of NACBA, NACA, and a graduate of Max Gardner's Bankruptcy Boot Camp.

Hon. Robert D. Berger

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge/District of Kansas

The Honorable Robert D. Berger is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Kansas. He was appointed to the Court in October 2003. He received his B.A. in history and political science from the University of Kansas in 1983 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in 1986. Prior to his appointment, Judge Berger practiced law as bankruptcy and insolvency counsel representing debtors and creditors. He is among the first group of attorneys in Kansas and Missouri certified by the American Board of Certification in both consumer and business bankruptcy law. Judge Berger has written numerous articles on bankruptcy and is a contributing author for Collier on Bankruptcy, the Kansas Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Handbook, and The People’s Guide to Kansas Law (K.B.A.). Judge Berger has served as a frequent lecturer at local, state and national seminars on bankruptcy. He counts among his affiliations membership in the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. Prior to joining the bench, he was a member of NACBA.

Laurie B. Biggs

Since joining Stubbs Perdue in October 2003, Laurie B. Biggs has been a passionate Raleigh lawyer known for her relentlessness and dedication. Focusing in the area of bankruptcy, restructuring, business law, civil litigation, tax, and real estate, Ms. Biggs is certified as a Business Bankruptcy Law Specialist by the North Carolina State Bar and the American Board of Certification. This specialization speaks volumes of the high-level of her expertise, which could make all the difference in your case.

Her efforts to go above and beyond have earned her the respect and admiration of her peers. She has been honored with inclusion in Super Lawyers® (2014-2015) , Super Lawyers® Rising Stars (2012-2013), Business North Carolina Young Guns (2010-2011), Legal Elite - Top Lawyers Under 40 (2007), and Legal Elite - Bankruptcy (2007).

BV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, she has also taught numerous seminars and classes regarding bankruptcy law. She has also published several articles in legal journals, which demonstrates her commitment to remain at the forefront of her field. Under her careful guidance, you can have a greater chance of obtaining the successful outcome you desire.

Ira Bodenstein, Esq.

Ira Bodenstein is a member of the law firm Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin, LLC. He was previously appointed by former United States Attorney General Janet Reno to serve as United States Trustee for the Northern District of Illinois and the State of Wisconsin, from May 1998 through January 2006. Mr. Bodenstein focuses his practice in the areas of corporate restructuring and insolvency, and is a member of the private panel of Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees. He also represents trustees and receivers in state and federal courts, and has been appointed a receiver in SEC actions (Efoora and Steven W. Salutric) and has represented receivers in CFTC actions (Lake Shore Asset Management) and FTC actions (Dynamic Financial Solutions, Asia Pacific, Central Coast Nutraceuticals). On July 11, 2012, Ira Bodenstein was appointed chapter 7 Trustee of Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. He is a founding member and the current President of the National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (“NAFER”).

Edward C. Boltz, Esq.

The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, Durham, North Carolina

Mr. Boltz is a partner at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, P.C., where he has managed the firm’s practice in the Middle District of North Carolina since 1998, representing clients in not only Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies, but also in related consumer rights litigation, including fighting abusive mortgage practices and working for student loan solutions both through bankruptcy and other alternatives. Mr. Boltz received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1993 and his J.D. from George Washington University in 1996. He is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, where he has been certified as a specialist in consumer bankruptcy law. He is admitted to practice before the Districts Courts in both the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. Mr. Boltz is the current President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). Mr. Boltz has also served on the Bankruptcy Council for the North Carolina Bar Association and previously served as the Bankruptcy Chair for the North Carolina Association of Trial Lawyers.

Kevin Chern, Esq.

Managing Partner of UpRight Law, a consumer bankruptcy and consumer protection litigation firm based in Chicago. The firm is America's premier virtual consumer law firm that is geographically agnostic, representing clients in both rural and metropolitan areas, and allowing consumers to interact with their lawyer online. Throughout his career , Mr. Chern’s focus has been on law firm management, virtual law practice, internet marketing, legal industry consulting and web application development

Before building UpRight Law, Mr. Chern was the Co-founder and President of Total Attorneys, revolutionizing lead generation in the legal vertical. Mr. Chern is also a Co-founder of Start Fresh Today, a leading provider of Debtor Education and Credit Counseling software and services. Previously, Mr. Chern also was the Managing Partner of largest consumer bankruptcy law firm in the U.S. In his various roles, Mr. Chern has experience in/as:

*Administrator of numerous nationwide legal marketing cooperatives

*Marketing, technology, business development and law firm management consultant to 1100+ law firms nationwide

*Architect of five comprehensive law office CRMs and dozens of legal websites

*Expert in law practice development: created practices in bankruptcy, consumer protection litigation, bankruptcy litigation, class action litigation, lemon law, personal injury, workers compensation and DUI

Specialties: Management consulting, business development, business process technology development, Internet lead generation, public speaking.

Jeena Cho, Esq.

Jeena Cho is a partner at JC Law Group PC, a bankruptcy law firm in San Francisco, CA. She practices with her husband, Jeff Curl, working with individuals and small businesses to find the best solutions for their financial troubles.

In addition to her law practice, she teaches mindfulness and meditation to lawyers. She also coaches lawyers on stress and anxiety management as well as cultivating a happier legal practice.

Jeena started her meditation practice at the Himalayan Institute in Buffalo, NY. She has completed several classes in Mindfulness and Compassion Cultivation Training at a number of institutions including Stanford, and has attended numerous retreats on mindfulness at organizations including the Spirit Rock, Insight Retreat Center and the San Francisco Zen Center.

Jeena enjoys writing and is currently working on her second book The Anxious Lawyer (ABA) which is scheduled to be published in 2015. She has written articles on mindfulness on Lawyerist as well as her blog, Scripting Happiness. Jeena is the author of the LexisNexis guide How to Manage Your Law Office where she wrote about starting, growing and managing a solo practice including topics ranging from marketing to virtual law practice to social media. In addition, Jeena writes a monthly column for Ms. JD, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. She holds a J.D. and B.A. from University at Buffalo.

Joshua Cohen, Esq.

Like many students attending college, part of Josh’s financial aid package included work study – a program which funds a job for a student to help provide money for the student to live off of while attending college. Josh’s job landed him in the financial aid office ofBrandeis University. There, he was exposed to financial aid in a way most college students are not. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect that experience to play such an important role in his career.

Many years later Josh found himself in law school at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. As his second year was rapidly coming to a close, Josh began researching summer positions. It was during a discussion with a few professors that Josh learned of consumer law – an area of law that was severely underrepresented with enormous growth potential, and best of all, an area that appealed to Josh’s sense of community activism and fighting for the little guy. During another discussion with a professor that ran the internship programs, he learned of Connecticut Legal Services (Legal Aid) and its unique consumer program – the Consumer Law Project for Elders (CLEP).

Josh immediately called the program director who asked, “You WANT to do consumer law?” Apparently Josh was the first law student requesting to work in the program. This is where Josh was first exposed to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and how it protected consumers from harassing and abusive debt collection conduct.

At CLEP, one project involved an elder gentleman and his student loans. It seemed he had gone to trucking school in the early ’80s but had never paid off his student loan. The man had received a letter threatening to offset his social security if he did not get his loan out of default. Suddenly Josh’s years of working in the Brandeis financial aid office came rushing back. Josh immediately knew what to do and assisted with the paperwork. By the end of the summer, the gentleman had avoided the offset, cured his default, and was making voluntary payments of a reduced amount that did not affect his budget. But still, Josh had no idea this was just the start.

As Josh began his third year of law school, the CLEP director invited Josh to a seminar being given by one of the Connecticut’s leading FDCPA attorneys. By the end of the seminar, Josh had lined up an interview with this lawyer and three weeks later started a part-time job as a law clerk at the lawyer’s firm, the Consumer Law Group.

In October of 2008, Josh went solo, founding the Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen. He very much enjoyed doing consumer law and wanted his firm to focus exclusively on consumer law. Specifically, the firm worked on debt collection defense, debt collector harassment and abusive conduct (FDCPA), credit report issues, and debt settlement. Josh also decided to focus on student loan law. Rather quickly, he realized that this was an especially underrepresented area of consumer law and there was a growing need for legal help.

Almost immediately, Josh found debt collection violations running rampant throughout the student loan collection industry. After consulting with his former boss, the two joined forces to bring a few cases with class action potential. Learn more about these and other suits here.

