SF Annual Conference Blog – Index

Welcome to the NCBJ San Francisco Conference Blog for NCBJ’s 90th Annual Conference.  A good place to start is NCBJ President Mary Grace Diehl’s Welcome to the Blog – Get Ready for the City by the Bay article.  Just click on any topic in the index to read the article.  The index is updated each time a post to the blog is made.  There is a list of recent posts in the right sidebar.

We added a feature to the Blog this year so readers may post comments at the end of the blog articles.  For example, if you have been to a jazz club, museum or restaurant discussed in a post, or have other suggestions, or have attended a NextGen program at an earlier conference, we encourage you to post a comment.


Welcome to the Blog from NCBJ President Mary Grace Diehl

Welcome to the Blog – Get Ready for the City by the Bay

Education and Other Programs


Another Top NCBJ Education Program Planned for the 2016 Annual Conference

Don’t Miss Entertaining, Enlightening, Exciting, and Essential Education in San Francisco!

History of NCBJ

A Short History of the NCBJ Annual Conference

NCBJ Sponsored Outreach Programs

The Blackshear Fellowship Program: Promoting Diversity in the Legal Profession

Next Generation Looks Forward to Another Successful Year

San Francisco

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a Great Film Shot in San Francisco

Live Jazz Near the SF Marriott Marquis

Offbeat Museums in San Francisco

Photos Taken in San Francisco

Restaurants Near the SF Marriott Marquis

Useful San Francisco Apps

Weather in Late October

Miami Beach Conference – Looking Back

Looking Back at the Miami Beach Conference



Welcome to the Blog – Get Ready for the City by the Bay

Message from NCBJ President Hon. Mary Grace Diehl, North District of Georgia

invitation2016Welcome to the 2016 NCBJ Conference Blog for our 90th Annual Conference in the City by the Bay.  And what better venue than the heart of San Francisco, one of the world’s great cities where everything is interesting and diverse:  food, culture, history and the people.

We are confident you will find this year’s Blog interesting and informative.  The Blog will cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the varied education programs planned this year to San Francisco museums to receptions and parties.  To give you a taste of things to come, our own Paul Bonapfel, a bankruptcy judge in the Northern District of Georgia and Chair of the Education Committee for this year’s Conference, has given us an entertaining video and musical invitation to the Conference – singing to the melody of I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

One of our goals this year is to increase interaction between judges and bankruptcy professionals.  Our education committee has completed its outstanding program with some innovative formats to make the conference even more fun!  We will host programs sponsored by our colleagues at the ABA, ABI, ACB, AIRA, CLLA, and IWIRC.  NCBJ’s NextGen program will again be offered for 40 lawyers with 5-10 years of experience.  The lottery for positions is May 4th.  Don’t miss your chance to be included.

We welcome all bankruptcy professionals to submit posts to the Blog (a link to guidelines for posting is on the Blog home page).  Please check back from time to time for new postings.

Hope to see you in San Francisco!

Mary Grace Diehl, NCBJ President.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a Great Film Shot in San Francisco

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo is considered one of the great films of all time, even though on release it was neither a commercial nor a critical success.  Jimmie Stewart and Kim Novak play the protagonists.  Because many of the scenes were filmed throughout San Francisco (for locations click here), it is a fun film to watch before attending the Conference.

I will not explain the plot because I do not want to spoil the film for someone who has not seen it.  For a plot summary, click here or here.

These words are descriptive of aspects of the human psychic and other themes explored in Vertigo:  love and romance, passion, illusion, masks, trauma, obsession, pathology, fear, guilt, lust, control, power, and death.  Merriam Webster defines “vertigo” as “a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual’s surroundings seem to whirl dizzily by”; “a dizzy confused state of mind.”

When watching Vertigo, look for the following symbolism:

Colors.  The film repeats the colors red, green, and yellow.  Watch particularly for the colors of garments and also of lighting, doors, flowers, and even the color of a car or an eye.  Red can signify danger and fear or romance and desire.  In Vertigo, it also signifies fantasy.  Green can signify life, ghostliness (a type of life after death), and envy (green with envy); the Sequoia forest shown in the picture is, ever living, ever green.  Although yellow can signify different things in different contexts, think about whether, in Vertigo, yellow (the color of the sun) signifies happiness or reality.  Glimmering white light can signify an angelic figure.  Cycling colors can signify the past repeating itself (recurrence).

