Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to the NCBJ Annual Conference Blog

As part of the website for this year’s annual meeting in Chicago, the NCBJ is pleased to launch its first Blog.  The Blog will cover a wide range of topics that we think you’ll find interesting and informative.  Some of the first posts to the Blog will deal with

  • this year’s education programs;
  • secrets of putting on an NCBJ annual meeting;
  • the impressionism and post-impressionism art that can be privately viewed at a reception during the conference at the Art Institute of Chicago;
  • Chicago’s own Second City, which will perform at the final night dinner;
  • and other features of the NCBJ’s new annual conference website.

We welcome all bankruptcy professionals to submit posts for this Blog (you can find a link to the guidelines for posting on the Blog home page).

I’m really excited that the NCBJ is hosting this year’s annual conference in Chicago, my hometown.  It’s one of my favorite cities, and fall is its best time of year.  As usual, some of the finest educators on bankruptcy issues in the country have been tapped for this year’s conference, and our educational programs will be enhanced by programs put on by the ABA, the American College, ABI, AIRA, CLLA, INSOL, IWIRC, and other groups.  But—as you’ll be hearing about in other posts—we’ve got some special non-education treats in store.

So please check back periodically for new postings to the Blog.  We look forward to seeing you at the Conference.

Index to Blog Posts

The index categories correspond to the categories listed in the right side bar of the blog site. To view a post, click on the title of the article.




Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker to Keynote ABI’s Luncheon at NCBJ

Do not miss Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey M. Lacker’s keynote, “Rethinking the Unthinkable: Bankruptcy for Large Financial Institutions,” at the ABI luncheon on Friday, Oct. 10! As the resolution of large financial institutions continues to draw the attention of policymakers and media, Dr. Lacker is one of the foremost authorities on the subject. He took office on August 1, 2004, as the seventh chief executive of the Fifth District Federal Reserve Bank. In 2012, 2009 and 2006, he was a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, which reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Tickets to Dr. Lacker’s keynote at the ABI luncheon on Oct. 10 are going fast, so make sure to visit www.ncbjmeeting.org to pick yours up today!

Why Practitioners Attend the NCBJ Conference: “Nobody Does it Better”

“Nobody does it better” sums up why many lawyers attend the NCBJ annual conference. The conference is described as a premier educational and social event in the U.S. insolvency arena.  The conference’s high quality educational offerings, combined with outstanding social and networking opportunities, make the annual conference number one for many bankruptcy lawyers and judges, according to interviews with attendees from prior conferences.

In addition to the quality education programs, lawyers often cite the attractive venues as an additional reason to attend the NCBJ conference. The venues are well suited to combine with sightseeing or vacation opportunities. As one participant recalled, following a NCBJ meeting in San Francisco he and his wife rented a new red convertible and motored up the Pacific Coast Highway for a short vacation.

The conference also offers an opportunity to rub elbows with lawyers who have a national practice. With all the social and networking opportunities, attendees can expand the scope of their contacts and aid their practice.  These contacts often become life-long friends.  Returning to the annual conference becomes a chance to reunite with these friends.

The annual NCBJ conference brings together a large number of judges, practitioners and other insolvency professionals from around the country. It remains an extraordinary insolvency event.  This year’s Chicago conference should not be missed.


ABI Educational Offerings at NCBJ Conference 2014

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is a multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on insolvency matters. At this year’s NCBJ conference, the ABI is offering educational sessions open to all attendees. These include several roundtable workshops covering a variety of topics, as well as a luncheon featuring leading economist Jeffrey Lacker.

The roundtable workshops differ from other panel presentations because, unlike typical panel presentations, the workshop presenters facilitate discussion with attendees rather than lecture from a prepared script. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and give their views on the topics discussed.

All NCBJ registrants are invited to attend the workshops; ABI membership is not required. Seating is limited and is currently fully subscribed. If some ticket holders do not show then seats may become available. Open seats will be given to those waiting at the door holding wait list numbers, on a first come, first serve basis.

This year’s workshops include:
• New Bankruptcy Rules, Again? A Preview of the Upcoming New Rules and A Review Issues Arising Under Current Rule 3002.1
• Can the Trustee Bring that Lawsuit? – Exploring Standing and In Pari Delicto Issues in Chapter 11 Cases
• Still More Questions Than Answers: Unresolved and Problem Issues in Individual Chapter 11 Cases
• Advancing Straight to Go: Avoiding Pitfalls in Pre-Packaged and Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Plans
• Who is Driving this Train? The Proper Roles of the Judge and the Trustee in Chapter 13 Cases
• So You Don’t Want to File for Chapter 11? Exploring The Pros and Cons of Common Alternatives to Chapter 11 including ABCs, Foreclosures, Receiverships and Other State Law Remedies

The ABI is also hosting a luncheon at this year’s conference, with Jeffrey Lacker as the featured guest. Mr. Lacker is the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He has written numerous articles on monetary, financial and payment economics, and has presented his work at universities and central banks worldwide. From 1992 through 1993, Mr. Lacker taught at The College of William and Mary, and in 1997 he was a visiting scholar at the Swiss National Bank. Mr. Lacker is one of the foremost authorities on the resolution of large financial institutions facing insolvency, and he favors using bankruptcy rather than government intervention.