Diane E. Thompson

Diane E. Thompson is currently Managing Counsel in the Office of Regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where she focuses on mortgage regulation, particularly mortgage servicing and the TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures. Previously, she was of counsel with the National Consumer Law Center, where she was the co-author of the NCLC treatise Truth in Lending and a contributing author to Mortgage Lending. She is a co-author of NCLC’s report, At a Crossroads: Lessons from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a co-author of The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth: Fulfilling the Promise of Truth In Lending, 25 Yale J. Reg. 181 (2008), and the author of Foreclosing Modifications, 86 Wash. L. Rev. 755 (2011). From 1994 to 2007, Ms. Thompson represented individual low-income homeowners in East St. Louis at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. While there, Ms. Thompson served as the Homeownership Specialist, providing assistance to casehandlers representing homeowners in 65 counties in downstate Illinois, and the Supervising Attorney of the Housing and Consumer Unit of the East St. Louis office. She has served on national and local boards, including the National Community Reinvestment Coalition's Board and the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council's Board. She was a member of the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board from 2003-2005. Between 1995 and 2001, Ms. Thompson served as corporate counsel to the largest private nonprofit affordable housing provider in the East St. Louis metropolitan area. She received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from New York University.

Hon. Jacqueline Cox

Appointed - Appointed for a fourteen year term of office pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §152 on February 3, 2003

Education - Cornell University College of Arts and Science, B.A., 1971; Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1974

Prior Employment - Judge Jacqueline P. Cox previously served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 1988-2003; four years of that service was as a Presiding Judge for the 1st Municipal District.

Other Government Service - Public Defender’s Office, Mercer County, New Jersey, 1976-1977; Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, 1978-1984; City of Chicago Law Department, 1984-1988; Chicago Housing Authority Law Department, 1988.

Professional Organizations - American Bar Association; American Judicature Society; Association of Black Women Lawyers of Chicago; Chicago Bar Association; Cook County Bar Association; Illinois Judicial Council; Illinois State Bar Association; National Bar Association; Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; Illinois Judges Association; National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.

Family -  Single mother of one daughter.

Tiffany Denlinger, AMP Attorney Consulting, LLC

Tiffany is the Founder of AMP Attorney Consulting, short for Attorney Market Power. Her extensive background includes building one of the largest consumer law firms in Texas. During which time she created a proprietary system for building and grooming law firms to become wildly successful practices, that dominate their market, while providing great client service. AMP powers practices all over the US, who provide full service Bankruptcy representation, and other consumer practice areas. Tiffany hails from Dallas, Fort Worth and has an adorable, whip-smart daughter named Aspen Loren, and has no problem telling it like it is. 

Jay S. Fleischman, Esq.

JAY S. FLEISCHMAN is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer and marketing consultant to the legal field. Over the past fifteen years, Jay has successfully represented consumer debtors in over 2,000 Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 proceedings. He currently concentrates this law practice on prosecuting violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction in Bankruptcy Court and U.S. District Court.

He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys as well as of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He has been the New York State co-Chairperson for NACBA for over four years. In addition, Jay is a co-founder and President of the Bankruptcy Law Network.

Jay also maintains a thriving legal marketing consulting practice, concentrating in online marketing techniques, copywriting, direct response, social media, and content creation and distribution. He blogs regularly at, where he offers legal marketing tips on a regular basis.

Rachel Foley, Esq.

In 2004 Rachel established Foley Law which has become synonymous with KC Bankruptcy. She dedicates over 90% of her time to the practice of consumer bankruptcy law.  Rachel was not always focused on the law as her undergraduate training was mainly in the sciences and medicine.  But it was the freedom of debt described in Deuteronomy 15:1-2 that called her into the ever evolving world of bankruptcy. Rachel’s passion is to ensure that all her clients obtain a fresh start and regain financial control.

Rachel’s other passion also has ties to the world of bankruptcy. That passion would be the mouse of all mice, Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney was thrown into bankruptcy in Kansas City Missouri.  Rachel informs just about everyone who walks through the door “But for the (Walt’s) bankruptcy Mickey may never have been born.”  Rachel proudly displays her Mickey Mouse collection and philosophy in order to enlighten her clients that bankruptcy is a beginning and not an ending.

Rachel’s practice focuses on consumer Chapter 7’s and 13’s in both Kansas and Missouri. In order to provide the best defense possible for her clients against the creditors, it is not uncommon to see Rachel at a conference honing her skills.  Not only is Rachel seen in the audience at these conferences but it is not uncommon to find her on the stage sharing what she has learned about technology and all things bankruptcy.

In this constant quest for knowledge Rachel has earned a spotlight on the local and national bankruptcy stage.  Rachel has been awarded the K. Colleen Nunnelly Award by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the 2012 & 2013 Best of The Kansas City Bar Award and the Missouri Bar Association Pro Bono Hall of Fame.  

Rachel’s passion and drive to protect her clients is the reason why she is described as a bankruptcy attorney and not as an attorney who practices bankruptcy law. 

Radmila A. Fulton, Esq.

Radmila A. Fulton is a sole practitioner in San Diego, California and her practice has emphasized the representation of debtors in consumer and business bankruptcy Chapter 7, 11, and 13 cases since 1982. Ms. Fulton is one of 12 San Diego attorneys certified as a bankruptcy specialist by the State Bar of California. 

She served as the initial chair of the State Bar of California Personal and Small Business Bankruptcy Law Advisory Commission and is a founding member and past president of the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum. She currently serves on the Federal Court Discipline Committee of the United States District Court, Southern District of California; is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee; is the Education Co-Chair of the Insolvency Law Committee of the California State Bar Business Law Section , and, of course, is a member of NACBA.  

Ms. Fulton was selected for inclusion in the San Diego Super Lawyers® lists (Bankruptcy, 2008-2014), was named a 2014 Top Lawyer in Bankruptcy by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system

O. Max Gardner, III

Max Gardner received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 and graduated with highest honors from the UNC School of Law in 1974. He was a member of the NC Law Review, President of the Student Bar Foundation and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Following graduation, Max served as Senior Law Clerk to the Hon. William H. Bobbitt, the late Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and to the Hon. J. William Copeland, an Associate Justice with the Supreme Court. He worked as an Associate with Smith Moore in Greensboro, North Carolina, until 1977, when he opened a consumer bankruptcy law practice in Shelby.

Max has been the attorney of record in numerous landmark cases including Myrtle Marshall vs Spindale Savings, Marjorie White vs Duke University Medical School, and the Shelby Yarn Employee litigation. He individually represented the 650 former employees of Shelby Yarn who filed an involuntary Chapter 7 against their employer and subsequently recovered more than $2,200,000 in damages against the former officers, directors and stockholders.

Max has been the attorney of record in numerous landmark cases including Myrtle Marshall vs Spindale Savings, Marjorie White vs Duke University Medical School, and the Shelby Yarn Employee litigation. He individually represented the 650 former employees of Shelby Yarn who filed an involuntary Chapter 7 against their employer and subsequently recovered more than $2,200,000 in damages against the former officers, directors and stockholders.

Max was named the Outstanding Consumer Lawyer of 2004 by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyers and was elected a Member of the North Carolina Legal Elite by Business North Carolina in December of 2004 and again in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He was also recognized as one of the “Super Lawyers” in North Carolina by the Charlotte Magazine and by Law & Politics in 2006, 2007, 2008, and again in 2009.

Matt Germann

Director of Product Development

Matt Germann is the Director of Product Development at and has an expertise in Photoshop, HTML, and Google Best Practices. Before moving into Product Development, Matt was the top salesman on the Member Representative Team. In addition, Matt is Google certified in SEO, Adwords, and Yext Partners. Prior to joining the team, Matt worked for both the National Hockey League and Eyewitness News at WABC-TV in New York City. He received his Bachelor's degree from Marist College, where he studied Communications and minored in Business.

Miriam Goott, Esq.

Miriam was born in Riga, Latvia and moved to Houston, Texas in 1980. Miriam was raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Psychology in 1999. Following graduation, Miriam attended St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, TX. During law school Miriam clerked for a small consumer bankruptcy firm for two years where she realized her desire and passion to practice bankruptcy law. Miriam was a Judicial Intern to the Honorable Leif M. Clark for six months before graduating from law school in 2002. After law school, Miriam returned to Houston and has practiced bankruptcy law with the law firm of Walker & Patterson, P.C. since 2003. Miriam’s practice consists primarily of consumer bankruptcy representation. A large portion of her practice focuses on all forms of bankruptcy litigation in representing debtors, creditors and chapter 7 trustees. Miriam is the vice-chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the Houston Bar Association. She is currently a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Houston Association of Young Bankruptcy Lawyers. For the last year, Miriam has been a participant in the Honorable David R. Jones’ Bankruptcy litigation class. Miriam is fluent in Russian.

David Gunn, Esq.

David Gunn graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology in 1999 and from law school at the same institution in 2003. David has practiced consumer bankruptcy since 2004. He is a co-editor for the bankruptcy section of the Missouri Bar's Courts Bulletin, and monthly publication summarizing case law developments in Missouri. He is also a member of the standing local rules committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

James Haller, Esq.

