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Event Information 251135

Friday, November 10

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast and Registration

8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m.

Veterans Day Tribute and Welcome

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

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

8:45 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session

Evidence and Trial Skills in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases

This session will use a common fact pattern and feature demonstrations of arguments and examinations regarding such evidentiary issues as whether a witness may appear by telephone, video or deposition; admissibility of expert testimony on value; whether an expert may rely on the testimony of other experts; when lay witness testimony on value may be admissible; and demonstrations of examinations of experts and nonexperts regarding valuation and other common issues that arise in evidentiary hearings. By extensively using role play, this session will create real settings for consumer bankruptcy attorneys to help them handle evidentiary hearings in bankruptcy court.

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

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

Charles D. Bullock, Witness

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Lisa S. Gretchko, Attorney

Howard & Howard; Royal Oak, Mich.

Michael Leib, Attorney

Leibadr LLC; West Bloomfield, Mich.

10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Chapter 11 Basics for Debtors’ Attorneys

Many consumer bankruptcy lawyers now find themselves filing chapter 11 petitions for individuals and small businesses, but chapter 11 cases are different than chapter 13 cases. This session will focus on the basics of filing and handling a chapter 11 case, including who is eligible to file a chapter 11 petition, the reasons to file chapter 11 rather than chapter 7 or 13, the ongoing reporting responsibilities of a debtor in possession, what goes into the preparation of a plan of reorganization and disclosure statement, how a chapter 11 plan differs from a chapter 13 plan, how the process of balloting on the plan of reorganization works, the requirements that must be met to confirm a plan of reorganization, and the time frames that govern the handling of chapter 11 cases.

Hon. John T. Gregg

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

Leslie K. Berg

Office of the U.S. Trustee; Detroit

Kimberly R. Clayson

Clayson Schneider & Miller, PC; Detroit

Rozanne Giunta

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP; Midland, Mich.

Chapter 11 Basics for Creditors’ Attorneys

Lawyers representing mortgage creditors, car creditors and unsecured creditors in consumer chapter 7 and 13 cases are familiar with the routine actions they can take to protect their clients (e.g., move to lift the stay, file proofs of claims and analyze disposable-income issues). But what actions can they take to protect their clients when an individual or small business debtor files chapter 11? What strategies and considerations should secured creditors use to decide whether to move to lift the stay? How active should unsecured creditors be in a chapter 11 before the debtor files a plan of reorganization? What strategies and considerations go into creditors’ evaluations of and voting on the debtor’s plan of reorganization? What initial issues do creditors’ attorneys need to think about when they receive notice of a chapter 11 petition, and how do these issues differ from the initial issues they need to think about when they receive a notice of a chapter 7 or 13 petition? Are proofs of claims handled differently in chapter 11, and if so, how? How do you explain the options to your client and manage your client’s expectations in chapter 11 so that they understand the potential costs and time involved?

Hon. Scott W. Dales

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

Richard E. Kruger

Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss; Southfield, Mich.

Susan Jill Rice

Alward Fisher Rice Rowe & Graf; Traverse City, Mich.

Karen L. Rowse-Oberle

Butler, Butler & Rowse-Oberle, PLLC; St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Representing Chapter 7 Debtors After the Petition Is Filed and the § 341 Meeting Is Held

You’ve filed the petition and schedules and attended the § 341 meeting. What happens next? This session will focus on the ongoing representation and responsibilities of a debtor’s attorney after filing a chapter 7 petition and completing the § 341 meeting to ensure that the debtor gets and keeps a discharge and any assets they are entitled to. What should a debtor’s attorney do if the asset values that the debtor lists on his or her schedules change after the petition is filed? What ongoing responsibilities does a debtor’s attorney have regarding reaffirmation agreements and assumption of leases by the debtor? What can a debtor’s attorney do to monitor and ensure the prompt administration of assets in the chapter 7 case by the trustee? Can the debtor’s attorney move for abandonment of assets that the trustee is not administering, and what are the legal standards for abandonment? How can a debtor’s attorney best counsel a chapter 7 debtor to cooperate with the trustee so as to avoid jeopardizing their discharge or, if a discharge has already been granted, to avoid creating a basis for revocation of discharge? What are the standards for revocation of discharge?

