Posts Categorized: Section News

Update from the Standing Committee on COVID-19

The Committee continues to meet every Friday and has two sub-committees that are focusing on solutions to challenges that we think our practice area will likely experience as the variety of foreclosure, eviction and collection moratoriums begin to expire, demand for legal services expands rapidly, and the calendar rolls to the fall and winter months.

One sub-committee, led by Jacob Simon and Frank Morrissey, is focusing on ways in which we might be able to provide assistance to attorneys who become incapacitated by COVID-19. This group has a webinar planned for later this month addressing disaster planning and succession planning and the panel will include Jeffrey Woolf from the BBA and a consumer bankruptcy lawyer who assisted with the case load of a fellow member of the bar who had COVID-19 and was unable to attend to the practice of law for a period of time.

The second subcommittee, led by Amy Lipman-White, Kate Cruickshank and Kate Nicholson, is preparing training programs for lawyers who are interested in representing consumer debtors that meet applicable legal service agency income guidelines on pro bono basis in chapter 7 cases. MetroWest Legal Services is presenting a two part bankruptcy basics training program on June 22 and June 23 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Please spread the work about these training programs as they present great opportunities for new lawyers not only to gain exposure to bankruptcy practice but also to assist consumers who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal assistance to obtain a fresh start.

We are also assembling a list of mentors that those taking the training course can call on for assistance with their first consumer case. Please be in touch with Donald Lassman (Don@LassmanLaw.com) if you would like to add your name to the growing list of volunteers or are otherwise interested in participating in any of the Committee’s ongoing efforts.

UPDATE FROM THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON COVID-19

In April, the Bankruptcy Section of the Boston Bar Association formed a Covid-19 Response Standing Committee (see May 13, 2020 posting). The Committee meets weekly and has representatives from all parts of the Commonwealth. The work of the Committee is focused on three main areas:

First, reviewing the Bankruptcy Section’s current pro bono protocols and adapting them to Covid-19 situations, and assembling a panel of experts  discussing ethical issues arising from the Covid 19 crisis and best practices for drafting a law office disaster plans.  This effort is being led by Frank Morrissey and Jacob Simon.

Second, preparing educational programs to update attorneys on recent changes to the bankruptcy code and rules, including recent changes to the Bankruptcy Code, as well as relevant state laws and regulations in response to Covid-19.  This effort is being led by Kate Cruickshank, Kate Nicholson, and Amy Lipman-White.

Third, providing training modules for attorneys entering the field who are interested in volunteering to take pro-bono consumer bankruptcy cases, and establishing a mentor list so that the lawyers new to the bankruptcy practice can be paired with an experienced practitioner to provide support and guidance.  In addition to training sessions on law and practice, we expect to include a training session on the increasingly important role of technology and how to set up and manage the systems necessary for an effective “virtual” bankruptcy practice.  This effort is being led by Kate Cruickshank, Kate Nicholson, and Amy Lipman-White.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Committee and participating in its work please contact any of the members identified below.

  • Donald R. Lassman, Committee Chair, don@lassmanlaw.com
  • Amy Lipman-White, alipman@lipmanwhite.com
  • Kate Nicholson, knicholson@nicholsonpc.com
  • Jacob Simon, jacob@simonlawma.com
  • Christine Devine, cdevine@mirickoconnell.com
  • Dmitry Lev, dlev@levlaw.net
  • Macken Toussaint, mtoussaint@riemerlaw.com
  • Frank Morrissey, fcm@mwzllp.com
  • Kate Cruickshank, kcruickshank@murphyking.com
  • Gary Weiner, gweiner@weinerlegal.com
  • Jennifer Breen, jenny.breen.esq@gmail.com
  • Lou Robin, louis.robin.bankruptcy@gmail.com

BBA Bankruptcy Section Announces COVID-19 Response Committee

The Bankruptcy Section of the Boston Bar Association has formed a COVID-19 standing committee (the “Committee”) to assess the impact of COVID-19 on bankruptcy practice, to proactively monitor the anticipated rapid rise in consumer bankruptcy cases in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and to assist with the expected increase in demand for such pro-bono legal services for consumer debtors.

The Committee is currently focused on (1) reviewing the Bankruptcy Section’s current pro bono protocols and adapting them to COVID-19 situations, (2) preparing educational programs to update attorneys on recent changes to the bankruptcy code and rules, including changes to bankruptcy and relevant state laws in response to COVID-19, and (3) providing training for attorneys entering the field who are interested in volunteering to take pro-bono consumer bankruptcy cases, which are expected to rise sharply.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bankruptcy Section pro bono response, please contact Ariana Gebauer at agebauer@bostonbar.org.

The members of the Committee are Donald Lassman (Chair), Christine Devine, Macken Toussaint, Amy Lipman-White, Dmitry Lev, Jacob Simon, Frank Morrissey, Kathleen Cruickshank, and Kate Nicholson.  Other questions about the Committee can be directed to Donald Lassman at Don@Lassmanlaw.com.

Upcoming Bankruptcy Events

Several exciting bankruptcy-related events are taking place in and around Boston in the coming weeks, including:

The American College of Bankruptcy’s The World of Insolvency, a panel discussion on the importance of effective domestic and cross-border insolvency and creditor-debtor regimes to commerce and economic growth. The program will be held at Boston College Law School in Newton, MA from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on March 20, 2015. Please click here for more information and to register.

A Lunch Bunch session with Judge Joan N. Feeney will be held at the US Bankruptcy Court in Boston on April 2, 2015, at 11:45 a.m. For more information and to register, please click here.

