From the Director Feb 2002
ABI Hosts Reception at Law Schools Association Meeting
ABI, with the financial support of the McGlinchey Stafford PLLC law firm (New Orleans), sponsored a Jan. 5 cocktail reception for the members of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Debtors' and Creditors' Rights. The event, at Mulate's Cajun Restaurant, was held in connection with the AALS annual meeting. More than 50 guests attended the festive reception. ABI honored outgoing section president Prof. Mary Jo Wiggins (University of California-San Diego Law School), while promoting the many ABI opportunities for members of the academic community. Special thanks are due to Rudy Cerone (McGlinchey Stafford PLLC; New Orleans) and ABI Directors Neil Olack, co-chair of the Law School Committee (Jones Day; Atlanta), and Prof. G. Ray Warner (University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School; St. Louis) for setting up a great event. We hope to make the reception an annual affair.
Margaret Howard Joins ABI as Spring 2002 Robert M. Zinman Scholar in Residence
Prof. Margaret Howard (Washington & Lee School of Law; Lexington, Va.) has started her term as the Robert M. Zinman ABI Resident Scholar for the spring 2002 semester and will be located at ABI's offices. Prof. Howard teaches bankruptcy, secured transactions and contracts. Together with Prof. Peter Alces, she is the author of Bankruptcy: Cases and Materials, the casebook used by many law schools. Before joining W&L, she taught for nine years at Vanderbilt University School of Law and has been a visiting professor at schools such as Harvard, Duke, North Carolina and Emory. Prof. Howard will be serving on the faculty for the Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Workshop and the Annual Spring Meeting program, among other speaking and writing projects. ABI will be announcing the Zinman Scholar for the fall semester soon. In December, ABI announced that Prof. David Epstein (University of Alabama School of Law) will be in residence at ABI during the spring 2003 semester. Prof. Epstein is, of course, one of the legends in the field of bankruptcy scholarship. ABI is honored to have these prominent teachers serving as our Resident Scholar.
2001 Winter Leadership Conference Committee Minutes
See http://www.abiworld.org/committees/ for the complete summaries.
The committee has formed a subcommittee to examine issues unique to bankruptcy sales and auctions of intellectual property. The subcommittee seeks the active involvement of new members. The initial subcommittee goal is to recruit new members, decide areas of study and prepare a panel discussion for presentation at the ABI Annual Spring Meeting in 2002.
Commercial Fraud Task Force
The task force addressed fraud by professionals in bankruptcy-related matters. Examples discussed were how professionals conceal assets in their own bankruptcy cases, engage in fraud to cover up mistakes they have made in the representation of their clients, and act as co-conspirators with their clients or other professionals in committing a crime, such as assisting in the concealment of assets or using the bankruptcy system to perpetrate other frauds.
Judge Eugene Wedoff presented a report on the status of the bankruptcy reform legislation and encouraged attendance at the Legislative Committee meeting for a detailed treatment of the subject. Dennis Dow gave an overview of the impact of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (dealing with privacy of financial information) on consumer bankruptcy practice. Russ Reynolds from the San Diego bankruptcy clerk's office gave a demonstration (with live connection) of that court's electronic filing system. Finally, Tom Yerbich discussed practical issues involved in the transition to electronic filing.
Finance & Banking
The committee hosted a panel on Tranche B financing, an important and growing area of asset-based lending, and discussed the criteria for eligibility for Tranche B financing, various structures and the development and future of Tranche B financing, particularly as a supplement to senior secured debtor-in-possession financing and as an alternative to expensive mezzanine financing. In addition, the committee reported on its continued work on the formulation of DIP Financing Guidelines by its DIP Subcommittee.
The panel initially discussed the current status of the bankruptcy reform legislation. There was discussion of a possible "mini-bill," which has been addressed by the General Practice Section of the American Bar Association.
C.R. "Chip" Bowles Jr. of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC in Louisville, Ky., spoke on the topic of "Noisy Withdrawals and the Res Judicata Effect of Awards of Final Fee Applications." The committee also discussed the idea of creating a handbook that could be used by debtor and committee legal counsel when the need for the employment of additional professionals in a bankruptcy case arises.
ABI's First Resident Scholar Looks Back on Term
Prof. Jack Williams summarizes his recent months with ABI:
My tenure as scholar-in-residence ran from April 2001 to Dec. 31, 2001. My duties included preparing materials for conferences and classes, presenting at conferences and seminars, responding to media requests, making television and radio appearances, appearing before the Congress, preparing white papers for Congressional staffers, responding to ABI members on legislative status and miscellaneous questions, responding to the general public with bankruptcy issues and concerns, writing/editing ABI publications, assisting the Endowment Committee on the review of research grant applications, and coordinating ABI efforts with other nonprofit organizations.
During my tenure at ABI, my tasks included:
- Authored two articles for the ABI Law Review. The first article is an empirical piece on collateral dispositions under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The second piece is on the treatment of certain tax claims under a chapter 11 plan of reorganization.
- Authored one article on directors' and officers' duties within the zone of insolvency for the Journal of Corporate Renewal.
- Authored the 2001 Cumulative Supplement to Kennedy, Countryman and Williams on Partnerships, Limited Liability Entities and S Corporations in Bankruptcy, published by Aspen Publishers (formerly Little, Brown & Co.).
- Authored the 2001 Cumulative Supplement to McQueen and Williams on Tax Aspects of Bankruptcy Law and Procedure, published by the West Group.
- Authored four articles for the ABI Journal on legislation.
- Prepared six Powerpoint presentations that cover key provisions of the proposed bankruptcy legislation to be used on the ABI web site.
- Authored five "Cracking the Code" articles for posting on the ABI web site.
- Responded to more than 200 media requests for information and appeared on radio and television, including NBC Nightly News, ABC Evening News, MSNBC, Dateline, The Today Show, CNN, 60 Minutes II, FoxNews and C-Span.
- Appeared before the House and Senate committees and staff meetings on bankruptcy, bankruptcy taxation, and terrorism and homeland defense.
- Prepared materials for talks given to the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration, the PBGC, the EPA, HUD, and the Department of Justice.
- Prepared materials for talks given to ABI, the TMA, State and Local Bar Associations, State CPA Societies, the American Association of Law Schools, and the AICPA.
- Coordinated with JumpStart Coalition to prepare bankruptcy lesson plans for use in elementary, junior high school, and high school.
- Edited manuscript by Prof. Jack Ayer and Michael Bernstein.
I joined ABI as a newly minted bankruptcy practitioner more than 15 years ago. I continued my membership when Ijoined the academic ranks some 10 years ago. I have been involved with ABI most of my membership and have found the organization and the people first-rate. So for me, becoming the inaugural ABI Robert M. Zinman Scholar-in-Residence was a profound honor. Upon accepting the position, I had but one goal—to make ABI and the position's namesake (my mentor) proud of their selection. I hope that I have not let you down.
When I began my tenure, my wife and I thought that the ABI Endowment Fund served many worthwhile causes, including funding, in part, the scholar-in-residence program. Based on our prior experience with ABI and the new position as the ABI scholar-in-residence, we believed that we should begin giving back to the organization that has given so much to us. With that, we donated 5 percent of my gross pay from ABI to the Endowment Fund. It is, without doubt, one of the best decisions we have ever made.
Thank you for the grand opportunity to serve you as your scholar-in-residence. It was a great honor and privilege. May the position go from strength to strength.