NCBJ Miami Beach Conference Blog: Index to Blog Posts

Welcome to the NCBJ Miami Beach Conference Blog.  A good place to start is NCBJ President Bob Nugent’s Welcome to the NCBJ’s 89th Annual Meeting at Miami Beach Blog post.  Just click on any topic in the index to read the post.  The index is updated each time a post is made.

Welcome to the Blog

NCBJ President’s Welcome to the NCBJ’s 89th Annual Meeting at Miami Beach Blog

Blog Quiz

Take the NCBJ Miami Beach Conference Blog Quiz

Educational Programs

ABI Education Programs at NCBJ Miami Beach

ABI Luncheon with Louis J. Freeh

American College of Bankruptcy Fall Luncheon

Don’t miss AIRA’s Breakfast Program — What’s New in Mass Tort Cases?

Education Offerings — Miami 2015

First ABLJ Symposium — BAPCPA AT 10

IWIRC Conference Panels

NCBJ-American College of Bankruptcy Joint International Program

NCBJ Next Generation Program Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary

Final Night Entertainment

Tower of Power to Take the NCBJ by Storm


IWIRC Opening Reception

The Jungle Island Party

Opening Reception Hosted by AIRA

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones’ NCBJ Party

The Fontainebleau Hotel

About Miami Beach and the Hotel

Floor plans of the Fontainebleau Hotel

Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, and the “Spite Wall”

Fontainebleau Hotel — A Colorful History

Miami Beach and Environs

Don’t Come to The Cabaret — No Salvation Through Chapter 11

Historical South Beach Weather and Ocean Temperature Data

Miami Beach Art Deco District

Pools and Beaches

What is Miami Beach?

Miami Spice Posts

Miami Spice — It’s All Hot Here! — Part I (Introduction)

Miami Spice — It’s All Hot Here! — Part II (Natural Wonders)

Miami Spice — It’s All Hot Here! — Part III (Cultural Attractions)

Miami Spice — It’s All Hot Here! — Part IV (Eating and Drinking)

2014 Conference Revisited

Looking Back on the 2014 NCBJ Conference

Welcome to the NCBJ’s 89th Annual Meeting at Miami Beach Blog


Welcome to the NCBJ Annual Conference Blog for our 89th Annual Meeting at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. Contributors to this Blog will write about a wide range of topics that we think you’ll find interesting and informative, all relevant to our meeting that is scheduled to begin on September 28, 2015. When you come back, you’ll soon the reading about–

  • Our 2015 Education program;
  • How we do it: secrets of putting on an NCBJ annual meeting;
  • Some of the many sights and sounds of South Beach; and
  • Our Final Night entertainment.

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).

As you know, the NCBJ’s Annual Meeting is the premiere education and networking conference on bankruptcy insolvency. Last year, over 200 present and former bankruptcy judges attended, along with over 1,500 attorneys, accountants, and other insolvency professionals. Miami Beach is a vibrant seaside retreat. We have planned educational activities featuring some of the leading speakers in the country and we’ll host a varied menu of programs sponsored by our colleagues at the ABA, the American College of Bankruptcy, ABI, AIRA, CLLA, IWIRC, and TMA. But—as you’ll be hearing about in other posts—we’ve got some special non-education treats in store.

Speaking of Final Night, I‘m delighted to announce that renowned funk and soul band, Tower of Power, fit us into their 2015 tour to play our final Night Dinner. Purveyors of Urban Soul since 1968, these guys will be all over the country this spring and summer and can really bring it. I just saw them a year ago and I can testify to that.

If you’re tired of chicken and peas sit-down dinners punctuated by speeches, fear not; we’ve revamped all of that, too. This year’s Final Night festivities will include lots of tastes of Miami, several bars, and lots of seating combinations so you can network with new friends and old. And, there’ll be plenty of room to dance, because when Emilio, Doc and Tower of Power’s wind section get going, you’ll want to be up there!

So please check back periodically for new postings to the Blog. Many thanks to the talented judges who moderate. I look forward to seeing you in Miami.