The ABI roundtable forums and luncheon program give attendees at this year’s NCBJ conference a variety of ways to learn about current bankruptcy issues.

ABI at the NCBJ

ABI is again proud to be the supplier of the conference App, this year better than ever! We look forward to seeing more than 1,000 members in Chicago. Friday the 10th is ABI day: our popular roundtables are once again sold out. Unique format, outstanding educational content. There is still room for you to join us for the Friday luncheon program where Judge Houser will receive this year’s Norton Judicial Excellence Award. Well deserved. Our keynote is Dr Jeffery Lacker the President of the Richmond Federal Reserve. He’s a foremost authority on the resolution of large financial institutions. Provocative speaker. Following lunch we will present a public hearing of the Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 featuring debates on three important issues now under review. The Final Report of the Commission is due out in December. Please join us at 3pm on Friday in the Columbus room.

IWIRC Fall Conference – Intermezzo Events

The International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation’s (IWIRC) 21st International Fall Conference will be held on October 7-8, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois at the Hyatt Regency.

The IWIRC Intermezzo Events truly make the IWIRC Fall Conference different and unique from other conferences. The Intermezzo Events give conference attendees a chance to get away from the conference center and explore the host city — all while networking and building relationships with other restructuring professionals. The Intermezzo Events take place from 2:00-5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8th.

This year attendees will have the opportunity to chose from three different and fun activities.

- The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise – Voted the #1 thing to do in Chicago by US News & World Report. Jump on board for a 3:30p.m. cruise of the 3 branches of the Chicago River as CAF certified volunteer tour guides — called docents — interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River, revealing how the city grew from a small back-country outpost into one of the world’s most important crossroads in less than 100 years.

- Dessert Tasting at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate – Experience Mindy’s Hot Chocolate — one of Chicago’s most unique dining experiences. A variety of handcrafted desserts (such as petite chocolate malts, petite brioche doughnuts with hot fudge and caramel corn, cupcakes and shots of hot chocolate and other beverages) await attendees at this decadent and indulgent afternoon in Chicago.

- Signature Lakefront Neighborhoods Tour by Bobby’s Bike Hike Chicago – Grab a bicycle for this three hour, seven mile, laid back bike tour off the tourist beat and into the quiet neighborhood streets, city parks, and packed beaches on the North Side of Chicago. This tour, rated the best Chicago sightseeing tour of 2013 by Trip Advisor, gives riders a glimpse as to how Chicagoans enjoy their beautiful city. Tour highlights include the Gold Coast Mansions, Oprah’s house, the Playboy Mansion, Lincoln Park Zoo, Old Town Historic District, North Avenue Beach and the Lakefront.

Regardless of which Intermezzo Event you pick, you will definitely get to experience a little bit of Chicago! The Intermezzo Events have limited spacing and will fill up. Early registration is highly recommended. For more information about the IWIRC 21st International Fall Conference visit www.iwirc.com.

I hope to see you in Chicago!

Jennifer Kimble, Programs Director

Watch Your Email Inbox for the Materials CODES

Registered Attendees – Watch your email Inbox for the Need To Know CODES for the conference.

Coming by email the week of September 15th and 22nd are the WRITTEN MATERIALS log in and password and instructions for downloading the NCBJ conference app.

The NCBJ session materials are available now for downloading all 875 pages as one document or session-by-session.

Visit www.NCBJmeeting.org > At Conference > Education Materials – Extensive to download written materials. They will be posted until December 30, 2014.

The CLLA, ABI and AIRA session materials will be added to the website
as they become available. ABA materials are available on the ABA website, if you registered for the ABA sessions.

Downloading in advance is recommended due to file size and better Internet bandwidth in your office than at a hotel. There is no Internet service and weak phone service in the meeting rooms.

The Countdown Begins…

With only four weeks until the big NCBJ conference, we think it is a good time for us to post our 2014 invite for all to see.  With a stellar education lineup, a thriving Next Generation Program, and all of the social activities, this could be the best NCBJ yet.

PSZJ will certainly be glad to see you again.

PSZ Party-1

IWIRC’s 21st Annual Fall International Conference – Education Sessions

As part of IWIRC’s 21st Annual Fall International Conference, the Programs Committee is excited to offer two programs on hot topics in the restructuring industry on Wednesday, October 8th.  Three (3) hours of continuing legal education credit is available for attendees.

