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Winter Leadership Conference | December 5-7 | Rancho Palos Verdes , CA Register Today View Schedule



Event Information 277351

Monday, November 11

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast and Registration

8:30-8:45 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks

Hon. Mark A. Randon

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

8:45-10:15 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session

ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy

Alane A. Becket

Becket & Lee LLP; Malvern, Pa.

Ariane Holtschlag

The Law Office of William J. Factor, Ltd.; Chicago, Ill.

Richardo I. Kilpatrick

Kilpatrick & Associates, P.C.; Auburn Hills, Mich.

Hon. Eugene R. Wedoff (ret.)

Oak Park, Ill.

10:15-10:30 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Mental Health Issues

Financial difficulties, especially bankruptcy, are among the most traumatic events an individual can experience. This session will focus on some of the mental health issues that can arise when advising clients with financial difficulties, and in filing and going through bankruptcy. How do mental health issues influence consumer credit choices? What resources are available for you to refer to your clients to help them cope with financial difficulties and bankruptcy? How do mental health issues impact a debtor’s ability to obtain a discharge of student loans? What legal standing must be shown to take action on behalf of a mentally ill individual who is either filing a bankruptcy case or is a debtor in a pending case? What are the best practices for interacting with debtors who have mental health issues?

Chief Judge Scott W. Dales

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

Dr. Barika M. Butler

Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority; Detroit

Erika D. Hart

Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, Mich.

Hon. Terrance A. Keith

Wayne County Probate Court; Detroit

Dealing with Co-Owners of Bankruptcy Estate Property

Many bankruptcy cases have property that is partly owned by the debtor and partly owned by a nondebtor. This session will address some of the issues that can arise for debtors, creditors and trustees in these circumstances. Can a chapter 7 trustee administer property that is co-owned by a nondebtor? Under what circumstances can such property be partitioned? What steps can a nondebtor co-owner take to protect his or her interest in estate property? What about equitable title vs. legal title? What rights does the nonfiling co-debtor have? When does the co-debtor stay apply? How does having parents on property/bank accounts impact the debtor and the bankruptcy estate?

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Charles D. Bullock

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Kimberly R. Clayson

Clayson, Schneider Miller; Detroit

Tricia S. Terry

Marrs & Terry, PLLC; Ann Arbor, Mich.

Bankruptcy and State Law: Like Oil and Water?

This session will focus on the interplay between bankruptcy law and state law. How is a bankruptcy case impacted? How is a state court matter impacted? How do you handle matters that involve other areas of the law? How does a divorce, probate or condo issue affect the bankruptcy case? How and when do you retain nonbankruptcy professionals to assist with state law matters? How do you address pre-petition or post-petition Code violations from a municipality? If the potential client (pre-filing) becomes incapacitated, can that incapacitated individual file bankruptcy? If the debtor is unable to testify at his or her § 341 meeting, can someone else testify for them? When can budget and credit counseling and personal financial management courses be excused?

Hon. Maria L. Oxholm

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Brett A. Border

The Law Office of Brett Border, PLLC; Southfield, Mich.

Melissa D. Francis

Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC; Plymouth, Mich.

Andrew C. Thompson

Poznak Dyer Kanar Schefsky Thompson PLC; Midland, Mich.

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Veterans Day Tribute and Networking Luncheon

12:50-2:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Legislative Update: Student Loans, Small Business Bankruptcy Bill and More

This session will focus on pending legislation that may affect your practice, and on ABI’s latest recommendations regarding personal bankruptcies. What are the latest developments and strategies to address student loans? Is a legislative fix for the student loan crisis really in the works (H.R. 2366)? What would the small business bankruptcy bill do, and where does it stand? Will veterans' benefits become exempt from means testing? The session will also cover other notable legislative actions, as well as the key takeaways from the Final Report of the ABI Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy.

Hon. Daniel S. Opperman

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Bay City

Leo Foley

Bankruptcy Law Office; Flint, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

Caralyce M. Lassner, JD; Rochester, Mich.

Charissa Potts

Freedom Law, PC; Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

A Deep Dive on Important Bankruptcy Cases

This session will draw upon the immense popularity of the annual Case Law Update session, focusing on a handful of important bankruptcy cases that are sure to affect your consumer practice.

