Mortgage Modification Government Bailouts and Retail Insolvencies Among the Hot Topics at ABIs 27th Annual Spring Meeting in April

Mortgage Modification Government Bailouts and Retail Insolvencies Among the Hot Topics at ABIs 27th Annual Spring Meeting in April

Contact: John Hartgen
               (703) 739-0800
               [email protected]


January 28, 2009 Alexandria, Va. --More than 1,000 bankruptcy professionals are expected to attend the American Bankruptcy Institute's (ABI) 27th Annual Spring Meeting, April 1-4, 2009, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. ABI’s largest conference features a number of educational programs to address a wide array of timely insolvency issues, and will offer 19.5 hours of CLE credit, including a record 6.75 hours of ethics.

With a new administration and Congress facing serious financial challenges, the meeting has a strong policy orientation. Speakers from Congress and the Obama administration are expected on the program.

The conference educational program sessions begin with ABI's Thirteenth Annual Great Debates, moderated by ABI's Vice President of Education James T. Markus of Block, Markus & Williams, LLC (Denver). In the first debate, “Assets May Not Be Sold Free and Clear over the Objection of Junior Secured Creditors,” Eve H. Karasik of Stutman Treister & Glatt, PC (Los Angeles) will debate Candace C. Carlyon of Shea & Carlyon, Ltd. (Las Vegas).

In Debate No. 2, “Not Too Big to Fail – Bankruptcy Is Better than Bailout,” Peter S. Kaufman of Gordian Group LLC (New York) will debate Michael P. Thomas of BBK (Southfield, Mich.).

Debate No. 3, “The Time Is Now for Consumer Bankruptcy Reform,” will feature Prof. Katherine M. Porter of the University of Iowa College of Law (Iowa City) debating Philip S. Corwin of Butera & Andrews (Washington, D.C.).

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

“Protecting Consumer in Financial Markets: New Developments in BAPCPA Reform, Credit Cards and Unsafe Credit Products” plenary session, moderated by Brady C. Williamson of Godfrey & Kahn SC (Madison, Wis.), will feature panelists Oliver I. Ireland of Morrison Foerster (Washington, D.C.), Travis Plunkett of the Consumer Federation of America (Washington D.C.) and John Rao of the National Consumer Law Center (Boston).

William A. Brandt, Jr. of Development Specialists, Inc. (Chicago) will moderate the plenary session “The Government-Managed Economy – TARP, Mortgage Modification, etc.: Is Anything Working?” featuring Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP (New York), Alex J. Pollock of American Enterprise Institute (Washington, D.C.) and Mark Zandi of Moody's (West Chester, Pa.).

The “Trimming the Hedges: Liquidations of Private Equity/Hedge Funds” session, moderated by Jeff J. Marwil of Winston & Strawn LLP (Chicago), will include panelists Marc Abrams of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (New York), Bankruptcy Judge James M. Peck of (S.D.N.Y.; New York), Steven J. Reisman of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (New York) and Anthony H.N. Schnelling of Bridge Associates LLC (New York).

Ford Elsaesser of Elsaesser, Jarzabek, et al. (Sandpoint, Idaho) will moderate the “Sophisticated Planning or Playing a Shell Game – Asset Protection Planning” session with panelists Barry S. Engel of Engel Reiman & Lockwood PC (Denver), Robert C. Furr of Furr & Cohen, PA (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Paul G. Swanson of Steinhilber, Swanson,et al. (Oshkosh, Wis.).

The “SOS for Retail: Only the Strongest Survive” session, moderated by Jeffrey N. Pomerantz of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Los Angeles), will feature panelists Bankruptcy Judge Kevin R. Huennekens (E.D. Va.; Richmond), Robert L. LeHane of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (New York), Scott Peltz of RSM McGladrey (Chicago) and Edward Stenger of AlixPartners LLP (New York).

“After Marrama: Applying Good-faith Standard in Bankruptcy” will feature David G. Baker of the Law Office of David G. Baker (Boston) with panelists Alane A. Becket of Becket & Lee, LLP (Malvern, Pa.), Steven L. Higgs of Steven L. Higgs, PC (Roanoke, Va.) and John Rao of the National Consumer Law Center (Boston).

“The State of Real Estate Industry and What's Next in Bankruptcies and Restructurings,” moderated by Debra Ann Riley of Allen Matkins, et al. (San Diego), will feature panelists Neil R. Aaronson of The Hilco Organization (Northbrook, Ill.), Matthew Bordwin of Keen Consultants - The Real Estate Division of KPMG Corporate Finance LLC (Melville, N.Y.) and William N. Lobel of Irell & Manella LLP (Newport Beach, Calif.).