The Law Offices of Mueller and Haller, L.L.C., Belleville, Illinois

Mr. Haller is a partner with William Mueller at The Law Offices of Mueller and Haller, LLC. Their firm files approximately 2-3,000 consumer bankruptcies annually with four offices and eleven attorneys in St. Louis and throughout southern Illinois. He received his B.A. from Carleton College and his J.D. from Washington University. Jim is a current member of NACBA’s Board of Directors and serves on the standing Rules Committee for the Bankruptcy Court of Southern District of Illinois. He co-founded the local bankruptcy bar association (BASIL) in 2004. Jim and his office, in partnership with Judge Laura Grandy, started and is organizing and administering the local Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CURE) outreach program to educate high school students about credit in the Southern District of Illinois. He has served as a panelist for several organizations including ABI, NACBA, NACTT, the Bankruptcy Association of Southern Illinois (BASIL), the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Illinois Housing in Action, the Illinois Attorney General's office, and the Land of Lincoln Legal Services. His published works include James J. Haller, What Till vs. SCS Credit Corp. Means for Your Chapter 13 Clients, 92 Ill.B.J. 9, 478-482 (2004); James J. Haller & William A. Mueller, The New Bankruptcy Law: A Consumer Lawyer's Guide, 93 Ill.B.J. 9, 454-460 (2005); James J. Haller, Rachel A. Hill, William A. Mueller, Chapter One: Getting a Consumer Bankruptcy Started in Consumer Bankruptcy Practice, 1-1 to 1-36 (IICLE, 2011); James J. Haller, Creativity Alive in Chapter 13 Plans after Espinosa, ABI Journal 40, 94 (April 2011). Email:

Joel G. Hargis, Esq.

Joel G. Hargis is graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a double emphasis in political science and English.  Joel received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.  He is currently admitted to practice law in the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Supreme Court, and the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.  Since obtaining his license, Joel has focused his practice exclusively in the area bankruptcy, debtors’ rights, consumer protection, and bankruptcy litigation.

Joel was an invited panelist to the 2008 Debtor/Creditor Bar Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he spoke about application of payments and general abuses of mortgage servicers in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.  He has also been an invited speaker at the 2010 Northeast Arkansas Debtor/Creditor Bar Caonfrence, the 2011 NACA Conference in Memphsis, TN, Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association 2012 Conference, and the 2011 American Bankrutpcy Institute Memphsis Conference.  Joel was awarded NACBA's Destinguished Service Award and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association's Presidents Award.

Joel has been appointed to the Bankruptcy Bar Advisory Committee for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The Committee focuses on areas of common concern for bankruptcy practitioners, ways for the Bankruptcy Clerk's office to improve operations and implementing changes in the Bankruptcy Court's and Clerk's office procedures. The Committee is comprised of practicing debtor and creditor bankruptcy attorneys as well as the Assistant United States Trustee, a Standing Chapter 13 Trustee, a Standing Chapter 7 Trustee and the Clerk of Court. Committee membership is organized by the Bankruptcy Clerk, based on a selection process with the Bankruptcy Judges.

In the fall of 2006, Joel attended a five day 12 hour a day intensive training session in bankruptcy litigation at O. Max Gardener’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp.

Joel is listed amoung Mid-South Super Lawyers 2011 "Rising Stars" in the areas of Bankruptcy & Credit/Debtor Rights and Consumer Law.

Professional Associations: 
•Arkansas Bar Association, Member
•Craighead County Bar Association, Member
•National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
•Debtor / Creditor Bar of Central Arkansas

Hon. David R. Jones

Colleen Joyce

Vice President Lawyer Services

Colleen Joyce has been instrumental in the growth and development of since it launched in 2008. Currently managing the day-to-day Lawyer Services at, Colleen ensures that's Premium Members receive optimal value. Certified in Google Adwords, Google SEO, and Yext Partners, Colleen strives to stay current with legal marketing trends. Before assembling the team, Colleen grew her networking skills as Director of Marketing & Publicity at Colleen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois with her degree in Liberal Studies.

Jay Jump, Esq.

Jay S. Jump, of the Jump Law Group, is a consumer protection attorney practicing in bankruptcy, FDCPA, and identity theft.  Mr. Jump has represented thousands of debtors seeking a fresh start, as well as creditors, both large and small, including the State of Utah and Koren Airlines.  Mr. Jump does not represent institutional creditors in bankruptcy court.  

He also owns and operates, along with his wife, Kathryn,, a mailing and noticing service for bankruptcy practitioners across the United States, including the UST-DOJ, panel trustees, and Chapter 13 trustees. Mr. Jump is the former NACBA Washington State Chair.  Mr. Jump received his undergrad degree from the UNiversity of Arizona and his law degree from Gonzaga School of Law.    

Hon. Susan V. Kelley

Hon. Susan V. Kelley is a Bankruptcy Judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, based in Milwaukee. Prior to her appointment, she was a partner in the Madison office of Michael, Best & Friedrich and also practiced with the Madison law firms of Lee, Kilkelly, Paulson & Younger and Murphy & Desmond, and the Baltimore firm of Weinberg and Green (now Saul Ewing). While a practitioner, she earned a certification as a Business Bankruptcy specialist by the American Board of Certification. Judge Kelley is active in the State Bar of Wisconsin, having served as Chair of the Bankruptcy Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section as a member of the Board of Governors, including the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors. She is editor in chief of Ginsberg & Martin on Bankruptcy and an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School. She received her J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a B.A from Marquette University during the “glory years” of Coach Al McGuire.

Chelsey Lambert

Chelsey Lambert is Vice President of Communications at Smokeball, a provider of productivity software for small law firms, based in Chicago, IL. Her mission is to help attorneys, and legal professionals understand the technology that is available to them, how to use it, and the positive impacts it can have on their business. As a former Practice Management Advisor for the Chicago Bar Association, she is an expert in small law firm processes, marketing, technology, and law practice management education. In her spare time, she enjoys a good yoga class, volunteering, and taking in the sunshine on Chicago’s beautiful lakeshore.

Patrick Layng, Esq.

On December 10, 2010, Patrick S. Layng was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder as U.S. Trustee for the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin (Region 11).

For the six years previous, Mr. Layng was a Regional Criminal Coordinator for the U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) with responsibility for prosecuting bankruptcy-related cases as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, providing consultation and guidance for law enforcement and USTP personnel on criminal bankruptcy fraud issues, and lecturing extensively on bankruptcy crimes, mortgage fraud, and related topics. Prior to that, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for more than 14 years. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Layng was law clerk to the Honorable Stanley J. Roszkowski, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (retired). 

Mr. Layng has tried nearly 40 federal criminal trials and argued 14 cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He received his law degree cum laude from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Law School and his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Commerce.

Jabez LeBret

Jabez Lebret is co-author of the Amazon #1 best-selling legal technology book Online Law Practice Strategies. He is an international technology and marketing expert who has delivered CLE presentations at the Alaska, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Wyoming, and Indiana State Bar Associations, the ABA and LMA, plus over 50 other bar associations. Jabez writes a regular business and technology column for Forbes and is also an occasional contributor to the ABA Journal and NBC Chicago. Jabez is also co-founder of the law firm marketing agency Get Noticed Get Found, Inc

David Leibowitz, Esq.

David Leibowitz is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading consumer bankruptcy attorneys. He is board certified both as a consumer bankruptcy attorney and a business bankruptcy attorney. He has served as a chapter 7 trustee for more than 25 years. He is past co-chair of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s consumer bankruptcy committee, the coordinating editor of the “Consumer Corner” column for the ABI Journal and a member of the Advisory Board for the ABI Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference.

He is noted for his work in the area of the mortgages in bankruptcy. His monograph “Residential Mortgage Issues in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases” was published in Norton’s Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law in 2008. He is also a contributing author to Bloomberg Law: Bankruptcy Treatise published in 2014. David is a frequent speaker at national, state and local bankruptcy conferences, having appeared at NACBA’s conferences on several occasions.

David is admitted to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin and Arizona and has been in practice for more than 40 years.

David Levin, Esq.

David Levin is a partner in the Consumer Rights Litigation department at UpRight Law LLC. Mr. Levin has practiced in the area of plaintiff's consumer protection litigation for over 16 years. UpRight Law represents consumers in 43 states for Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies. UpRight Law's Consumer Rights Litigation department handles claims in the bankruptcy courts for violation of the automatic stay and discharge injunction, as well as claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, various state debt collection statutes and other related consumer protection laws.

Prior to becoming a partner at UpRight Law, Mr. Levin was the founding partner of his own law firm handling similar claims, as well as cases under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and various state lemon laws and consumer sales practices laws. Prior to that, Mr. Levin managed and developed the Ohio practice of a large, national consumer protection firm. Mr. Levin is admitted to practice in the States of Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia, as well as several United States District Courts.