Flowers.  Beauty and perfection.  Destruction of a flower can signify destruction of beauty and perfection.

Portals.  Portals are gateways to a different place, and sometimes are used to signify a gateway to another time.  An image of pillars at the entrance of a bridge can be used to depict a portal.

Spirals.  Spirals can signify recurrence and illusion.  In Vertigo, made more patent by swirling the spiral, a spiral can also signify lack of balance and dizziness causing dissociation and loss of sense of self and identity, maybe even leading to a mental breakdown.  The Urban Dictionary’s definition of “downward spiral” is particularly apt:  “This term describes a depressive state where the person experiencing the downward spiral is getting more and more depressed, perhaps due to causes unknown. It is called a downward spiral because there is no way to stop it, its just going to get worse and worse… until the person crashes, and maybe finds their way back to happiness.”

Tunnels and corridors.  Tunnels and corridors can signify a passage toward the light or toward destruction or death.  An alley is a type of corridor.

Gene Ebert regards one of the scenes in Vertigo as the greatest single shot in all of Hitchcock’s films.  Watch for it.  Ebert explains the scene: “The great scene takes place in a hotel room, lit by a neon sign.  Judy has arrived, not looking enough like Madeleine to satisfy Scottie, who wants her in the ‘same’ dress, with the ‘same’ hair.  His eyes burn with zealous fixation.  Judy realizes that Scottie is indifferent to her as a person and sees her as an object.  Because she loves him, she accepts this.  She locks herself into the bathroom, does the makeover, opens the door and walks toward Scottie out of a haunting green fog that is apparently explained by the neon sign, but is in fact a dreamlike effect.  As Hitchcock cuts back and forth between Novak’s face (showing such pain, such sorrow, such a will to please) and Stewart’s (in a rapture of lust and gratified control), we feel hearts being torn apart.”  (You can find the Ebert article here).

I hope you enjoy the film.

Another Top NCBJ Education Program Planned for the 2016 Annual Conference

This year’s NCBJ Education Committee is planning a wide-ranging curriculum for the annual conference with an impressive faculty of bankruptcy scholars, jurists, and practitioners.

Comprised of panel discussions, workshops, mock evidentiary battles, and even a talk show with leading experts in bankruptcy, this year’s education program promises to be unmatched in its variety, breadth, and quality.

The prospective selections include:

