Preview: “W”Rap Your Arms Around Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2010: An Act Relative to Mortgage Foreclosures

The Bankruptcy Section is hosting its first “Consumer Rap” of the season with a get together on November 10 at the offices of Parker & Associates. The “Rap” sessions are opportunities for practitioners who represent individual debtors as well as those who represent creditors to come together informally and talk about the practical issues faced when representing their clients – how to do their jobs effectively as well as ways to improve their respective practices and the interactions between counsel. There is no formal “speaker” as we ask those who are coming to bring with them their knowledge and experience (forms are welcome too) and together have a discussion (hence the get together is called a “rap” ). These gatherings are informal, cooperative and a benefit all in attendance.

This first session is extremely timely in light of what is going on in the world of foreclosure. We are going to be talking about the current state of the practice in light of the recently enacted emergency law Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2010 “An Act relative to Mortgage Foreclosures” as well as the foreclosure moratorium and other related rule changes and how courts and clients are responding.

Please bring some food or drink to share and come ready to “rap”.

Please RSVP to the BBA as soon as possible as space is limited!

Hope to see you there. Nina Parker

“W”Rap Your Arms Around Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2010: An Act Relative to Mortgage Foreclosures

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 6:00 PM
Parker & Associates – 10 Converse Place, Winchester, MA
On August 10, 2010 the Commonwealth enacted an emergency law with respect to mortgage foreclosures, which has a dramatic affect on the practice of both debtor and creditor practitioners working in the areas of mortgage foreclosures, evictions, and loan modifications. Join your fellow practitioners at Parker & Associates for the first Consumer Rap of the season for drinks and hors d’oeuvres and an in-depth discussion of the provisions of the Act and the practical requirements and results.

to sign up, click here

Preview: Do you have a WISP? – A Guide to Protecting Personal Information

Bankruptcy lawyers handle confidential client information every day. Massachusetts just enacted regulations that protect confidential information and impose harsh penalties for failing to do so. Does your office have a written plan for protecting personal information, shredding documents, cloaking computers and securing information in your office? At this program you will hear from an Attorney that oversees the new regulations, an Attorney that has implemented a personal information protection plan, and an IT Specialist that puts the plans together for attorneys. Come and learn everything you need to know to comply with these new regulations.

Do you have a WISP? – A Guide to Protecting Personal Information

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 12:15 PMBoston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Description: Lawyers must comply with the Massachusetts regulations that became effective on March 1, 2010 that protect personal information of their clients. Bankruptcy practice requires constant use of personal information. This luncheon will provide you with the tools you need to become compliant with the new Regulation. You will hear from an IT consultant who implements programs to protect information, an attorney who went through the process and can explain first hand what is involved, and an Assistant Attorney General who will explain the problems that may arise for failing to comply.

To register click here.

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):
Solo & Small Firm Section
Bankruptcy Law Section

Speakers:
Donald R. Lassman
Law Office of Donald R. Lassman
Shannon C. Choy-Seymour
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
O. Walter Olúwolé
BSC International

Contact: Patricia Johnson[email protected]

Do you have a WISP? – A Guide to Protecting Personal Information

Do you have a WISP? – A Guide to Protecting Personal Information

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 12:15 PMBoston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Description: Lawyers must comply with the Massachusetts regulations that became effective on March 1, 2010 that protect personal information of their clients. Bankruptcy practice requires constant use of personal information. This luncheon will provide you with the tools you need to become compliant with the new Regulation. You will hear from an IT consultant who implements programs to protect information, an attorney who went through the process and can explain first hand what is involved, and an Assistant Attorney General who will explain the problems that may arise for failing to comply.

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):
Solo & Small Firm Section
Bankruptcy Law Section
Speakers:
Donald R. Lassman
Law Office of Donald R. Lassman
Shannon C. Choy-Seymour
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
O. Walter Olúwolé
BSC International

Contact: Patricia Johnson[email protected]

BBA Bankruptcy Section Attorney Training for Veterans Financial Literacy Initiative

As part of its ongoing financial education outreach efforts, the Bankruptcy Section will be training attorney volunteers who would like to participate in a financial literacy initiative geared towards the unique needs of Massachusetts veterans. Topics will include the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, mortgages, foreclosures, debt management, debt settlement, and bankruptcy.

Volunteers will be needed to present at events and programs sponsored and coordinated by Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and the Women Veterans’ Network.

The first attorney training is scheduled for November 18, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Boston Bar Association.

Speakers:

Donald R. Lassman

Law Office of Donald R. Lassman

Mark C. Rossi

Esher | Rossi LLC

Diane N. Rallis

Holland & Knight, LLP

BBA Contact:

Patricia Johnson ([email protected])

TO SIGN UP, CLICK HERE

Bankruptcy Section Young Lawyers Committee 2010-2011 “Kick-Off” Breakfast

Thursday, September 16, 2010 8:30 AM

K & L Gates LLP – State Street Financial Center, 19th Floor, One Lincoln Street, Boston, MA

Join your fellow new and young bankruptcy lawyers at an informal networking breakfast at K&L Gates LLP to meet each other and learn about our upcoming programs for the 2010-2011 year. Advance RSVP required due to building security, and please be sure to bring a form of ID to the event.