Hon. Keith M. Lundin

Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (1982—) Judge, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit (1997-99) Adjunct Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Law Adjunct Professor, Emory University School of Law

Visiting Professor, University of New Mexico School of Law Member, National Bankruptcy Conference Assistant Editor, The American Bankruptcy Law Journal (1990-91) Contributing Editor, Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice, (West Group) (Chapter 13) Managing Editor, NORTON BANKRUPTCY LAW ADVISER, (West Group)

Keith M. Lundin & William H. Brown, CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY, FOURTH EDITION (Bankruptcy Press),

Steve Lundin

Steve Lundin is the Chief Hunter and Gatherer of BIGfrontier, a Chicago media strategy boutique. He is an award winning marketing professional, journalist and pop culture anthropologist. He has written hundreds of feature stories for a diverse assortment of regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, International Watch and Aviation History. He is a marketing columnist for Commpro and Mediapost. As a marketer he has worked with over 200 companies ranging from two guys in a garage to Fortune 100. He has consulted for nearly ten law firms and is the former Chief Marketing Officer of the famous Chicago law firm, Holleb and Coff. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and did his graduate work in counseling psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

Lundin has won numerous national awards from the Business Marketing Association, League of Professional Communicators, Publicity Club of Chicago and the Public Relations Society of America; this includes numerous golds, best of shows and a coveted Telly. He has spoken for many organizations including PRSA, AMA, AdFed and SXSW. He is frequently quoted in marketing magazines and is the author of the Amazon top 100 business satire, The Manipulator. Beyond all the traditional industry accolades, Lundin’s most satisfying recognition occurred when his “making sauerkraut sexy campaign” was cited as a question on NPR’s “Wait, wait don’t tell me!”

Robert McKenzie, Esq.

Robert E. McKenzie is a partner of the law firm of Arnstein & Lehr LLP of Chicago, Illinois, concentrating his practice in representation before the Internal Revenue Service and state agencies. He has lectured extensively on the subject of taxation. He has presented courses before thousands of CPA’s, attorneys and enrolled agents nationwide. He has made numerous media appearances including Dateline NBC and The ABC Nightly News. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. McKenzie was employed by the Internal Revenue Service, Collection Division, in Chicago, Illinois. Since entering private practice, he has dedicated a major portion of his time to representation before the IRS. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. McKenzie was a member of the IRS Advisory Council, which advises IRS management. He was council director of the ABA Tax Section (1998-2001). He was vice chair of the ABA Tax Section (2003-2005). Mr. McKenzie is past chairman of the Employment Tax Committee, past co-chair of the Task Force for Bankruptcy Legislation of the ABA Section on Taxation and past chairman of the Chicago Bar Association Federal Tax Committee. He was dean of the National Tax Practice Institute (1998-2002). Mr. McKenzie serves on Arnstein & Lehr’s Executive Committee.

Eugene S. Melchionne, Esq.

Gene Melchionne is a native of Waterbury, Connecticut and currently resides and practices there. He is an avid boater, amateur musician, and MacUser, spending every weekend on his boat with his guitar and iPad. He is a member of the Board of Directors for National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He graduated from Drake University School of Law in 1980 where he received the American Jurisprudence Award for academic excellence. In 2007, he was appointed to the Supreme Court’s Commission on Foreclosures, a role he continues in to this day. Formerly, Melchionne was Vice President of the Waterbury Credit Bureau and a member of the Northwestern Regional Council of the American Institute of Banking and the only attorney to receive its prestigious Ken Kovel Award. He has also been repeatedly recognized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Pro Bono service to indigent consumers.

Gene is a long-time member of NACBA and a national speaker on bankruptcy law, consumer representation and use of technology in the law office. He has been featured on the PBS show “NOW“, appeared on a segment of “Your Money” on CNN and the CBS Evening News. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, Business Week, the Connecticut Law Tribune and numerous Connecticut newspapers. He has testified before the Connecticut legislature and in court as an expert in bankruptcy law issues.

Jill A. Michaux, Esq.

Neis & Michaux, P.A., Topeka, Kentucky

Jill A. Michaux was appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts to a three-year term on the national Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules on November 30, 2012. She practices law with the firm of Neis & Michaux, P.A., of Topeka, Kansas. She was a founding member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and served on its board of directors six years from 1993 to 1999. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree and from the Washburn University School of Law with Dean's Honors in 1982. Michaux and Mark Neis, her husband and law partner, are the only Topeka attorneys, and two of seven in Kansas, to be board certified in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Bankruptcy Certification. Michaux is a founding member and past president of Topeka Area Bankruptcy Council and the Kansas Bar Association Bankruptcy and Insolvency Section. She blogs on her own site, She served as judge for the Municipal Court of the City of Rossville, Kansas, for 16 years until 2010.

Juan E. Milanes, Esq.

Juan E. Milanés, has established an outstanding reputation not only with his clients, but within the legal communities of Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Puerto Rico for his dedication, work ethic, integrity and commitment to excellence. In 1988, Mr. Milanés obtained his Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Houston, Texas. In 1991, he graduated from the top-rated Washington College of Law at The American University in Washington, DC.

Before embarking upon his legal career as a Trial Attorney and Federal Prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 1996, Mr. Milanés worked at a major Washington, D.C. law firm and at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Mr. Milanés has experience in the areas of federal civil and commercial litigation, federal criminal defense, civil rights litigation, mediation, bankruptcy, aviation and admiralty torts, and personal injury litigation.

During nearly twelve years as a government attorney, Mr. Milanés held several positions, including: Trial Attorney with the Aviation and Admiralty Office at DOJ; Attorney-Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD; Bilingual (Spanish/English) Trainer for the Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training Office (OPDAT) at DOJ; and Assistant Director for EEO at the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

Mr. Milanés is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He is also licensed to practice in the U.S. Court of Claims and U.S. District and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the District of Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and Southern District of Texas. In addition, he is admitted to the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Federal, First and Fourth Circuits.

Mr. Milanes serves as a board member of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia, is a member and past-President of the Hispanic Bar Association of the Commonwealth of Virginia (an HNBA Affiliate), and serves on the Virginia State Bar's Council of Local and Specialty Bar Associations.

Debra L. Miller

Standing Trustee for the Northern District of Indiana

Debra Miller is the appointed Standing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne and South Bend Divisions. She is active in the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees, serves as Incoming President of the NACTT Executive Board and is the former chair of the NACTT Mortgage Committee. Debra graduated from Baldwin Wallace College with a B.S. in Political Science and obtained her J.D. from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. She testified before the Sub-committee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate on May 6, 2008 for “Policing Lenders and Protecting Home-Owners: Is Misconduct in Bankruptcy Fueling the Foreclosure Crisis? Prior to her appointment in 2000, she served as the staff attorney for Gary D. Boyn, Chapter 7 panel Trustee at Warrick and Boyn LLP in Elkhart and as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Sanford Brook. She has two children and in a prior life, Debra served as a Special Agent for the United States Secret Service in the Cleveland Field Office where she specialized in Credit Card and White Collar Fraud.

Andy Miofsky, Esq.

Attorney Owner
A Bankruptcy Attorney Andy Miofsky, Granite City, IL

Andy Miofsky has over 30 years trial experience representing debtors in bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosures and associated consumer matters throughout Southern Illinois. His storefront office is automated and relies heavily on internet technology, bringing tall building law to down-toearth people. Andy attended University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and received an undergraduate liberal arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, studying Political Science and Economics. He graduated from Washington University School of Law where he studied Debtor Creditor Rights and Bankruptcy law with Professor Michael Greenfield and Real Property Real Estate law with Professor David Becker and where his intramural football team, Criminal Element, won the graduate school league championship.

Andy is the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys State Chair for Downstate Illinois and a past member in the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He regularly participates as a seminar speaker in mortgage oreclosure, credit card defense and Fair Debt Collection. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week Online and various Associated Press stories. His segment, “Facing the Foreclosure Crisis: Granite City”, appeared on local Public Television. Andy is currently involved in a project with a group of lawyers across the country developing a strategy designed to help clients modify student loans.

Andy is an avid bow hunter, fisherman, and naturalist – hobbies he practices on his Kampsville, Illinois, farm. His community service includes serving as a Hearing Officer for the Madison County, Illinois, Code Enforcement Unit, and as a past president of the Granite City Library District. Andy and his wife have three children, two cats, an authentic Max & Victoria Gardner Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and they feed a variety of wild birds at their Glen Carbon, Illinois, home. Andy is an original founding member and contributing blogger of the Bankruptcy Law Network

Cathleen Moran, Esq.