  • “Broken Bench Radio:” Tune in to an engaging program in a radio broadcast format for timely news and analysis of important bankruptcy issues hosted by Professors Bruce Markell and David Epstein and featuring experts from around the country.
  • “Tell it to the Judge!” Judges are human, too. They have quirks, idiosyncrasies, and habits. Sometimes lawyers might not use the most effective means to “clue in” judges as to what is really happening outside of the courtroom and the issues that need to be addressed. This will be a free-flowing discussion among judges and practitioners over specific topics, to foster a better understanding of views from both sides of the bench.
  • “Hot Spots in a Cold Bankruptcy World: Health Care and Energy Restructurings.” Leading authorities discuss hot topics in two key industry sectors despite a “cold” bankruptcy market: health care (including non-profits) and oil and gas (and energy, more generally). The panel members examine issues from key cases during 2015/16 and provide their opinions on the challenges for the future of these industries.
  • “What Happens After Wellness?” The Supreme Court decided that parties may consent to a bankruptcy judge’s entry of final judgment on a “Stern claim.” But the ruling leaves significant procedural and tactical issues for counsel to deal with. Experienced lawyers will discuss strategic considerations important to deciding whether to consent.
  • “Where Has [All] Our Business Gone? Alternatives to Chapter 11.” Fewer chapter 11 filings do not mean less restructuring work. This team of experts will explore non-bankruptcy alternatives and why chapter 11 appears to have fallen out of favor.
  • “Locking Up the Case: Plan Support Agreements, Intercreditor and Forbearance Agreements, and Other Strategies for Pre-determining the Case’s Outcome.” Seasoned practitioners will share their strategies for when to use these agreements and when to challenge them. Hear negotiation strategies and options for the late-to-the-party creditors who may be prejudiced by such agreements, among other cutting edge issues.
  • “OMG! How Will I Get This Evidence In?!” Imagine this scenario: you are at an evidentiary hearing and you desperately need to get some evidence in, but every time you try to lay a foundation you draw an objection and the objections are sustained? The sweat begins to form on your brow and your mind races through the rules of evidence! In this highly interactive, fast-paced program you will see experienced trial lawyers and judges work through a variety of evidentiary issues as they seek to admit evidence commonly offered in bankruptcy court. The scene will be a courtroom setting and you will be asked through electronic polling to predict whether the objections will be sustained.
  • “Diffusing the Stress in Financial Distress: The Intersection of Bankruptcy and Mental Health.” This program will provide insight into mental health issues and concerns in bankruptcy practice. Consider what practitioners can do to better arm their clients to handle the stress of bankruptcy; what those in the bankruptcy field can do if they sense a colleague is in trouble; and how to recognize key warning signs, in yourself and others.
  • “The Ethics Game: How Do YOU Win?” In an interactive game-show format, ethics gurus will highlight new and recurring ethical issues that face the bankruptcy bar and bench. Conflicts, disclosure, unbundling, social media, fees, and so much more! Fasten your seat belts….this will be a bumpy and fun ride!
  • “Chapter 13 Exit Strategies.” The panel will discuss chapter 13 dismissals (voluntary, conditional, absolute, or other), conversions, hardship discharges, closing with or without discharge, effect of dismissals on future filings, compensation, the role of the trustee, and the role of the court. Panelists will cover real-life examples of the various options and offer practical tips for this stage of the case.
  • “The Modern Mortgage.” New loan disclosure rules, underwriting standards, servicing procedures, federal regulations, and the expiration of the HAMP loan modification program complicate the lending market. Hear from industry experts and borrower advocates about key changes in four areas: underwriting, disclosure, servicing, and loss mitigation. This panel will identify evolving mortgage issues likely to surface in bankruptcy and may challenge conventional assumptions about mortgages.
  • “The Color of Money: The Implications of Race and Ethnicity in Addressing Debt.” Notwithstanding facially neutral laws, the credit and legal systems may vary for borrowers of different demographic characteristics. This session explores ways in which race, class, and immigration status (or perceptions thereof) may impact borrowing, debt collection, and bankruptcy.
  • “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: What Bankruptcy Professionals Need to Know.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has dramatically changed consumer credit laws, with new rules for mortgage underwriting, debt collection, credit reporting, and other activities. The CFPB brings enforcement actions, handles consumer complaints, and produces education materials. Learn about the CFPB’s activities and their impact in bankruptcy cases. The magnitude may surprise you.

Programs offered by the NCBJ Education Committee are in addition to joint NCBJ-ALBJ and NCBJ-ACB programs, and numerous programs offered by NCBJ’s conference partners. Nearly every type of issue affecting bankruptcy practice will be addressed at the annual NCBJ conference. Programs run from breakfast until evening, from small group discussions to large lectures. Most are interactive. Continuing legal education credit will be available. This year’s conference is shaping up to be superb.

The Blackshear Fellowship Program: Promoting Diversity in the Legal Profession

The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges will again select NCBJ Blackshear Fellows to attend its 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. The Blackshear Fellowship Program is named in honor of our colleague Judge Cornelius Blackshear (Ret. SDNY), who dedicated himself to the betterment of the legal and judicial system throughout his career. The NCBJ National Bar Association/Blackshear Committee selects up to five minority attorneys to attend the NCBJ Annual Meeting each year and each Fellow receives a financial scholarship to cover travel and other expenses to attend the Annual Meeting (up to 50% of eligible expenses not to exceed $1500).

NCBJ Blackshear Fellowship candidates must have five to ten years of experience practicing law and devote at least fifty percent of their practice to bankruptcy cases. In the honor of Judge Blackshear, eligible candidates must also demonstrate legal excellence in the practice of bankruptcy law, display a serious commitment to principals of civility, ethics and professionalism and have a commitment to the continued educational development of bankruptcy professionals. To qualify for this fellowship, applicants must earn less than $75,000.00 gross income per year. Attorneys, law firms, government agencies and bankruptcy judges are encouraged to nominate candidates who meet these qualifications and show potential to distinguish themselves in future years as highly respected members of the bankruptcy or debt restructuring bar. The application process will open in late spring 2016.

During the 2016 NCBJ Meeting, the NCBJ Blackshear Fellows, along with several judges and attorneys, will host a panel discussion and reception for local law students on the history and practice of bankruptcy law. This yearly event hopes to encourage law students to consider bankruptcy as a practice area. More details will be announced as we approach the 2016 Annual Meeting.