Hon. Jessica E. Price Smith

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (N.D. Ohio); Cleveland

Hon. Joel D. Applebaum

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Paul R. Hage

Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss; Southfield, Mich.

Messy Chapter 7s

Most individual chapter 7s proceed seamlessly from petition to discharge, but an effective practitioner must be able to identify and manage those difficult cases where obstacles to discharge abound. How do you identify chapter 7s with potential problems (debtors with businesses, searching public records for assets and transfers, requesting and reviewing documents in advance of filing, effective communication, etc.)? The session will also discuss how to manage chapter 7s that go sideways (staying on top of trustee document-production requests, 2004 exams, objections to discharge, and negotiating effectively with the trustee), how to get paid (supplemental 2016(b) statements, new retainers and retention agreements, what’s covered by the original retainer agreement), and when and how to get out (declining to file messy cases to avoid consequences for you (malpractice) or your client), as well as withdrawing for lack of post-petition payment for new work or client cooperation.

Hon. Thomas J. Tucker

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Michael G. Ardelean

Ardelean & Dunne, PLLC; Southfield, Mich.

Tracy M. Clark

Steinberg Shapiro & Clark; Southfield, Mich.

Scott M. Kwiatkowski

Goldstein Bershad & Fried, PC; Southfield, Mich.

2:00-2:10 p.m.


2:10-3:20 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

State vs. Federal Exemptions

Michigan residents have the option of choosing either the state or federal exemptions, but the choice sometimes requires careful consideration. What are the differences between the state and federal exemptions? How do they impact the debtor? How do you determine which set of exemptions is the best option for your client? After a selection has been made, can you change your mind? How late is too late to amend exemptions? What are the best practices for handling objections to exemptions? How do you value property in rising markets? How does Law v. Siegel and its progeny affect your ethical obligations in advising clients about exemptions?

Hon. Mark A. Randon

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Michelle H. Bass

Wolfson Bolton PLLC; Troy, Mich.

Thomas R. Morris

Silverman & Morris, P.L.L.C.; Farmington Hills, Mich.

Brian Small

Thav Gross PC; Bingham Falls, Mich.

Custodians of Estate Property

Recovering estate property isn’t always as straightforward as directing the debtor to turn over property. This session will focus on situations where a nonbankrupt party (receiver, agent, court officer or assignee) has possession of property of the debtor/estate. How does the Bankruptcy Code define a “custodian," and what rights and responsibilities do custodians have? What rights do the debtor and trustee have? Can the custodian maintain possession of the property, and under what circumstances? Are custodians entitled to any fees/costs, statutory or otherwise, for maintaining possession of the property? Do creditors have to assist in getting the property back from the custodian? If the custodian gives up possession of the property, does it go to the debtor or the trustee?

Hon. John T. Gregg

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

David Findling

The Findling Law Firm, PLC; Royal Oak, Mich.

Wendy Turner Lewis

Law Offices of Wendy Turner Lewis PLLC; Detroit

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider PC; Livonia, Mich.

What Would You Do? Ethics in Bankruptcy Practice: Avoiding Problems — and Malpractice

This interactive session will feature fact patterns and scenarios designed to engage the audience with real-world issues that illustrate ethical problems faced by bankruptcy professionals. The session will focus on identifying and resolving these issues before you find yourself in hot water.

Hon. Mary Ann Whipple

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (N.D. Ohio); Toledo

David A. Lerner

Plunkett Cooney, PC; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Hon. Steven W. Rhodes (ret.)

JAMS; Ann Arbor, Mich.

Julie B. Teicher

Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller P.C.; Southfield, Mich.

3:20-3:35 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:35-5:15 p.m.

Closing Plenary Session

Annual Case Law Update

The most popular session each year, this annual favorite will cover all recent bankruptcy law decisions and current consumer bankruptcy law issues. This session is a must-attend for professionals to stay current on consumer bankruptcy law issues.

Hon. James W. Boyd

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Laura J. Genovich

Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Networking Reception



Judicial Chair

Hon. Mark A. Randon

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Conference Chair

Michael P. Hogan

Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C.; Farmington Hills, Mich.

Planning Committee

Ryan J. Byrd

Orlans PC; Northville, Mich.

Melissa A. Caouette

Office of Carl L. Bekofske, Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, Mich.