Cathleen Moran has practiced bankruptcy law in the Silicon Valley of California for 31 years, representing debtors, creditors, and trustees. She is certified as a specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California and has particular interest in the intersection of bankruptcy law and the fields of family law and tax..

Cathy is the author of Bankruptcy in Brief, found at Currently she writes for consumers on bankruptcy issues at and on issues for lawyers new to consumer bankruptcy law at

Cathy serves as the Northern California chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Vice President of the Bankruptcy Law Network. She is a frequent speaker at NACBA conventions, as well as at local and regional bankruptcy forums.

Chris Mullins

Chris Mullins, started her career 28 years ago as The Phone Sales Doctor™ and CEO of Mullins Media Group, LLC, helping hundreds of companies improve their use of the telephone through mystery call shopping, script architecture, sales and staff coaching. Chris is an expert at dramatically increasing appointments (sales) from your existing incoming calls. She is legendary for coaching law firms, intake specialists, attorneys, all types of business owners and sales professionals to "No Excuses" peak productivity. Chris Mullins and team of In-House Certified Coaches with the clients; permission, listens to your phone calls to design an incoming and outbound sales call script for you that is easy to implement and instantly makes you more money.

Ryan Pitz started his career as the Internet Marketing Manager for nationally recognized sales training company, The Brooks Group. He is an expert in lead generation, lead tracking and conversion. In 2007 Ryan started New Call Solutions™, a business development firm dedicated to helping law firms and other professional service businesses measure marketing ROI and improve lead conversion. Ryan has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in sales training, call tracking technology and the best way to use call tracking to get results in your business.

Chris Mullins and Ryan Pitz joined forces and are the Co-Founders of the INTAKE ACADEMY(tm) system for the legal industry. The INTAKE ACADEMY™, LLC, offers strategies and training for intake specialists, lawyers, paralegals, call center agents, receptionists and business owners to grow their firm by converting more callers to qualified cases, rapidly qualify good cases and transform unqualified prospects to advocates for your firm, whether you're able to handle their case or not. You'll discover how to cement relationships with more of your ideal clients, get them to commit to you, and send you more referrals than you every thought possible. or call our New Hampshire Office: 603-924-1640

Hon. Cynthia Norton

Cynthia A. Norton graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kansas in 1981 with a double major in French and Art History. She received her law degree from the same institution in May 1984. She clerked for the Hon. John E. Rees of the Kansas Court of Appeals, and the Hon. James A. Pusateri, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, and was a partner at Lewis Rice & Fingersh in Kansas City, before establishing her own law firm in 1995. As a member of Grimes & Rebein, Judge Norton practiced in bankruptcy and related fields in Kansas and Missouri until being sworn in as a bankruptcy judge in the Western District of Missouri on February 1, 2013. She is the recipient of the Michael R. Roser Excellence in Bankruptcy Award, and the Robert L. Gernon Award for Outstanding Contribution to CLE, as well as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. Judge Norton has authored numerous articles and seminar papers, and spoken at conferences all around the country. She and her husband reside in Parkville, Missouri.

Karen Oakes, Esq.

Oakes Law Offices, P.C., Klamath Falls, Oregon

Ms. Oakes graduated from Averett College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1995. While in law school at the University of Idaho, College of Law, Ms. Oakes began a significant involvement in community service. She also was accepted to the Idaho Law Review and participated in the Legal Aid Clinic. Upon graduation in 1998, Ms. Oakes accepted the position of law clerk to the five circuit court judges of Klamath County and one circuit court judge of Lake County. In 1999, Ms. Oakes began work as a deputy district attorney at the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office, specializing in domestic violence prosecution. Also in 1999, Ms. Oakes began teaching at the Oregon Institute of Technology as an adjunct professor in the paralegal studies program. Ms. Oakes began private practice in September 2001, as a general practice legal services office. From 2001 through 2004, the cases handled by the office were mostly family law, estate planning and landlord-tenant (representing tenants). However, in 2004, the practice evolved into a consumer protection law firm, exclusively handling bankruptcy cases, FDCPA cases, and FCRA cases. In 2004 Ms. Oakes was elected to the bench as justice of the peace for Klamath County and was re-elected in 2010 for a second six-year term. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Oregon Trial Attorneys Association, the Oregon State Bar, the National Women Judge's Association, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, NACBA, and the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees. Ms. Oakes is currently serving on the Executive Committee for the Debtor/Creditor Section of the Oregon State Bar, the Unlawful Practice of Law Committee for the Oregon State Bar, and participates in the C.A.R.E. program administered through the Eugene Division of the Oregon Bankruptcy Court. She attended the NACTT Bankruptcy Academy in 2011 and Max Gardner's Boot Camp in 2006. Ms. Oakes was one of the original founding members of Bankruptcy Law Network and is currently serving a term as president of Bankruptcy Law Network.

Theda Page, Esq.

In 2002 Théda W. Page opened The Page Law Firm, which focuses on bankruptcy and familiy law. Théda began her legal career in 1986 representing debtors in consumer and business bankruptcies with a boutique law firm in Dallas and then with a sole member firm. She considers herself a reconstructionist because she helps people reconstruct their lives as they move through difficult circumstances.

Prior to opening her own firm, Théda work for J. C. Penney Company, Inc. in the corporate legal department where she developed and implemented a consumer bankruptcy rights enforcement project for the company’s credit service centers and represented the company in bankruptcy courts across the country. She was named Manager of Public Relations for JCPenney in 1997. Théda was named Director of Corporate Media Relations for Sabre Holdings Corporation in Fort Worth in 1999 and subsequently named Director of Worldwide Media Relations for Sabre. She is a member of the Bankruptcy Section and the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, as well as an active member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, particularly in the areas of advocacy and legislative initiatives. She is also a member of the College of the State Bar and the Texas Bar Foundation.

Théda was voted Best Bankruptcy Attorney in Frisco in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the Readers’ Choice Edition of the Frisco Enterprise and Best Bankrupty Attorney in Little Elm in 2012 in the Readers Choice Edition of the Little Elm Journal.

She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. She earned her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Théda is married to Julian Brice and lives in Frisco. She and her husband are members of One Community Church in Plano. Do you know what it means to “tink?” Théda is an avid knitter and would be happy to explaining how “tinking” is a lot like being a reconstructionist for her clients.

Chip Parker, Esq.

Chip Parker founded Parker & DuFresne, P.A. in 1994, just two years out of law school. His father, one of the first practicing bankruptcy lawyers in Florida, told him to pursue a bankruptcy practice because it’s recession-proof. “When times are good, business is good, and when times are bad, business is great.” What his father failed to realize is exactly how dramatically the practice of bankruptcy law would change over the last decade.

In 2007, just two years after BAPCPA, the subprime meltdown was in full swing, and Chapter 13 was impotent to stop the massive home loss that followed. Chip’s firm turned its attention to state court, and created one of the seminal foreclosure defense practices in America. Over the years, P&D has defended more than 700 foreclosures and created the business model that became the standard of the industry. P&D was twice recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal as the fastest growing law firm in Northeast Florida, and Chip earned their Ultimate CEO Award.

Chip recognized the importance of legal aid, not only as a source of assistance for our most vulnerable citizens, but also as a wealth of outstanding legal scholarship. His work with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (the true pioneers of consumer protection and foreclosure litigation) has earned him their Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.

Currently, P&D files more Chapter 13 cases, confirms more plans and has successfully completed more mortgage modifications than any other firm in Northeast Florida. In addition, Chip’s firm regularly sues mortgage servicers and debt collectors in state and federal court, including a pending class action against FNMA’s largest debt collector.

Chip has attended Max’s bankruptcy and securitization boot camps as well as Peter Barry’s FDCPA Boot Camp. He has appeared in articles the New York Times, the Reuters and Associated Press news services, Rolling Stone Magazine, National Law Journal, Financial Times of London, The Florida Bar News, and numerous Florida newspapers. Chip has been interviewed on CNN, Al Jazeera America, CBS Evening News, and every local news station. Chip is a founding member of Bankruptcy Law Network and is Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™ (whatever that means).

Chip’s business philosophy is simple: Adapt or die.

Johnie Patterson, Esq.