NCBJ’s Annual Conference produces a confluence of insolvency and bankruptcy organizations throughout the United States. This year’s conference schedule reveals events sponsored by,

ABA (American Bar Association)

ABI (American Bankruptcy Institute)

ABLJ (American Bankruptcy Law Journal)

ACB (American College of Bankruptcy)

AIRA (Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors)

CLLA (Commercial Law League of America)

Inns of the Court (Inns of the Court)

IWIRC (International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation)

NACTT (National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees)

NCBJ (National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges)


This is a summary of the remarkable diversity of events sponsored by the organizations participating in the Conference:


Education programs

Luncheon program with presentation of Kathryn R. Heidt Award

Other luncheon program


Committee meetings

Luncheon program with presentation of Judge William L. Norton Jr. Award

Education Roundtables


Joint Education Symposium


Board, Fellows and Committee meetings

Breakfasts and Luncheons


Joint International Program


Board Meeting

Breakfast with program

Opening Reception


Committee meetings

Frank Kroger Memorial Education Programs

Luncheon program with presentation of Lawrence P. King Award

Inns of the Court

Award presentation


Board and Committee meetings

Breakfast with program


Local Bar



Joint Committee Meeting


Board and Committee Meetings

Education programs

Education roundtables for judges

Final Night Reception and Dinner


Breakfast (offsite)


Breakfasts, luncheons and dinners

Receptions and parties

Organized group tours

Yoga and Zumba

Don’t Miss Entertaining, Enlightening, Exciting, and Essential Education in San Francisco!

Written by Paul Bonapfel, NCBJ Education Committee Chair, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, N.D. Ga.

Entertaining, enlightening, exciting, and essential education. That’s what the 2016 NCBJ education program at the 2016 National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges promises.

As the Conference opens on Thursday, begin by tuning in to Broken Bench Radio for news and critical analysis of important issues and trends in the world of insolvency that every practitioner and judge should know about. Choose plenary programs to learn more about issues in energy and health care restructuring cases and about how to deal with the stress of financial distress. Or participate in consumer break-out programs dealing with exit strategies in Chapter 13 cases and with how consumer protection developments have created the “modern mortgage” and raised new issues in consumer cases.

Friday offers more choices with concurrent programs for all three sessions. Hear an important discussion of the role of race in bankruptcy or an analysis of issues that Wellness presents and strategies for dealing with them. Next, find out what you need to know about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and how it is affecting borrowers, lenders, and the bankruptcy practice. If you prefer, hear experienced professionals discuss alternatives to Chapter 11 and why parties use them. End the morning by brushing up on rules and techniques to get your evidence admitted in a mock trial format or by refining your understanding of how parties use pre-Chapter 11 plan support agreements, intercreditor and forbearance agreements, and other strategies in an effort to “lock up” a Chapter 11 case.

Be sure to come back on Saturday morning for an interactive game-show program that will improve your ethics game. Cap off your education by “telling it to the judge” in a round-table discussion format that will include the opportunity to discuss issues in the bankruptcy practice with bankruptcy judges.

In addition, there will be exciting and informative education programs this year sponsored by the ABA, ABI, ABLJ and CLLA, and a joint program offered by the NCBJ and American College of Bankruptcy.

Don’t miss the sights, sounds, and attractions of San Francisco – and the best bankruptcy educational program of the year.

Paul Bonapfel

Photos Taken in San Francisco

These are some photos I have taken in San Francisco.

[Click on a photo to enlarge it.]

The Marriott Marquis SF where the conference will be held.


A walkway behind the Marriott Marquis SF.



Looking out a window in the Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill.



From Nob Hill looking north to Sausalito.



The top of an interior circular stairway in the Mechanic’ Institute Library and Chess Room building.





A photo of the Hobart Building.



To the right of the Hobart Building


A Short History of the NCBJ Annual Conference

The first NCBJ (fka National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy) conference was held in 1926 in Buffalo, New York.[1]  Early conferences were small, had limited educational programs, and were attended mostly by bankruptcy referees and lawyers interested in getting trustee work (before the Bankruptcy Code, referees appointed case trustees).  Referees in attendance elected referee board members to serve the following year.

Early conferences were booked at resort hotels such as the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, the Biltmore in Phoenix, and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.  The newly-elected president was in charge of choosing next year’s hotel and organizing the conference.