C. R. “Chip” Bowles of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC (Louisville, Ky.) will be joined by panelists Jacob C. Cohn of Cozen O'Connor (Philadelphia), Donald L. Gaffney of Snell & Wilmer, LLP (Phoenix), Bankruptcy Judge Barbara J. Houser (N.D. Tex.; Dallas) and Joel H. Levitin of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (New York) for the “Third-party Releases, Exculpation Provisions, Plan Injunctions and Postconfirmation Jurisdiction” session.

The “Water in the Sahara: What's Next in the Credit, DIP Lending and Exit Financing Markets?” session will be moderated by Howard Brod Brownstein of NachmanHaysBrownstein, Inc. (Narberth, Pa.) with panelists Steven Ballantine of Thomson West (Saint Paul, Minn.), Larry Lattig of Mesirow Financial Consulting, LLC (Dallas), M. Freddie Reiss of FTI Consulting, Inc. (Los Angeles) and Timothy G. Skillman of Grant Thornton LLP (Los Angeles).

“Ethical Issues for Creditors in Consumer Cases,” moderated by Prof. G. Ray Warner of St. John's University School of Law (Jamaica, N.Y.), will include panelists Robert S. Bernstein of Bernstein Law Firm, PC (Pittsburgh) and Ramona D. Elliott of the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (Washington, D.C.).

Jonathan P. Friedland of Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC (Chicago) will moderate the “Selling Strategies – Finding Buyers and Managing an Effective Sale Process” session with panelists Charles Reardon of Houlihan Lokey (McLean, Va.), Daniel F. Dooley of MorrisAnderson & Associates, Ltd. (Chicago) and Thomas J. Salerno of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP (Phoenix).

The “New Wave of Litigation – Fraudulent Transfers, Broken Commitments, Failure to Fund, Lack of Good Faith” session with moderator JoAnn J. Brighton of K&L Gates LLP (Charlotte, N.C.) will feature panelists John M. Duck of Adams and Reese LLP (New Orleans), Bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes (E.D. Mich.; Detroit) and Sheryl L. Toby of Dykema (Detroit).

Moderator William K. Snyder of CRG Partners Group LLC (Dallas) along with panelists Diana G. Adams of the Office of the U.S. Trustee, Region 2 (New York), Lorie R. Beers of KPMG Corporate Finance LLC (New York) and Patrick M. O'Keefe of O'Keefe & Associates (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) will participate in the “Staying Out of the Quicksand: Ethical Considerations in Bankruptcy for Turnaround Professionals” session.

The “Practical Strategies to Maximize the Debtor’s Ability to Get a Discharge in Chapter 13” session will be moderated by Bankruptcy Judge Joan N. Feeney (D. Mass.; Boston) with panelists Henry E. Hildebrand of Lassiter, Tidwell, Davis, Keller & Hogan, PLLC (Nashville, Tenn.) and Steven L. Rayman of Rayman & Stone (Kalamazoo, Mich.).

Robert M. Fishman of Shaw Gussis Fishman, et al. (Chicago) will moderate the “Judicial Roundtable: Proving Valuation-What's Persuasive and What's Not” plenary session, featuring Bankruptcy Judges Kevin J. Carey (D. Del.; Wilmington), Dennis R. Dow (W.D. Mo.; Kansas City), Barry Russell (C.D. Calif.; Los Angeles), Eugene R. Wedoff (N.D. Ill.; Chicago) and Gregg W. Zive (D. Nev.; Reno).

Prof. Nancy B. Rapoport of the William S. Boyd School of Law University of Nevada, Las Vegas will facilitate the “Multimedia Ethics Extravaganza” plenary session.

Best-selling author David Baldacci will be the keynote speaker at this year's conference. Baldacci has published 17 novels, including the best-seller Absolute Power, and more than 60 million copies of his books have been published worldwide. Baldacci practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., as both a trial and corporate attorney.  

Also featured will be speaker and author Gail Evans, who will address the Wednesday, April 1, luncheon sponsored by the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC).  Evans, the author of the books Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman and She Wins, You Win, is seen as a pioneer of advancing women’s status in the workplace, having worked at CNN since its inception in 1980 through 2001.

The conference also features a final night concert with recording artist Kenny Loggins.

In addition, ABI’s 25 committees will present educational programs on topics ranging from the new realities of today’s credit markets to financial distress in the health care sector. Committee programming at the conference will also include ethical considerations for turnaround professionals and a joint session with the National Auctioneers Association on maximizing the value of commercial real estate through the auction process.

Press interested in attending the conference should contact John Hartgen at [email protected] For more information about ABI’s 27th Annual Spring Meeting, please visit


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 11,700 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit