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Professor Nathalie Martin, Resident Scholar, Fall 2005

Nathalie Martin is the Frederick M. Hart Chair in Consumer and Clinical Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she teaches contracts, bankruptcy, the Uniform Commercial Code, and a professional development class for first-year students. She joined the UNM law faculty in 1998 after practicing Chapter 11 reorganization law for a decade in Boston and Philadelphia. Her research focuses on consumer law and bankruptcy, particularly high-cost loans, such as payday, title, and installment loans. She is also involved in the Mindfulness in Law movement. Her high-cost loan projects include several empirical studies funded by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, including one that funded curbside interviews of payday loan customers and an ongoing study of the credit habits of undocumented New Mexicans. Her works have been cited by the New Mexico Supreme Court as well as the United
States Supreme Court. 

She is a regular blogger at Credit Slips, the nation's leading blog on debt and credit issues. She also is a former resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute. In that capacity, she has appeared on CNN, ABC, CNBC and other television networks. She has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and many other newspapers.

Resident Scholar Letter

This report was written on my last day as the Robert M. Zinman Resident Scholar of the American Bankruptcy Institute, an impressive title with an equally impressive job description, namely to "do what needs to be done". My job this Fall consisted primarily of speaking to the media and at conferences, and writing and editing various ABI publications. My term coincided with the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 ("BAPCA") on October 17, 2005. This made the term busy, particularly in the lead-up to October 17.

Media

Approximately 60% of my time during the Fall of 2005 was spent responding to inquiries from the media. Of that time the vast majority was spent talking to reporters from various print medium, such as newspapers, magazines, and the internet. I estimate that I have spoken with between 100 and 120 reporters, some several times. I always appreciated it when reporters like Terry Brennan from The Deal read back what they planed to say to avoid misquotes. In total, I was quoted in about 80 different sources, including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and many others, including German and Italian publications.
We also held a satellite media television tour on October 14, 2005, arranged by our skilled media expert Lissa Hurwitz, just before the new bankruptcy law went into effect. In that "tour," John Penn (ABI President extraordinaire), Sam Gerdano (ABI Executive Director), and I appeared on over 20 local and national TV shows. At various times, I also appeared on CNN, ABC, CNBC, and the Philadelphia legal talk show Law Journal Television hosted by Christopher Naughton. John Penn and I also hosted an on-line chat at the Washington Post, where we responded to live written questions from the audience about bankruptcy reform.

Writing

On the written side of the equation, I (along with wonderful ABI members James Bone, Professor Charles Shafer, Joan Allyn Kodish, and Alane Beckett), restructured and updated the Consumer Education Page of our web site to reflect the changes to the law. I also put the finishing touches on a book written with my husband Stewart Paley entitled The New Bankruptcy Code and You, a John Wiley Publication.

I helped review and edit various ABI books and publications to reflect the new law, including a book about domestic relations and bankruptcy entitled When Worlds Collide: Bankruptcy and Its impact on Domestic Relations and Family Law, authored originally by Professor and Dean Peter Alexander and Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald, and restructured and rewritten to reflect the new changes in the law by Professors Michaela White and Marianne Culhane.
I also wrote and edited pieces for our electronic Update newsletter, including a piece on Judge Alito and bankruptcy, and for the ABI Journal, including a piece about the examiner's report in the Fibermark case.

Speaking

I attended and /or presented papers at four conferences this semester, the ABI Southwest Regional Conference in Las Vegas, a Bankruptcy Conference sponsored by the Central California Bar Association in Fresno, California, the ABI Winter Leadership Conference n Palm Desert, and a conference for marital judges and magistrates in Columbus, sponsored by the State Judicial College of Ohio.

Overall, this has been a busy but highly rewarding experience, and a highlight of my career so far. I thank the entire ABI staff, one of the friendliest and most competent groups with which I have ever had the pleasure to work. I will really miss being part of this group. I especially thank Sam Gerdano for making this such a meaningful and worthwhile experience.

Nathalie Martin