Hon. Thomas J. Tucker

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

Steve Bylenga

Chase Bylenga Hulst, PLLC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ryan Beach

The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Kevin C. Calhoun

Calhoun & Diponio, PLC; Southfield, Mich.

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

Networking Luncheon

12:50 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Pre-Bankruptcy Planning Issues and Strategies for Debtors’ Attorneys Regarding Protection of Assets

This session will focus on debtors’ attorneys’ pre-bankruptcy advice and planning regarding the protection of a debtor’s assets, including maximizing exemptions without getting into trouble, analyzing and counseling the client on the vulnerability of transfers of property that the debtor already made to family members or trusts before seeking your counsel, permissible actions to mitigate liabilities on account of a debtor’s pre-petition transfers, what can legitimately and ethically be done to enable debtors to maximize their exemptions without jeopardizing their discharges, and the use of family trusts, self-settled trusts and the effect of the new Domestic Asset Protection Trust Act in Michigan.

Hon. Daniel S. Opperman

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

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider, P.C.; Livonia, Mich.

Jason P. Smalarz

Gold, Lange & Majoros, PC; Southfield, Mich.

Michael A. Stevenson

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Representing Secured Creditors in Chapters 7 and 13

Even beginning creditors’ attorneys know that the automatic stay prevents them from enforcing their clients’ rights to their collateral. But what can they do in chapter 7 and 13 cases, and when should they do it? This session will focus on the basic legal issues facing secured creditors in these consumer cases and the development of effective and economical strategies for dealing with them. What are the legal standards to obtain relief from the automatic stay? What do the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the local bankruptcy rules require as attachments? What must the motion allege, and who has the burden of proof if an objection is made? Do these standards differ in chapters 7 and 13? When is the right time to bring a motion to lift a stay in a chapter 7 or 13 case? Should you seek to have a chapter 7 debtor reaffirm your debt? If a chapter 7 debtor doesn’t reaffirm but just keeps making the payments, what should you tell your client to do? How does § 365(p) work, and do you need to have the court involved? Loan modifications are common in chapter 13, but is there such a thing as a loan modification in a chapter 7? Can the court reopen a case to approve a post-discharge reaffirmation or loan modification in chapter 7? Can a chapter 13 debtor force your client to take property they don’t want by surrendering the property or vesting it in your client?

Hon. Mary Ann Whipple

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

Elizabeth M. Abood-Carroll

Orlans PC; Troy, Mich.

Michael P. Hogan

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

Chadd A. O’Brien

ELGA Credit Union; Burton, Mich.

Bankruptcy and Elder Law

This session will focus on the increasing number of senior citizens filing for bankruptcy. Why are so many elders now filing? What unique challenges do they present? Do their Social Security benefits and pension incomes become available to fund chapter 13 plans? How are reverse mortgages treated in chapters 7 and 13? What happens when an elderly debtor passes away during a chapter 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy case? What if there is a surviving spouse who is also a joint debtor?

Hon. Maria L. Oxholm

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

Guy T. Conti

ContiLegal; Ann Arbor, Mich.

Deborah L. Fish

Allard & Fish, P.C.; Detroit

Kenneth L. Gross

Thav Gross; Bingham Farms, Mich.

2:00 p.m.-2:10 p.m.


2:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Values, Values, Values

Determinations of values are central to virtually every aspect of a consumer bankruptcy case. How should debtors value assets on their schedules? What should they rely on for value, and what is their attorney’s role and responsibility? When are appraisals needed? What weight is given to BPOs and tax statements? What can creditors and trustees do to challenge the debtor’s values? What quotient of evidence do debtors, creditors and trustees need to litigate the value of a creditor’s collateral, a residence in a chapter 13 lien-strip, or a contested abandonment of property in a chapter 7 case, a contested redemption or a contested exemption?

Hon. Mark A. Randon

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

Ethan D. Dunn

Maxwell Dunn PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

Bankruptcy Law Office; Flint, Mich.

Charles Taunt

The Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, Mich.