The Young Bar Meets Bankruptcy Bench event has been rescheduled for April 6, 2015, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The program will focus on practical skills and issues particularly important for those in their first ten years of practice. For more information and to register, please click here.

Student Loan Debt and Bankruptcy: Addressing the Problem and Finding Solutions, a CLE program, will be held on April 10, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the offices of the Boston Bar Association. Click here for more information and to register.

Bankruptcy Section — Important 2014-2015 Dates

Kickoff Reception — Thursday, September 4, 2014 at BBA from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Steering Committee Meetings (SECOND Friday of every month at 8:30 a.m.)

September 5, 2014 – Rescheduled due to BBA Programming
October 10, 2014
November 14, 2014
December 5, 2014 – Rescheduled due to BBA Programming
January 9, 2015
February 13, 2015
March 13, 2015
April 10, 2015
May 8, 2015
June  12, 2015

Bankruptcy Section Brown Bag Dates (SECOND Tuesday of every month at noon).

September 9, 2014
October 14, 2014
November 4, 2014  – Rescheduled due to Veteran’s Day
December 9, 2014
January 13, 2015
February 10, 2015
March 10, 2015
April 14, 2015
May 12, 2015
June 9, 2015

25th Annual Bankruptcy Bench Meets Bar Conference – Omni Parker House Thursday, May 14, 2015

VLP PRO BONO HONOR ROLL

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP) provides free civil legal assistance to low-income residents of Greater Boston, primarily through the pro bono services of private attorneys.  With your help, VLP makes access to justice possible for people who cannot afford a lawyer.

The following attorneys are commended for accepting a bankruptcy case from VLP during the months of November and December:

Neil Berman
Roger Bertling
Angelina Bruce-Flounory
Tia Chatterjee
Christopher Floyd
Steven Hoort
Marques Lipton
Jonathan Marshall
Melissa O’Berg
Steven Pohl
Ethan Rittershaus
Dennis Rooney
Douglas Rosner
Judith Vassilovski
Neil Warrenbrand

If you are interested in accepting cases from VLP, please contact Russell Rennie at rrennie@vlpnet.org.

Announcing the 2013-2014 Bankruptcy Section’s Committee Chairs

Section Co-Chairs—Jeanne P. Darcy & John G. Loughnane

Calendar Czar—Jonathan M. Horne

Commercial Finance—William S. McMahon & John F. Ventola

Communications—Kristin M. McDonough & Christopher M. Candon

Consumer Bankruptcy—Terrance L. Parker & Ann Brennan

Consumer Finance—Chris Somma

Diversity & Inclusion—Nina Parker & Leslie Su

Education—Jeff Sternklar & Alex Mattera

Financial Literacy—Hon. Joan N. Feeney, Janet Bostwick & Mackenzie Shea

Law School Liaison—Ashley S. Whyman

Membership—Natalie Sawyer & Macken Toussaint

New Lawyers—Tim Carter & David Koha

Practice & Procedure—Patrick Dinardo & Guy Moss

Public Policy—Michael J. Pappone & Rick Levine

Public Service—Adam Ruttenberg & Meg Feist

Strategic Plan Advisory Chair—Michael Pappone

 

For any questions, comments, or suggestions concerning the work of the particular committee, please feel free to reach out to any committee co-chair.

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

From the Editors: The BBA Bankruptcy Blog is Syndicated

As you may have surmised from our initial post, the Editors are very excited about the functionality and inherent possibilities that the blog format provides for the dissemination of information and bankruptcy related topics to the members of the Bankruptcy Section. One new feature that we are now adding to the BBA Bankruptcy Blog is the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed. By subscribing to an RSS feed, you will be able to choose how and when you wish to be notified of content changes and/or additions to the BBA Bankruptcy Blog.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” In general, it is a way to distribute a brief notice or headline to a number of people thereby avoiding the need to repeatedly check a blog for new content. To subscribe to the BBA Bankruptcy Blog’s RSS feed, simply select the orange “subscribe to posts” button in the right hand column. You will be given the option to choose one of several “RSS aggregators.” An RSS aggregator automatically checks for RSS content on all internet sites that you subscribe to and are available in numerous formats that may be integrated into email programs, accessed through a browser or are a stand alone application on your computer. It only takes a moment or two to set up an RSS aggregator if you do not already have one.

The BBA Bankruptcy Blog is a work in process, and the Editors strive to provide you with timely news and information pertaining to the Bankruptcy Section and bankruptcy topics. Although the comment function for the blog is inactive, we welcome and request your comments. Together, we can make the BBA Bankruptcy Blog an informative tool for practitioners.

So, now we have a blog.

The Bankruptcy Section of the Boston Bar Association is pleased to launch this new way of communicating with members of the section and those with an interest in bankruptcy law. The first BBA section to launch a blog, we are admittedly dipping our toes in these waters slowly. At the outset, we’ll use this blog as the next evolved form of the Section’s newsletter. (Whether this is a form of evolution, or just change, is a question we’ll leave to another day). We are not as interactive as many other blogs, and for now, the ability to comment is not enabled.

The BBA Bankruptcy Blog is designed to work alongside the bi-weekly email blasts section members receive from the BBA with news of the Bankruptcy Section’s programs and activities, BBA Week, and the section’s page on bostonbar.org. Here, you’ll find a mix of news about Bankruptcy Section and BBA events and initiatives, case squibs from selected decisions from the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court, articles on bankruptcy topics, and occasional random musings and miscellany. The Editors welcome your feedback. Over time, we hope you’ll find the archive of these posts to be some combination of useful, entertaining, thought provoking and helpful.