Kimberly R. Clayson

Clayson Schneider Miller; Detroit

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Southfield, Mich.

Ethan Dunn

Maxwell Dunn PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Rozanne M. Giunta

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP; Midland, Mich.

Erika D. Hart

Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

Caralyce M. Lassner, JD; Rochester, Mich.

Garik Osipyants

Thav Gross PC; Bingham Farms, Mich.

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider PC; Livonia, Mich.

Craig S. Schoenherr, Sr.

O’Reilly Rancilio P.C.; Sterling Heights, Mich.

Marilyn R. Somers-Kantzer

Office of the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee; Detroit

Michael A. Stevenson

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.



Conference Information


The Somerset Inn, our host hotel, is located in the heart of Troy’s business and financial district, next to The Somerset Collection and in close proximity to many restaurants. ABI has reserved a block of rooms at the special conference rates of $109 for a Tower Room and $134 for an Executive Room. To secure these special rates, reservations must be made by October 24, 2019. Reservations are limited, and rooms are held on a first-come, first-served basis. ABI cannot guarantee anyone a room after the October 24 cutoff or after the specially rated ABI block has been filled.

Continuing Education Credit

6.75 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics, are pending in states calculating CLE on a 60-minute hour, and 8.1 hours of CLE credit, including 1.4 hours of ethics, are pending in 50-minute-hour states. Credit hours granted are subject to each state’s CLE credit-approval regulations and might not be approved prior to the program. California MCLE: ABI certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit in the amount of 6.75 hours, including 1 hour of ethics. NY MCLE: This course or program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board for a maximum of 8 credit hours, of which 8 credit hours can be applied toward the professional practice requirement and 1 credit hour can be applied toward the ethics professionalism requirement. 8 hours of CPE credit, including 1 hour of ethics, are also available.

* ABI offers intermediate-level courses, which assume that attendees will have at least some detailed knowledge of insolvency matters (pursuant to the “Statement on Standards for CPE Programs” established by AICPA and NASBA). ABI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE sponsors. State boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website,

Financial Hardship Statement

ABI acknowledges that in some instances there will be persons who need to attend an educational seminar for CLE credit who are not able to pay full registration fees. ABI will handle such instances on a case-by-case basis and will work with the individual on alternative solutions. Financial assistance is available for this program; all applications for financial assistance must be submitted by September 22, 2019. For persons who cannot meet the full registration rate, ABI will offer a reduced rate based on what the individual can reasonably afford to cover the cost of meals and materials. For persons unable to pay a reduced rate, ABI may allow the individual to work at the registration area for a few hours during attendee check-in, or assist in conference set-up. ABI also has reduced rates for government employees, professors, law clerks and students. For more information or to request an application, please contact the American Bankruptcy Institute at (703) 739-0800 or send an email to

Cancellation Policy

All fees, except a $75 handling fee, will be refunded if written notice of cancellation is received by October 21, 2019. No refunds will be granted after October 21, but substitutions will be allowed. After October 21, upon written request, a coupon for 20% off the registration fee (not including optional events) will be issued, which can be used (by the canceling registrant only) for any ABI educational program up to one year after this conference, or for this same conference next year.


Supporting Sponsors

Financial Software Solutions Potestivo & Associates P.C. ReMax First, Inc. is a Miedema Asset Management Group Company Taunt Law Firm


722 Redemption Funding Inc. CourtCall LLC Cricket Debt Counseling Fresh Start Funding National Automotive Brokerage Services, Inc. is a Miedema Asset Management Group Company Stretto

For sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities, please contact Bethany Spencer at

2019 Conference Rates

Registration Rates Advance
(by 8/30/19)
(after 8/30/19)

ABI or CBA Member
ABI Gov’t./Academic/Nonprofit Member
Join and Save*
New Govt./Academic/Nonprofit ABI Member* $320 $390

Exhibitor Rates

ABI Member Exhibitor**
New ABI Member Exhibitor***

* Includes a one-year ABI membership for first-time members — a $350 value! Expired members should select the member rate and add in the membership-renewal fee. You must be an ABI or CBA member to attend the conference.

** Includes one 6’ table and full registration for one booth representative.

*** Includes one 6’ table and full registration for one booth representative AND a one-year ABI membership.