In the 1980s several forces came into play to change the annual conference from a low-key, somewhat provincial affair into a major event in the insolvency world.  First, the enactment of the Bankruptcy Code changed the practice of bankruptcy law, greatly increasing the use of bankruptcy as a tool to reorganize troubled businesses.  Large law firms, which historically had left the practice to boutique bankruptcy firms, began to get involved in bankruptcy.  This resulted in much greater demand by law firms for bankruptcy-related educational seminars and business development opportunities.

Second, the NCBJ’s by-laws were changed in 1986, allowing board members to be elected by judges (formerly referees) who did not attend the conference.  This change helped shift conference leadership to a new generation of younger judges, drawn to the bench by the enactment of the Bankruptcy Code.  The new leadership saw that the annual conference could become a major event if managed properly.

The result was a mushrooming in conference attendance.  About 400 judges and lawyers attended the 1982 conference in Savannah.  Four years later, the 1986 Nashville conference drew more than 1400.  Since then as many as 2400 have attended the NCBJ annual conference.

The increase in attendance meant that the NCBJ President and chambers staff could no longer easily organize the conference.  In 1988 Christine Molick was hired as NCBJ’s first Executive Director, with conference organization as one of her main duties.  Her first conference was Boston 1989 (George Paine was President).  Ms. Molick retired 24 years later, after the 2013 Atlanta conference.

NCBJ’s current executive director, Jeanne Sleeper, says that she and her staff devote many hundreds of hours to the annual conference. Among the conference innovations instituted under Jeanne Sleeper’s watch are a completely revamped and upgraded conference website with its own blog, propelling NCBJ to the leading edge in conference website design; the addition of the “group huddle” following education programs; and a conference app for mobile devices.

The substantial increase in the size of the conferences has meant that hotels had to be booked years in advance.  While in the 1970s conference sites were chosen less than 12 months ahead of time, conference hotels are currently booked through 2023.

Between 1978 and 1988 the NCBJ annual conference changed from a small gathering of bankruptcy referees and trustee hopefuls to a major event featuring many first-class education seminars taught by national speakers, parties, receptions, lunches, and entertainment.  San Francisco 2016 will have all the great aspects of the modern NCBJ conference, with a several innovations that will make it even better.