Mr. Patterson is a founding partner in the Houston law firm of Walker & Patterson, P.C. His practice consists primarily of consumer bankruptcy representation and bankruptcy litigation. Before practicing in Houston, he earned his B.A. in finance at Southern Methodist University and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University. Following law school, Mr. Patterson practiced bankruptcy law with the law firm of Creel & Atwood in Dallas. He is currently a member of NACBA and is a past council member of the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Hon. Pamela Pepper

Judge Pepper received her B.S. in theater from Northwestern University, and her J.D. from Cornell Law School. While at Cornell Law, she was co-winner of the Sutherland Moot Court cup, a notes editor on the Cornell Law Review, and a teaching assistant. After graduating law school, she clerked for the late Frank M. Johnson, Jr. on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1990, she joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, and moved to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 1994. In 1997, she left government practice, and spent eight years as a solo criminal defense practitioner. She represented clients at the investigative, pre-trial, trial, appellate and post-conviction stages in federal courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as in state courts in southeastern Wisconsin. She holds a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from Marquette University's graduate school, and has taught as an adjunct professor at Marquette Law School in the areas of legal writing and law practice management. She was appointed to the bankruptcy bench for the Eastern District of Wisconsin by the Seventh Circuit on July 5, 2005, and served as chief judge of the Eastern District of Wisconsin bankruptcy court from July 2010 to December 2014. In May 2014, President Obama nominated her to a seat on the district court bench for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Senate confirmed her nomination on November 20, 2014, and she was sworn in to the district court bench on December 8, 2014.

Judge Pepper is a former secretary and former chair of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Wisconsin. She is past treasurer, and a current member, of the Association for Women Lawyers. She served on the board of Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin from its inception until her appointment to the bench, and on the board of the State Public Defender of Wisconsin for two years. She is a former president of the Milwaukee Bar Association. Until her appointment to the bench, she was general editor of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association's newsletter, The Circuit Rider. She is an ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association. She is a member of the NACTT Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education, and a faculty member of the Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute. She is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, formerly served as education director and chair of its Consumer Bankruptcy Committee, and currently serves on the board of directors. She belongs to the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, having served a term as the Seventh Circuit representative on the Board of Governors, and serving as secretary for the 2013-14 year. She also has served on the national conference education committee, and chaired that committee for the 2014 conference in Chicago. She completed two terms as an associate editor of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal. She has served on the Human Resources Advisory Council of the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, currently serves on the OSCAR working group for the Administrative Office, and speaks at Federal Judicial Center programs (where she serves as a member of the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Education). She is a frequent speaker for other bankruptcy organizations on topics such as the rules of evidence in bankruptcy, the intersection of criminal and bankruptcy law, and litigation skills.

Ronald R. Peterson, Esq.

Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, IL

Ronald R. Peterson concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial, insolvency and bankruptcy law. A fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, he focuses primarily on representing debtors, trustees, creditors, committees, landlords and secured lenders in Chapter 11 cases. In addition to his insolvency litigation practice, Mr. Peterson counsels clients on a variety of transactional issues, including corporate restructurings.

Since 2003, Chambers & Partners has named him one of the country’s leading lawyers in bankruptcy law. He is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Mr. Peterson is a member of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Workout and Corporate Reorganization and Bankruptcy Litigation Practices. He is also a member of the Real Estate and Construction Litigation and Corporate Finance Practices and the Real Estate Finance Litigation and Workout Task Force.

Mr. Peterson has been a member of the panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division since 1987. He has presided over numerous complex commercial cases, including Stotler & Co, the country’s 10th largest commodities house, and Lancelot Investment, a $1.7 billion Ponzi scheme. Mr. Peterson has also served as examiner in Robert Lund, a large real estate developer and the Chairman of the Creditors’ Committee in Thomas J. Petters, a $3.5 billion Ponzi Scheme. Mr. Peterson is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, Commercial Law League of America and the Business Bankruptcy Committee of the Business Law Section and the Bankruptcy Litigation Committee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association. He is a Director of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees and is also a member of INSOL (International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals). Mr. Peterson is a prolific lecturer and writer on bankruptcy and commercial law issues.

Prof. John Pottow

John A. E. Pottow, the John Philip Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of bankruptcy and commercial law. His award-winning scholarship concentrates on the issues involved in the regulation of cross-border insolvencies as well as consumer financial distress. On behalf of the International Insolvency Institute, Prof. Pottow serves as an NGO observer for the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Groups on Insolvency and Arbitration. He has published in prominent legal journals in the United States and Canada and testified before Congress. An oft-invited lecturer, he has presented his works at academic conferences around the world and frequently provides commentary for national and international media outlets, such as NPR, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera America, and the BBC. He also has argued bankruptcy cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including his successful pro bono representation of the respondent in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison (2014).

Prof. Pottow joined the faculty in 2003. Prior to coming to Michigan, he worked at several bankruptcy firms, including Weil, Gotshal and Manges of New York and the former Hill & Barlow of Boston. His practice focused on debtor representation in complex Chapter 11 restructurings. He also was an active litigator whose cases included representing a gender-based asylum seeker from Afghanistan in U.S. Immigration Court and a small bankruptcy party before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He holds an AB in psychology, summa cum laude, from Harvard College and a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he served as treasurer of the Harvard Law Review. Prof. Pottow clerked for the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and the Hon. Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is licensed as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario and as an attorney in Massachusetts and Michigan. In 2005, he was presented the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching and, in 2012, received a pro bono award from the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Daniel Press, Esq.

Chung & Press, P.C., McLean, Virginia

Daniel M. Press is a bankruptcy lawyer with the law firm of Chung & Press, P.C., in McLean Virginia and Cumberland and Greenbelt Maryland. A 1988 magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he was an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. He received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University. After graduating from law school, Mr. Press served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Jaime Pieras Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Mr. Press and his law partner Brett Weiss are the authors of Individual Bankruptcy Under Chapter 11, published by Collier/Lexis-Nexis.

Mr. Press practices in the Bankruptcy and Federal District Courts in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, as well as other U.S. Appellate, District and Bankruptcy Courts around the country. He is a State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and a member of the Section Council of the Consumer Bankruptcy Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. He has spoken on bankruptcy and related topics at Continuing Legal Education seminars and programs locally and nationwide sponsored by groups such as NACBA, the Virginia Bar Association, Virginia CLE, the Maryland State Bar Association, Minnesota CLE, and the Bankruptcy Bar Association for the District of Maryland.​

John Rao, Esq.

NCLC, Boston, Massachusetts

John Rao is an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, Inc. Mr. Rao focuses on consumer credit and bankruptcy issues and has served as a panelist and instructor at numerous bankruptcy and consumer law trainings and conferences. He has served as an expert witness in court cases and has testified in Congress on consumer matters. Mr. Rao is a contributing author and editor of NCLC's Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice; co-author of NCLC's Foreclosures; Bankruptcy Basics; Guide to Surviving Debt; and NCLC Reports: Bankruptcy and Foreclosures Edition, and contributing author to NCLC's Student Loan Law. He is also a contributing author to Collier on Bankruptcy and the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide. Mr. Rao serves as a member of the federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules, appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2006. He is a conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, vice-president for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and former board member for the American Bankruptcy Institute. He is an adjunct faculty member at Boston College School of Law. Mr. Rao is a graduate of Boston University and received his J.D. in 1982 from the University of California (Hastings).

Susanne M. Robicsek, Esq.

Solo Practitioner: Law Office of Susanne M. Robicsek, Charlotte, North Carolina

Susanne M. Robicsek, an attorney in Charlotte North Carolina, has concentrated in the field of bankruptcy law since 1988. She established her law firm in 1993.

  • J.D. Wake Forest Law School 1987
  • B.E.D. Architecture NC State Univ. 1982
  • Former law clerk to Judge Rufus Reynolds, US Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • Past Chair of Bankruptcy Section Council of the North Carolina Bar Association
  • Founding member of

Mary Robinson, Esq.

Mary Robinson is a principal in the Robinson Law Group, LLC, where she provides representation, consultation, and expert witness services in matters involving lawyer ethics and professional responsibility, including ARDC defense.  She also serves as Shakman Compliance Administrator for Cook County, Illinois, by appointment of the federal court overseeing implementation of decrees which prohibit unlawful political employment practices by the County.  

Ms. Robinson began her legal career in 1975 with the Illinois State Appellate Defender in that agency’s Third District office in Ottawa, and was later promoted as Deputy for the Agency’s Second District Office in Elgin. In 1982, she entered private practice concentrating in appellate, criminal and family law.  In 1989, Ms. Robinson was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a Commissioner of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), and in 1992, she was appointed as the ARDC’s Administrator, responsible for managing the agency and supervising its investigative and prosecutorial work.   She served as Administrator for fifteen years, until 2007, when she left to start her own practice.  

Ms. Robinson is a frequent speaker for national, state and local bar association programs on ethics and professional responsibility issues.  She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Kane County Bar Association, and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and has served on numerous bar association committees, including the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility which writes the ABA ethics opinions. She has taught Professional Responsibility at Northwestern University Law School and Northern Illinois University School of Law. She received her law degree from the University of Southern California, and is licensed in Illinois and California.

