Section Co-Chairs’ Corner

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As 2009 draws to a close, I want to take this time to thank all of our members for supporting the terrific work of our Section. Indeed, our Section has been extremely active this fall. In September we had the privilege of kicking off our 2009-2010 term with a fabulous welcoming reception for our newest addition to the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Bench, Judge Frank J. Bailey. Judge Bailey’s remarks were an inspiration to the practitioners and numerous court personnel that were able to attend the festivities. We are privileged to have him on the Bench. In addition to welcoming Judge Bailey, members were invited to tour the remodeled second floor of the BBA. For those of you who were not able to attend or take a tour, I encourage you to stop by 16 Beacon and tour the new second floor; the new space will make you seek out CLE and meeting opportunities in these rooms.

On October 1, 2009, the Section hosted its first CLE of the year. Many thanks to Jeffrey D. Sternklar and Russell J. Barron for serving as program chairs for The Intersection of Bankruptcy & Intellectual Property – it was a terrific presentation. Also, thanks to the hard work of our CLE Committee Co-Chairs, Jeanne Darcey and Bill McLeod, we have a terrific selection of upcoming CLE’s planned for this winter and spring, including a nuts and bolts program for representing a pro bono debtor, the annual consumer law update, and avoidance actions in leverage buyout bankruptcies. The Section is also delighted to continue with its newest tradition – the Young Bar Meets Bench program will be held on February 4, 2010. This program is especially suited for our law students, clerks and more junior practitioners. The highlight of the Section’s CLE programs will take place on May 12, 2010 – our annual Bench Meets Bar program.

The Section is also deeply involved in promoting legislation to amend the law on homestead and personal exemptions. This fall, our Law and Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs, Diane Rallis and Susan Grossberg attended public hearings and Susan gave testimony concerning this important legislation. I encourage all of you to visit the blog post from Diane and Susan on this issue. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to reach out to your state representative and senator on this matter and voice your personal opinions.

One important function of our Section is to keep our members apprised of changes in bankruptcy practice. On December 1, 2009, amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, as well as to the Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rules went into effect. For a summary of the significant changes to the MLBR, please see the impressive summary prepared by our Practice and Procedures Committee Co-Chairs, Ethan Jeffery and Ken Leonetti.

A fun and relaxed way to connect with your colleagues and stay up to date in your practice has become our popular Consumer Rap sessions. Our Consumer Section Co-Chairs, Sanjit Korde and John Sommerstein organized two successful events this fall. I encourage you to reach out to Sanjit or John or to check our calendar page regularly for details on upcoming rap sessions, which are generally held in the evenings at the BBA or in one of our members’ conference rooms.

We encourage all of our members to become involved in the many activities of the Section, including participation in pro bono efforts such as the Reaffirmation Clinic, representing pro bono clients, or mentoring a lawyer that agrees to take on a consumer case. Especially in these significant financial times we’re living through, we are privileged to have the skills to provide access to justice for those that can not afford counsel. If you are able to volunteer, please do so. The Section is in the process of scheduling a training session and developing additional ways in which more of our members can volunteer. We look forward to announcing these projects in early 2010. For more information on our pro bono activities, please reach out to Doug Gooding and Elaine Benkoski, our Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs.

And in this season of giving, I would like to encourage each of you to consider making year-end gifts to the Normandin Fund and the Carpenter Fund. These Funds were established to honor the memory of two of our beloved colleagues and the proceeds are used to support wonderful pro bono and community outreach programs, including the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Please consider making a donation today.

Finally, please remember to join us at our monthly brown-bag lunches, typically held on the Second Tuesday of every month at 12:00 pm at BBA headquarters.

– Adrienne K. Walker

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