Paul H. King Detroit, MI 1926-27 Buffalo, NY
Watson B. Adair Pittsburgh, PA 1927-28 Chicago, IL
James W. Persons Buffalo, N 1928-29 Memphis, TN
Charles T. Greve Cincinnati, Oh 1929-30 Chicago, IL
Charles H. King Memphis, TN 1930-31 Atlantic City, NJ
Carl D. Friebolin Cleveland, OH 1931-32 Washington, DC
George R. Beach Jersey City, NJ 1932-33 Mackinac Island, MI
Fred S. Hudson Kansas City, MO 1933-34 Cincinnati, OH
L. Earl Curry Miami, FL 1934-35 Washington, DC
Peter B. Olney Old Saybrook, CT 1935-36 Detroit, MI
John M. Thornburgh Knoxville, TN 1936-37 Kansas City, MO
John Keogh South Norwalk, CT 1937-38 New York, NY
William Jerome Kuertz Cincinnati, OH 1938-39 Los Angeles, CA
Samuel W. McNabb Los Angeles, CA 1939-40 Chicago, IL
B. Loring Young Boston, MA 1940-41 Boston, MA
Edwin J. Covey Washington, DC 1941-42 New Orleans, LA
Irwin Kurtz New York, NY 1942-44 Toledo, OH (1944)
Estes Snedecor Portland, OR 1944-46 Richmond, VA (1946)
Edmond E. Talbot New Orleans, LA 1946-47 Sandusky, OH
Wallace Streeter Chicago, IL 1947-48 Hot Springs, AR
William B. Woods Cleveland, OH 1948-49 Philadelphia, PA
L. Leroy Deininger Philadelphia, PA 1949-50 Tulsa, OK
Maurice F. Ellison Tulsa, OK 1950-51 Detroit, MI
Herbert M. Bierce Winona, MN 1951-52 Birmingham, AL
Stephen B. Coleman Birmingham, AL 1952-53 Edgewater Park, MS
Walter I. McKenzie Detroit, MI 1953-54 Milwaukee, WI
Edward R. Sloan Topeka, KS 1954-55 Washington, DC
Charles H. Weelans Trenton, NJ 1955-56 Miami, FL
Lee Cazort Little Rock AR 1956-57 Indianapolis, IN
Frank C. Kniffin Toledo, OH 1957-58 Seattle, WA
Van C. Griffin Seattle, WA 1958-59 Boston, MA
Reginald W. McDuffee Savanah, GA 1959-60 Pittsburgh, PA
Joe D. Huffstutler Tyler, TX 1960-61 Dallas, TX
Theodore W. Bates Louisville, KY 1961-62 Chicago, IL
Herbert Loewenthal New York, NY 1962-63 Atlanta, GA
Robert M. Ervin Tallahassee, FL 1963-64 San Diego, CA
Stephen R. Chummers Chicago, IL 1964-65 Detroit, MI
James E. McCarty Milwaukee, WI 1965-66 New Orleans, LA
Asa S. Herzog New York, NY 1966-67 Washington, DC
Russell L. Hiller Reading, PA 1967-68 Colorado Springs, Co
Daniel R. Cowans San Jose, CA 1968-69 San Juan, PR
Clive W. Bare Knoxville, TX 1969-70 Ottawa, Canada
William J. O’Neill Cleveland, OH 1970-71 Seattle, WA
Saul Seidman Hartford, CT 1971-72 Boston, MA
W. Homer Drake Atlanta, GA 1972-73 Atlanta, GA
Joe Lee Lexington, KY 1973-74 San Francisco, CA
Robert B. Morton Wichita, KS 1974-75 Houston, TX
John T. Copenhaver, Jr. Charleston, WV 1975-76 Washington, DC
Conrad K. Cyr Bangor, ME 1976-77 Quebec City, Canada
David A. Kline Oklahoma City, OK 1977-78 Dallas, TX
Gene E. Brooks Evansville, IN 1978-79 Scottsdale, AZ
William W. Thinnes Cedar Rapids, IA 1979-80 Maui, HI
Robert L. Hughes Oakland, CA 1980-81 Detroit, MI
Dean M. Gandy Dallas, TX 1981-82 Savannah, GA
Richard L. Merrick Chicago, IL 1982-83 Colorado Springs, CO
Hal J. Bonney, Jr. Norfolk, VA 1983-84 Orlando, FL
Beryl E. McGuire Buffalo, NY 1984-85 Scottsdale, AZ
Ralph H. Kelley Chattanooga, TN 1985-86 Nashville, TN
Hartley Kingsmill, Jr. New Orleans, LA 1986-87 New Orleans, LA
William E. Anderson Lynchburg, VA 1987-88 San Diego, CA
George C. Paine, II Nashville, TN 1988-89 Boston, MA
Charles N. Clevert Milwaukee, WI 1989-90 Chicago, IL
Joseph L. Cosetti Pittsburgh, PA 1990-91 San Francisco, CA
Paul Mannes Rockville, MD 1991-92 San Antonio, TX
Glen E. Clark Salt Lake City, UT 1992-93 Orlando, FL
David Houston III Aberdeen, MS 1993-94 Toronto, CN
Louise DeCarl Adler San Diego, CA 1994-95 New Orleans, LA
Robert D. Martin Madison, WI 1995-96 San Diego, CA
Frank W. Koger Kansas City, MO 1996-97 Philadelphia, PA
Robert F. Hershner, Jr. Macon, GA 1997-98 Dallas, TX
Randall J. Newsome Oakland, CA 1998-99 San Francisco, CA
Mary Davies Scott Little Rock, AR 1999-00 Boston, MA
A. Thomas Small Raleigh, NC 2000-01 Orlando, FL
Judith Fitzgerald Pittsburgh, PA 2001-02 Chicago, IL
James D. Gregg Grand Rapids, MI 2002-03 San Diego, CA
Mark B. McFeeley Albuquerque, NM 2003-04 Nashville, TN
David H. Adams Norfolk, VA 2004-05 San Antonio, TX
Charles Case Phoenix, AZ 2005-06 San Francisco, CA
Jeffery P. Hopkins Cincinnati, OH 2006-07 Orlando, FL
Thomas B. Bennett Birmingham, AL 2007-08 Phoenix, AZ
Gregg W. Zive Reno, NV 2008-09 Las Vegas, NV
Barbara J. Houser Dallas, TX 2009–10 New Orleans, LA
Randall L. Dunn Portland, OR 2010–11 Tampa, FL
Joan N. Feeney Boston, MA 2011–12 San Diego, CA
C. Ray Mullins Atlanta, GA 2012–13 Atlanta, GA
Eugene R Wedoff Chicago, IL 2013-14 Chicago, Il
Robert E. Nugent Wichita, KS 2014-15 Miami, FL
Mary Grace Diehl Atlanta, GA 2015-16 San Francisco, CA


[1] See the attached list of conferences between 1926-2016.