R. Lee Roland

Raleigh, NC

Mr. Roland practices law with the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, P.C. in Raleigh, North Carolina representing clients in Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies, but also in related consumer rights litigation. Mr. Roland received his B.S. in Business Management from North Carolina State University, his M.B.A. with Honors from the New York Institute of Technology, and his J.D. with Honors from Campbell University School of Law. While in law school, he externed for the Honorable J. Rich Leonard of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Honorable Sanford L. Steelman, Jr. of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and he received the American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence in 2010. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates. He is admitted to practice before the District Courts in the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has recently argued two cases before the Fourth Circuit.


Daliah Saper

Daliah Saper is a Chicago based intellectual property, media, and business attorney that has handled many high profile cases (including one she argued before the Illinois Supreme Court). Daliah is regularly interviewed on national tv, radio, and in several print publications including Fox News, CNBC, ABC News, and The New York Times. For the past 5 years, she has served as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law teaching Entertainment Law; she has also taught Internet Law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law . As a litigator she handles cases involving trademark and copyright infringement, domain names, trade secret misappropriation, right of publicity, defamation, and commercial disputes. As a transactional lawyer she helps clients choose the right business entity, drafts bylaws and operating agreements, negotiates contracts and software licenses, and provides comprehensive trademark and copyright counseling.

Mark Segal

Mark Segal graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance and Commerce with a B.S. in Economics, and received his J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation from New York University. Mr. Segal practices with the law firm of Mark Segal, Chartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, with an emphasis on personal bankruptcy and tax law. His practice also includes all aspects of civil IRS controversy representation. Mr. Segal is admitted to the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court, various U.S. District Courts, the United States Supreme Court, and the New York, Arizona, and Nevada State Bars. He served as Special Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, from 1968 to 1973. He is a member of the American Bar Association Taxation, Business Law and Law Office Management Sections; and the State Bar of Nevada Executive Committees on Taxation and Bankruptcy. He served on the Tax Advisory Committee to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission's Government Working Group in 1997. Mr. Segal has lectured on discharging taxes in bankruptcy at conventions of the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees (NACTT), the State Bar of Nevada, and NACBA's prior conventions. He has been a member of NACBA since its formation in 1992. Mr. Segal was a 2003 recipient of NACBA's Distinguished Service Award.

Martin P. Sheehan

Martin P. Sheehan is a graduate of Tufts University (B.A. (Econ.) 1977) and Duquesne University School of Law (1980). He has served as a panel trustee in West Virginia since 1994. He started his legal career as a law clerk to the late Hon. Hubert I. Teitelbaum, (W.D. Pa.). From 1984 through 1990, Martin was employed as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia. He is a long time member of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees. He began service on the Board of Directors in 2003. He has been Editor - NABTalk,(2005-2008); Executive Committee Member (since 2005); Secretary (2008-09); Treasurer, (2009-10); Vice- President (2010-13); President-Elect (2013-14) and President (2014-Present). Martin is an Adjunct Lecturer at West Virginia University Law School )2006-present). He is a frequent speaker and writer on various bankruptcy topics. Martin has been married since 1977 to Janet A. Sheehan. They have three adult children, and four grandchildren.

James Ike Shulman, Esq.

Shulman Law Offices, San Jose, California

Mr. Shulman received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. Mr. Shulman has practiced bankruptcy law in San Jose, California, since 1986. His practice has been devoted almost entirely to small business and consumer bankruptcy debtors. He is certified as a specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

In 1992, Mr. Shulman led the effort to organize the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to provide consumer debtors with an effective voice in the legislative process. Mr. Shulman served on the NACBA Board of Directors from 1992 to 2004, and was elected its first president in 1992. In 1997 he took over as NACBA Treasurer and also currently serves as Chair of NACBA's Legislative Committee. He has served as a panelist at each of NACBA's annual conventions and has appeared as a speaker at numerous other conventions and seminars. In 1996 and 1997, Mr. Shulman testified on consumer bankruptcy issues before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. In March 1998, he also testified on pending bankruptcy legislation before the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Shulman is a member of the State Bar of California, and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits. In 1989, he organized and served as the first Chair of the Santa Clara County Chapter 13 Committee and served again as its Chair in 1990 and 2002. In 2004, he was selected by the Bankruptcy Judges of the Northern District of California to serve on that Court's Bench-Bar Liaison Committee, and in 2006 was chosen by his colleagues to be Chair of that committee. Also in 2006, he was appointed Chair of the Northern District Bankruptcy Court's Advisory Committee on Rules.

Henry J. Sommer, Esq.

Henry J. Sommer is Supervising Attorney at the pro bono Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project in Philadelphia. He has litigated many major cases involving bankruptcy, consumer law, civil rights and other issues. Previously, he was the head of the Consumer Law Project at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where he worked for over 21 years. Mr. Sommer has also served as a Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and is an Adjunct Professor at Temple University School of Law. He received his A.B. degree from Harvard College, magna cum laude and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude.

Mr. Sommer is Editor in Chief of Collier on Bankruptcy and the entire Collier line of bankruptcy publications. He is the author of Collier Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Guide (Matthew Bender); Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, (9th Ed. 2009) published by the National Consumer Law Center, Boston, Ma., and Consumer Bankruptcy: The Complete Guide to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy (John Wiley & Sons 1994) as well as numerous articles on bankruptcy law. He is the co-author of Collier Family Law and the Bankruptcy Code (Matthew Bender).

Mr. Sommer is a former President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), a former member of the Federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules (appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) and a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference. He is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, a member of the American Law Institute, and a former member of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council. He is also President of the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center and a former Chairman of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference.

He has been asked to testify many times before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, on bankruptcy and consumer law issues. He has served on the faculty of numerous continuing legal education programs including those presented by the Federal Judicial Center, NYU Law School, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, the Executive Office of U.S. Trustees, the ABA Family Law Section, NACBA, ALI-ABA and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Mr. Sommer was the first recipient of the National Consumer Law Center's Vern Countryman Consumer Law Award.

Glenn Stearns, Esq.

Experience: Fifteen years as Standing Chapter Thirteen Trustee in the Eastern Division of the Northern District of Illinois. My office administers all Chapter 13 cases filed in Lake, DuPage, Kane, Will, Kendall, Grundy and LaSalle Counties. This fiscal year my office will receive about 3,200 new cases and will disburse about $82,000,000. We have about 10,300 active cases and 29 full time employees.

Before being appointed Trustee, I spent sixteen years in credit management, most of it in the wholesale distribution of electrical apparatus and industrial automation products with WESCO Distribution, Inc. My first meaningful experience with bankruptcy was as the chairman of creditors committees in two Chapter 11 cases.

Graduate: DePaul University, MBA in Finance 1992

Undergrad: UW Madison, BBA in Management and Marketing 1983

Member of the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees (NACTT).

I have been a speaker or panelist at seminars held by the NACTT, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will County Bar Associations, Illinois State Bar Association, National Business Institute and at United States Trustee Regional Training Seminars in Indiana and Illinois.

Marc Stern, Esq.

Marc S. Stern is a solo practitioner in Seattle, Washington His practice emphasizes complex bankruptcy and insolvency issues. He represents both creditors and debtors in all phases of bankruptcy proceedings. He also represents receivers in state courts, and has been appointed a receiver in state court proceedings. He received his A.B. cum laude in anthropology and political science from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975 and his J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1977. Marc has written numerous articles on bankruptcy and commercial law. He co-authored “Letters for Bankruptcy Lawyers.” He is a frequent speaker at state and national bankruptcy seminars. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the District Courts for both the Eastern and Districts of Washington and all Washington State Courts. He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the American Bar Association. He served as the chair of the ABA GP|Solo Division Bankruptcy Committee from 2001 – 2011. He is recognized as one of the attorneys responsible for the “shall” to “may” change in § 707(b) of the Bankruptcy Abuse Reduction Fiasco. He also co-chaired the working group that resulted in the ABA’s amicus brief in Milavetz.

Maureen Thompson

The Hastings Group LLC, Arlington, Virginia

Ms. Thompson is a senior principal of The Hastings Group LLC, a 20-year-old strategic communications consulting firm that has handled a wide range of Hill, coalition management, investor education, public relations and Web campaigns for a variety of financial-related issues and organizations. For more than a decade, Ms. Thompson has served as NACBA’s legislative director. In that capacity, she has helped build a strong coalition of organizations that support the work of bankruptcy attorneys in seeking a fair bankruptcy code that recognizes the importance of a 'fresh start" for individuals and families facing extreme financial difficulties. Thompson works with NACBA Board and its Legislative Committee to develop and implement a legislative strategy for each Congress.

Felicia Turner Burda, Esq.