IWIRC’s first educational panel will discuss potential risks and liabilities for former partners of insolvent law firms. A timely and close-to-home subject for many, this panel discussion will offer expert insights on what can be expected of former partners following the closing of a law firm. Panelists will also analyze and debate the viability of unfinished business claims and the so-called Jewel Doctrine, following recent decisions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In re Heller Ehrman LLP) and the New York Court of Appeals (In re Coudert Brothers LLP and In re Thelen LLP). Other topics include the innovative use of Partner Contribution Plans in the case of In re Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.) as a means to efficiently administer and resolve potential liabilities and claims of former partners. Also considered is the applicability of professional liability insurance coverage for partners and firms in law firm insolvency cases. Featured panelists are Chris Sullivan of Diamond McCarthy LLP; Pam Phillips of Arnold & Porter LLP; Uri Gutfreund of Singer Nelson Charlmers; and Al Togut of Togut Segal & Segal LLP. John Fiero of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP will moderate the panel.

IWIRC’s second education panel will look at the insolvency and restructuring issues facing the healthcare industry today and how they’re being addressed from experts in the field. Panelists will discuss different types of healthcare facilities and unique issues which must be considered in insolvency proceedings. The panelists are Honorable Elizabeth Stong, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York, who provides the perspective of a federal bankruptcy judge and mediator on the Interfaith Medical Center case; Jane Jordan, Chief Counsel for Health Affairs, Emory University from the perspective of the owner and operator of hospitals and healthcare facilities; Suzie Koenig, SAK Management, an expert on finance and funding in the healthcare industry, and Felicia Perlman, a partner at Skadden Arps providing the perspective of a workout specialist on the past and current issues at the forefront of healthcare issues today.

The International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation’s (IWIRC) 21st International Fall Conference will be held on October 7-8, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois at the Hyatt Regency. For more information about the 21st International Fall Conference visit www.iwirc.com.

See you in Chicago!

Jennifer Kimble, IWIRC Programs Director

IWIRC’s 21st Annual Fall International Conference

The International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation’s (IWIRC) 21st Annual Fall International Conference will be held on October 7-8, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois at the Hyatt Regency.  This fast-paced conference, which is the day before the NCBJ, brings together professionals from multiple areas within the restructuring arena — bankers, attorneys, corporate-turnaround professionals, financial advisors claims agents, and other restructuring professionals. IWIRC is committed to fostering the connection, promotion and success of women in the insolvency and restructuring professions world wide and the 21st Annual Fall International Conference will be no exception. The IWIRC Programming Committee has worked tirelessly to plan an informative and entertaining Fall Conference that you will not want to miss.

On October 7, 2014, the IWIRC 21st Annual Fall International Conference kicks off with a networking reception at the Mid America Club — which will offer stunning panoramic views of the Chicago skyline, Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Come mingle and enjoy beverages and canapés while you take in the sights of Chicago. With more than 200 attendees expected, the opening reception will offer a great opportunity to network with colleagues and bankruptcy judges from around the country.

For those interested in attending, IWIRC has reserved a block of rooms at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago.  For more information about the 21st International Fall Conference and to register for the conference visit www.iwirc.com.

Mark your calendars — I can’t wait to meet you in Chicago!

Jennifer Kimble, IWIRC Programs Director

A Short History of the NCBJ Annual Conference

By Hon. David T. Thuma[1]

The first NCBJ (fka National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy) conference was held in 1926 in Buffalo, New York.[2] 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.

Third, entertainment at the annual final night dinner changed. The 1986 Nashville conference was a watershed event. President Ralph Kelly, ably assisted by Nashville judges George Paine and Keith Lundin, decided among other innovations to book Loretta Lynn for the dinner. This was NCBJ’s first foray into big-name entertainment. Since then, the conference has featured icons such as Al Hirt, the Boston Pops, Lyle Lovett, and the Doobie Brothers.

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). Twenty Four years later, Atlanta 2013 (Ray Mullins, President) was her last. NCBJ’s current executive director, Jeanne Sleeper, says that she and her staff devote many hundreds of hours to the annual conference.

The size increase also 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 2021.

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 big-name entertainment. The 2014 Chicago conference should showcase all the best aspects of what the NCBJ annual conference has become.


[1] Based on interviews with Hon. Mark B. McFeeley (retired), Hon. Robert D. Martin (on recall), and Hon. George C. Paine II (retired).  The author greatly appreciates the insight and recollection of these judges. Valuable information was also obtained from the 1983-1988 issues of the NCBJ Conference News.

[2] See the attached list of conferences between 1926-2014.


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



[1] Based on interviews with Hon. Mark B. McFeeley (retired), Hon. Robert D. Martin (on recall), and Hon. George C. Paine II (retired). The author greatly appreciates the insight of these judges. Valuable information was also obtained from the 1983-1988 issues of the NCBJ Conference News.

[2] See the attached list of conference between 1926-1988.