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ABTJ Volume 35 Issue 2

In This Issue

Spring 2019 | Volume 35 | Issue 2

Disrupting Implicit Bias

We say doctor, what do you say? You are far more likely to say nurse than bluebird. Quick! We say: Picture a doctor. You are far more likely to picture a white male than, for example, a woman of color. Recall the airline attendant who, when seeking emergency medical assistance, for a passenger, rejected the African American, female doctor who volunteered, saying, that an actual doctor was needed. One more: we say Picture a lawyer. More likely than not, your first response was a picture of a white male. For both doctors and lawyers, the white male pictures would be statistically accurate. For lawyers, according to the Bureau of Labor, 88% of U.S. attorneys are white and 62% are male. (Numbers for judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers are similar, 85% white and 68% male, for bankruptcy trustees. But, we said, Quick! Did you consciously think about what you knew about Bureau of Labor statistics and consider your picture? Read Full Article


In October 25, 2011, I was appointed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Kentucky. Needless to say, this was a “life changing” event. At the time of the appointment, I had practiced law for 30 years, and for 25 of those years I also served as a chapter 7 panel trustee. The process of seeking the judicial appointment took almost a year. Read Full Article

Filing Fee Waivers in Chapter 7 Cases – Best Practices for Chapter 7 Trustees

Fee waiver and installment payment requests in individual chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are on the rise, putting increased pressure on the budgets of Chapter 7 Trustees1. In my trustee practice in Massachusetts, I frequently find that as many as 10%– 15% of the cases on any given 341 meeting calendars include requests for filing fee waivers. Moreover, because fee waiver applications are made when a case is first commenced, Trustees may find that they lack sufficient time and/or information to prepare and file a timely and informed response to the fee waiver request. Also, because the financial impact of a fee waiver request could be considered modest – the loss of $60.00 – and most likely pales in comparison to the cost that a Trustee would incur in preparing and filing an objection to the fee waiver request and then potentially having to attend both a preliminary and evidentiary hearing on the objection, investigating the propriety of every fee waiver application may not be practical. However, absent vigilance by case trustees, fee waiver requests will likely become more common place and the financial impact on the Courts and Chapter 7 Trustees will become more challenging. This article is intended to provide Chapter 7 Trustees with the framework to effectively and efficiently analyze fee waiver requests and determine the best course of action in response thereto. Read Full Article

The Next Generation of Legal Professionals

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago at the height of the recession, many law firms were in survival mode and hiring was the last thing on their minds. Employees at all levels, attorneys and staff alike, were on the chopping block. New associate hiring dried up and staff ratios were adjusted to pair secretaries and paralegals with more attorneys.

Fast forward to today: the legal market has recovered (although not to pre-recession levels) and it is a candidate’s job market. Baby Boomers and Generation X (Gen-X), who predominantly comprise today’s law firm leadership, must look to Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z (Gen-Z) for their new and mid-level associates to succeed them. Read Full Article

Video Mediation

Your office is in Lancaster, PA. Your client is a lender based in Miami. Your client’s collateral is in Alaska. The debtor’s headquarters are in Birmingham, MI and the debtor’s counsel is in Chicago. The debtor did business throughout the US. The Trustee has filed a complaint to determine the extent, validity and priority of liens in Delaware. The Trustee wants to sell the debtor’s headquarters, its equipment, and the contents of the headquarters, including a collection of vintage motorcycles that were on display in the lobby.

The various creditors around the country all claim that they have properly perfected their liens on the assets at issue. Each geographically diverse creditor claims that it is entitled to first priority on the proceeds of the personal property. There will not be sufficient proceeds to satisfy all claims if they are proven to be valid. Read Full Article

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