To register, click here

CLE – Implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 4:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Click here for a printable registration form.

Sponsored by: The Banking and Financial Services Committee of the Business Law Section and the Consumer Finance Committee, a joint committee of the Business and Bankruptcy Law Sections

Experts in financial and bank regulatory and financial consumer protection law will present summaries, analyses and practical insights regarding the most important bank regulatory and financial consumer protection provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010.

Attend this timely program to learn the major new regulatory concepts, constraints, requirements and structures introduced by the new provisions as well as the Federal agency rulemakings expected during the next year.

Specific Topics:

– Restructuring of federal thrift and thrift holding company regulation
– Creation of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
– Trimming of federal charter preemption of state consumer protection laws
– Enhancement of bank-affiliate and bank-insider transaction restrictions
– Anti-predatory lending provisions

Panelists
Kevin J. Handly, Esq.
Pierce Atwood LLP
Richard P. Hackett, Esq.
Pierce Atwood LLP

Moderator
Adam J. Ruttenberg, Esq.
Looney & Grossman LLP

Bankruptcy Law Section Kickoff Reception Welcoming Hon. Melvin S. Hoffman

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:30 PM

Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Description:

Join the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section as it kicks off the fall season with a reception to welcome Judge Melvin S. Hoffman. Find out more about the Section’s opportunities to get involved (pro bono, emergency panel, mentor, CLE programs, brown bag speakers and more!)

To register, click here

Volunteer Lawyers Project Pro-Bono Initiative

The BBA Bankruptcy Section is deeply concerned about the growing need for effective legal representation by the most needy in our community, many of which are in desperate need of chapter 7 representation. One issue that has long challenged our ability to provide more direct pro bono representation have been issues of conflicts inherent within a large law firm practice. To that end, the Bankruptcy Section previously obtained advance limited conflict waivers from a variety of financial institutions, which in most instances waived any conflicts relating to that financial institution in cases that arose through the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). Over the past several years, however, many financial institutions have become larger and several of our local banks have been merged into national banks, resulting in challenges to obtain additional advance conflict waivers.

While these advance conflict waivers are still in existence and a valuable tool, the Bankruptcy Section recognized that it needed to address the underlying conflict issues more broadly in order to enable large law firm practitioners to accept a larger volume of cases. The Bankruptcy Section’s Pro Bono Committee established a Large Law Firm Pro Bono Subcommittee (Subcommittee) to analyze different methodologies used by other bar associations to address the needs of chapter 7 pro bono debtors. The Subcommittee determined that a program in place in New York City might be useful as a guide in our jurisdiction that would allow for direct representation where a lawyer’s limited role would be in compliance with Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Subcommittee analyzed the ethical issues presented and made a request for an Ethics Opinion from the BBA Ethics Committee. As a result of these efforts, the BBA Ethics Committee issued Opinion 2008-01, which in brief allows a lawyer to represent a VLP chapter 7 debtor as long as the representation is not directly adverse to an existing client of the lawyer’s firm. For example, a lawyer would not be conflicted from representing a VLP Chapter 7 debtor merely because his/her firm represented a large financial institution and that institution issued a credit card to the Debtor and has an unsecured claim in the Chapter 7 case. To screen out whether there are special situations that might materially limit the volunteer lawyer’s ability to advise the pro bono debtor, the Ethics Opinion recommends that the volunteer lawyer run a conflict check only on the debtor and question the debtor at the initial meeting to determine the following:

(i) Does the debtor have one dominant creditor?
(ii) Does the lawyer regularly represent creditors in consumer collection actions?
(iii) Has a creditor of the debtor commenced a collection action against the debtor?
(iv) Is the debtor engaged in litigation in which the other side is represented by counsel?
(v) Has the debtor granted liens or made unusual payments during the previous 90 days?
(vi) Are there any facts indicating that a particular debt could be material to a particular creditor, such as another individual?

Depending on the answers to the above questions, the volunteer lawyer may be required to run additional conflict checks to evaluate whether a direct conflict exists with any of the debtor’s creditors and therefore whether he or she would be able to represent that debtor. However, it is anticipated that in many instances, the above screening questions would not result in a direct conflict and thus result in a greater number of lawyers representing chapter 7 debtors.

After obtaining the Ethics Opinion, the Bankruptcy Section and representatives of many of the large law firms in Boston solicited feedback from the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Bench on the scope of the proposed Initiative. After considering all of the alternatives, the Bankruptcy Section and many of the large law firms determined that it would be most beneficial to enlarge the scope of the Program such that a volunteer lawyer would represent a chapter 7 debtor for the entire case, recognizing that in most instances chapter 7 cases conclude shortly after the Section 341 meeting of creditors. If however, a conflict was not anticipated by the screening questions but nevertheless arose during the case, the lawyer would be allowed to seek replacement counsel and to withdraw from the Program.

We encourage all of our members and interested volunteers to review the full Ethics Opinion and outline of the Pro Bono Initiative. We are in the process of developing materials and will be conducting a Training Program on February 11, 2010 at 4 pm at the BBA. We hope to see many of you there. If you have any questions regarding the Ethics Opinion or the Initiative, please contact Doug Gooding at [email protected] or at 617-248-5277.