Felicia Turner Burda is the principal of Burda Bankruptcy Consulting, LLC (BBC), where she utilizes her over 20 years of uniquely comprehensive and in-depth experience in the bankruptcy field to offer traditional legal representation, consulting and other services in the bankruptcy arena. She formed BBC upon resettling in the Atlanta area full time in late 2010. Examples of matters are having served as the independent auditor of a consumer bankruptcy law firm regarding issues with respect to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (appointed by the bankruptcy court pursuant to the agreement of the law firm and the U.S. Trustee), conducting the solicitation and selection process for a large company to retain chapter 11 counsel, and handling compliance matters, U.S. Trustee and private trustee inquiries, and publications for a large creditors’ firm and national subservicer of mortgages in bankruptcy. Ms. Burda also currently advises a national consumer bankruptcy law firm regarding issues of compliance and U.S. Trustee inquiries, as well as a sophisticated commercial real estate and litigation firm regarding bankruptcy issues.

Immediately prior to forming BBC in 2010, Ms. Burda was the Deputy Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), during which time she honed her already-extensive bankruptcy knowledge from an academic perspective through ABI’s many research and educational activities in the insolvency field, such as publications, conferences, Congressional testimony and web-based benefits. From 2003 to 2007, she was the United States Trustee for Region 21 (and for Region 20 during part of that period), managing 12 offices covering 13 federal judicial districts and four federal circuits in Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. As a U.S. Trustee, she participated as a party in interest in all bankruptcy cases, consumer or business and liquidation or reorganization, to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system, and supervised all private chapters 7 and 13 trustees in those states and territories. Prior to her appointment as a U.S. Trustee, Ms. Burda was a partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of Troutman Sanders, LLP, where she was a member of the bankruptcy practice group and the litigation section, mainly representing creditors, debtors and other parties in interest in chapter 11 cases. Ms. Burda began her legal career practicing with Sullivan, Mountjoy, Stainback & Miller, P.S.C. in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Ms. Burda has been a frequent panelist and speaker at bankruptcy educational and bar meetings all over the country since 2003. She received her law degree from Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina in 1994 and her undergraduate degree in mathematics, magna cum laude, from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 1991. Ms. Burda is licensed to practice in Georgia and Kentucky and admitted to practice in all such state courts, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Ms. Burda’s biggest joy in life is spending time with her husband and daughters. They enjoy travel, hiking, swimming, reading, cooking out, and blowing bubbles.​

Tara Twomey, Esq.

Tara Twomey is currently Of Counsel to the National Consumer Law Center and the Amicus Project Director for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. She has been a Lecturer in Law at Stanford, Harvard and Boston College Law Schools. Ms. Twomey is a former Clinical Instructor at the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School where her practice focused, in part, on sustainable homeownership for low- and moderate-income homeowners. She is a contributing author of several books published by the National Consumer Law Center including, Foreclosures: Defenses, Workouts and Mortgage Servicing and Bankruptcy Basics. Ms. Twomey earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego. After law school, she served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Herbert P. Wilkins of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Hon. Eugene Wedoff

Eugene R. Wedoff has served as a bankruptcy judge in the Northern District of Illinois (in Chicago) since 1987 and as chief judge from 2002 to 2007. He drafted the model Chapter 13 plan used in that district.

Judge Wedoff has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules since 2004 and served as its chair 2010-2014. He was a member of the working group that drafted the means test forms implementing provisions of the 2005 bankruptcy amendment.

Judge Wedoff is currently the past president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. He has served as a member of the NCBJ’s Board of Governors, as its secretary, and as chair of its education committee.

He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and has served as an officer and member of its Executive Committee. He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference. He presided over the Chapter 11 reorganization of United Air Lines.

Judge Wedoff is the author of the chapter on professional employment in Queenan, Hendel and Hillinger, Chapter 11 Theory and Practice (LRP Publications, 1994), and has been an associate editor of The American Bankruptcy Law Journal. His article, “Means Testing in the New § 707(b),” was published by the American Bankruptcy Law Journal in 2005.

Judge Wedoff is a frequent lecturer and has served as a member of the Federal Judicial Center’s Committee on Bankruptcy Judge Education. In 2009, he received the Lawrence P. King Award from the Commercial Law League, and in 1995, he received the Excellence in Education Award from the NCBJ.

Brett Weiss, Esq.

Chung & Press, LLC, Greenbelt, Maryland

Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, has been representing people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy for over 25 years. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization.

Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, published by Lexis-Nexis, and Who Gets the Money? The DIP Account, Liquidation Test and Conversion in Individual Chapter 11 Cases, for the ABI Journal, and authored Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network.

He has been involved in a number of cases of first impression, including Hernandez v. Suburban Hospital, 319 Md. 226 (dischargeability of assignments); Bunch v. Hopkins Savings Bank, 249 B.R. 667 (automatic stay and estate property); In re Tubman, 364 B.R. 574 (prior filing does not lift the stay as to “property of the estate”); In re Baker (No. 05-24007, Bankr. D.Md.)(venue for foreign debtors); Branigan v. Bateman, 515 F.3d. 272 (4th Cir.)(§ 1328(f) applicability and time¬frames); Ford v. Roberson, 420 MD 649 (applicability of ipso facto clauses); In re Maharaj, 681 F.3d 558 (4th Cir.)(the absolute priority rule in individual Chapter 11 cases); and In re Schlehuber, ___F.3d ___ (8th Cir.)(13th Amendment issues in an involuntary Chapter 11).

Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has spoken before the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees, and is a regular speaker before the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attor¬neys, the Maryland Bankruptcy Bar Association and Maryland State Bar Association. He was selected as the consumer presenter for the prestigious American Bankruptcy Institute “Great Debates” in 2014, and serves on the ABI Individual Chapter 11 Task Force. He has testified before the Bankruptcy Rules Committee and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bank¬ruptcy and credit issues.

Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others.

Jeffrey Wong, Esq.

Jeff Wong currently operates a solo practice in Portland, Oregon, which specializes in tax controversies, debtor representation, and bankruptcy.  He is a graduate of Reed College (1978) and the University of Oregon School of Law (1984).  Jeff’s legal career began with fourteen years of service with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.  During ten years of his government service, Jeff was a Special Assistant United States Attorney representing the IRS in bankruptcy cases.  Jeff left government service in 1998 and joined the firm of Greene & Markley, PC in Portland, Oregon, where he formed and managed a tax controversy and bankruptcy department.  He left Greene & Markley in 2009 and began his current solo practice.  Jeff taught various subjects on tax collection and bankruptcy for the IRS during government service, and was a regular participant in the Chief Counsel – Department of Justice Bankruptcy Roundtables during the 90’s, which gave rise to many of the IRS’ current practices and theories in bankruptcy cases.   He has been a frequent speaker and writer for the Oregon State Bar in his private practice on tax and bankruptcy issues.  Jeff has held a Martindale Hubbell AV rating since 1999, has been listed in Best Lawyers of America since 2011, and in Super Lawyers since 2012.  In 2014, Jeff was selected as the Lawyer of the Year in tax controversy and litigation for Portland, Oregon by Best Lawyers. 

Jonathan Yarowsky, Esq.

Jonathan Yarowsky provides strategic advice to clients in an array of areas including antitrust, telecommunications policy, intellectual property, and administrative practice and procedure. Mr. Yarowsky also maintains a robust practice in congressional investigations as well as in antitrust representation. He joined WilmerHale after holding a number of senior-level positions in federal government, including Special Counsel to former President Clinton, General Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law.

Mr. Yarowsky joined private practice in 1998 after serving as a Special Counsel to former President Clinton, where he advised on legislative and policy matters, including telecommunications, antitrust and crime policy matters. In his work at the White House, among other policy duties, Yarowsky directed the selection and confirmation of federal judicial nominees.

Prior to his position at the White House, Mr. Yarowsky served as General Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary. During his five-year tenure there, he supervised a staff of 40 lawyers and was responsible for developing legislative policy agenda and overseeing the work of six subcommittees in the areas of: administrative law; constitutional law and civil rights; crime and criminal justice; economic and commercial law; intellectual property and judicial administration; and international law and immigration. In addition, during this period Mr. Yarowsky also developed a series of antitrust bills that were enacted into law, and developed other legislative initiatives in the areas of telecommunications, financial services, insurance, banking, civil justice and international trade.

Prior to serving in the House, Mr. Yarowsky was Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, where he gained extensive experience in antitrust and competition policy, and worked closely with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Yarowsky is a 1977 graduate of UCLA Law School. In 1974, he received an MS from Cornell University. He received an AB from the University of Michigan, summa cum laude, in 1971.​

David Yen, Esq.

David Yen is a supervisory attorney in the Consumer Practice Group of LAF (the Legal Assistance Foundation). He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1975. He has worked for legal services programs representing low-income clients in New York, Alabama, and, since 1987, in Illinois. A long time NACBA member, he is a contributing author for the Collier Bankruptcy Guide and is on the board of the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center.

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