Looking Back at the Miami Beach Conference

The 2015 NCBJ conference in Miami is over, and a good time was had by all.  More than 32 programs were offered over three days, on topics ranging from Chapter 11 reform to bankruptcy court jurisdiction to zombie foreclosures.  Attendees were given the chance to talk to the panelists after many of the programs.

The Fontainebleau Hotel was a treat, as was the Jungle Park party and the final night dinner and after-dinner party.  And did anyone else see the enormous Iguana in the pool area?  The weather was as predicted—sunny and warm.

1776 lawyers, spouses, and guests attended the conference.  The figure includes 178 sitting, retired, or recalled judges.

Thanks to everyone who attended, with special thanks to Judge Robert Nugent, Judge Mary Walrath (head of the education committee), and Executive Director Jeanne Sleeper, whose hard work made the conference a success.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for October 26-29, 2016, when Judge Mary Grace Diehl will host the 2016 NCBJ Conference at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, a city that needs no introduction.  I look forward to seeing you there—let’s see if we can find some good Napa Valley merlot!

San Francisco Weather in Late October

I have been to San Francisco many times. Late October is a great time to visit. It is not as crowded as in the summer, and the weather generally is warmer. The highs tend to range in the upper 60s and the lows in the low to mid 50s. The record high in late October is 84°, and the record low is 46°. It can be breezy, particularly near the bay. The relative humidly tends to range from an average of 81% in the morning to 63% in the evening. A light rain or drizzle in late October is not unusual.

The relative humidity combined with a light breeze often means a sweater or light jacket is needed to be comfortable. There is basically no chance of snow. This website, Pack for the City, gives helpful recommendations on what to pack by month.

These weather data charts give the vital statistics.
(click on a chart to enlarge it)

weather oceanside


More weather

Next Generation Looks Forward to Another Successful Year

NCBJ will host its sixth Next Generation program at the 2016 NCBJ San Francisco Annual Conference. “NextGen,” as it is often called, provides 40 up-and-coming bankruptcy attorneys with five to ten years of experience a unique opportunity to connect with bankruptcy judges and develop connections with other bankruptcy professionals. The program includes small group lunches; an invitation only roundtable for NextGen participants and judges; a networking reception; a NextGen reunion dinner; and a courthouse tour. Networking opportunities for NextGen participants abound throughout the Annual Conference.

To give everyone an equal opportunity to participate, qualified candidates whose nominations are received during the five-hour window from noon to 5 pm Eastern Time on May 4, 2016 are chosen by lottery. Qualified candidates are attorneys with five to ten years of experience who devote at least fifty percent of their practices in bankruptcy cases. In addition, each candidate must demonstrate the potential to be a distinguished member of the bankruptcy bar through their current practice and commitment to future growth in the bankruptcy area. Only one attorney from any single law firm may participate each year. In order to encourage participation from practitioners across the bankruptcy spectrum, financial assistance will be provided for up to five qualifying participants who earn less than $75,000 per year. Please consider nominating a qualified candidate for this year’s program.

The centerpiece of the NextGen program is the roundtable discussion between judges and NextGen participants prior to the start of the Annual Conference. This education program provides participants with an opportunity to discuss a range of issues affecting their practice with judges in an informal setting.

Prior to the roundtable, participants may join in small group lunches around San Francisco. After the roundtable, a networking reception sponsored by the American College of Bankruptcy will be held near the Conference hotel. Thanks to the continued success of this program, a dinner for current and former NextGen participants will also be part of this year’s events. With all the opportunities in San Francisco for delicious meals and fun events, this promises to be a great evening. Participants will also be invited to attend a special tour of the James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, the home of the Ninth Circuit. This beautiful courthouse has an interesting history, having survived both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The networking and social events are planned by a group of former NextGen participants, local attorneys, and interested bankruptcy practitioners. Their insight into what worked in prior years has led these events to become a highlight of the Annual Conference for current and past NextGen participants.