Advising Potential Consumer Debtors About Their Tax Debts

It is not uncommon for issues to arise in consumer cases after they are filed regarding pre-petition and post-petition tax liabilities. To make sure that a client understands the possible outcome of these issues and is not surprised when they crop up after the bankruptcy petition is filed, it is imperative that debtor’s counsel alert and counsel the debtor about these potential issues before the petition is filed. What tax clams are nondischargeable? What constitutes a tax return for purposes of § 523? What is a tax transcript, how can one get one from the IRS, and how does one interpret what it says? This session will also focus on understanding the implications of unfiled returns and substitute returns, especially the current split among the circuits regarding late-filed returns and their consequences for determining dischargeability, distinguishing the treatment for secured, priority and general unsecured claims in chapters 7 and 13, interest on secured or nondischargeable tax claims, and advising the client as to whether chapter 7 or 13 is the best course of action to deal with the debtor’s tax liabilities.

Hon. Marci B. McIvor

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

Greg J. Ekdahl

Keller & Almassian, PLC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Christopher W. Jones

Acclaim Legal Services, PLLC; Warren, Mich.

David J. Montera

David J. Montera, P.C.; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The Party’s Over — or Is It? Secured Creditor Issues at the End of a Chapter 13 Case

The chapter 13 debtor’s plan is expiring, and the trustee issues a notice of final cure payment and completion of plan payments. Your client tells you it’s wrong and says there are uncured pre-petition and post-petition defaults, escrow shortages and unpaid attorney fees. What do you do? This session will cover understanding Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002.1 and Local Bankruptcy Rule 2015-3 (E.D. Mich.); reviewing all notices of payment changes, fees and expenses; comparing records with the trustee and debtor, and obtaining discovery; the proper procedure to file and prosecute responses disagreeing with notice of final cure payment; case law regarding remedies under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002.1(i) for failure to comply with the rule’s requirements; and implementing steps to comply with the discharge order.

Hon. John P. Gustafson

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

Brett Border

Fabrizio & Brook, P.C.; Troy, Mich.

Elizabeth Clark

Chapter 13 Trustee Brett N. Rodgers; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Kim M. Rattet

Trott Law; Farmington Hills, Mich.

3:20 p.m.-3:35 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:35 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

Closing Plenary Session

Annual Case Law Update

This annual favorite will cover all recent bankruptcy law decisions and current consumer bankruptcy law issues, and 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 p.m.-6:15 p.m.

Networking Reception



Judicial Chair

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

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

Conference Chair

Michael P. Hogan

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

Planning Committee

Melissa A. Caouette

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, Mich.

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Christopher W. Jones

Acclaim Legal Services, PLLC; Warren, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

Bankruptcy Law Office; Flint, Mich.

Craig B. Rule

Orlans PC; Troy, Mich.

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider PC; Livonia, Mich.

Craig S. Schoenherr, Sr.

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

Michael A. Stevenson

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Tamara A. White

Holzman Corkery, PLLC; Southfield, Mich.



Patron Sponsor

Steinberg Shapiro & Clark

Supporting Sponsors

Allen Credit & Debt Counseling Agency

Orlans Associates PC

Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C.

Stevenson & Bullock, P.L.C.


For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Bethany Spencer at

Special Thanks

We extend our special thanks to Steinberg Shapiro & Clark for the materials on thumb drives and Wilmington Trust for the tote bags.

Conference Information


The elegant Somerset Inn, our host hotel, is located in the heart of Troy’s business and financial district in close proximity to The Palace at Auburn Hills, Ford Field, Comerica Park, a golf course, and several museums and theaters. ABI has reserved a block of rooms at the special conference rates of $99 for a Tower Room and $119 for an Executive Room. To secure these special rates, reservations must be made by October 26, 2017. Reservations are limited, and rooms are held on a first-come, first-served basis. ABI cannot guarantee anyone a room after the October 26 cutoff or after the specially rated ABI block has been filled.


Continuing Education Credit

Up to 6.5 hours of general CLE credit are pending in states calculating CLE on a 60-minute hour, and up to 7.5 hours of general CLE credit are pending in 50-minute-hour states. Credit hours granted are subject to approval from each state. California MCLE: ABI certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit in the amount of 6.5 hours of general CLE. NY MCLE: This transitional and nontransitional program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the CLE Board for a maximum of 7.5 credit hours. 7.5 hours of CPE credit 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. 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, 2017. 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 20, 2017. No refunds will be granted after October 20, but substitutions will be allowed. After October 20, 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.


Registration Rates Early
(postmarked by 9/1/17)
(after 9/1/17)

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

Exhibitor Rates

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

*Includes a one-year ABI membership for first-time members - a $325 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, full registration for one booth representative AND one-year ABI membership.