Hon. Bob Nugent, President, NCBJ

Floor plans of the Fontainebleau Hotel

Floor plans of the Fontainebleau Hotel

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Lobby Levels


Fourth and Fifth Floors

floorplans-upper floors


By Hon. Rebecca Connelly

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is offering educational programs to all NCBJ attendees. In ABI’s roundtable workshops, panelists encourage discussion with attendees rather than lecture from a prepared script. ABI membership is not required to attend. This year’s workshops include:

Chapter 9 Update. Industry leaders will discuss the latest issues in municipal bankruptcies, including eligibility and confirmation issues, bankruptcy court power, and special revenues. The panel will also explore which cities may file next. Presenters: Jay M. Goffman (mod.), Kenneth A. Buckfire, Lisa J. Donahue, and Hon. Steven W. Rhodes (ret.).

Mediation as an Effective Practice Tool. Panelists will discuss mediation techniques and and issues for bankruptcy cases, including overcoming impasses, multiparty mediations, and confidentiality issues. Presenters: Richard E. Mikels (mod.), Bonnie Glantz Fatell, Jerry M. Markowitz, Brian L. Shaw, and Scott Y. Stuart.

Individual Chapter 11s. Individual Chapter 11 cases present a number of difficult issues. The panel will discuss the absolute priority rule, best efforts, and other confirmation hurdles in individual Chapter 11 cases. Presenters: Patricia A. Redmond (mod.), C. R. “Chip” Bowles, Lee M. Kutner, and William N. Lobel.

Where the Work Is. Retail? E&P? Municipalities? What should professionals expect next? The panel will confront the current state of the restructuring market and provides insights and predictions. Presenters: Melissa Kibler Knoll, Robert J. Duffy, Robert A. Guy, Jr., Paul Steven Singerman, and John T. Young, Jr.

Intellectual Property: the Perfect Statutory Storm. Dealing with intellectual property rights under the bankruptcy code is a challenge. The panel will discuss, inter alia, the rights and obligations of licensors and licensees under §§ 365(c)(1), (g) and (n). Presenters: Lisa G. Beckerman (mod.), Hon. Martin R. Barash, Douglas E. Deutsch, Hon. Kevin R. Huennekens, and Deborah L. Thorne.

Does Law v. Siegel Really Stand for That? In Law v. Siegel, the Supreme Court held that a bankruptcy trustee cannot surcharge a legitimate exemption to pay administrative expenses. The Court also suggested in dicta that bad faith and fraud are not bases for disallowing an exemption. The panel will explore how Law v. Siegel it has been applied by lower courts. Presenters: Neil C. Gordon (mod.), Steven T. Gubner, Soneet R. Kapila, and James W. Schwital.

Retention/Compensation. The panel will discuss current topics in retention and compensation, including the United States Trustee Guidelines and recent cases on bonuses, compensation for defending fee applications, and conflicts of interest. Presenters: Laura Davis Jones (mod.); Hon. Kevin J. Carey, James H.M. Sprayregen, and Clifford J. White, III.

The ABI workshops will be presented September 29, 2015 between 9 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in the Glimmer 2, 3, and 4 meeting rooms. Seating will be limited; be sure to get there early.

ABI Luncheon with Louis J. Freeh

By Hon. Rebecca Connelly

The ABI is hosting a luncheon at this year’s conference featuring Louis J. Freeh. Mr. Freeh is currently a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP. Mr. Freeh served in the FBI as a special agent in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Mr. Freeh as a district court judge in the Southern District of New York. Mr. Freeh was named FBI director in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

Following his FBI tenure, Mr. Freeh founded Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the consulting firm Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, which handles high-profile and sensitive investigations. His book, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror was published in 2005.

The luncheon will be held in the hotel’s Fleur de Lis room on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. It is a ticketed event requiring an advance reservation. The cost is $85.00.

Mr. Freeh will be an enlightening and engaging speaker.

What is Miami Beach?

What is Miami Beach? It is a separately incorporated municipality governed by a Board of Commissioners with a population in 2013 of 90,026. Miami Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Biscayne Bay to the west, although Miami Beach includes a number of islands within the Bay. The Bay separates the City of Miami Beach from the City of Miami. North Beach, Mid-Beach and South Beach are sections of Miami Beach.

North Beach lies in the northernmost section of Miami Beach, roughly bounded by 88th Street on the north and 63rd Street on the south. Mid-Beach is roughly bounded by 63rd Street on the north and 24rd Street on the South. The Fontainebleau Hotel is in Mid-Beach, roughly at 45th Street.

South Beach (also known as SoBe) comprises the southernmost 2.5 square miles of Miami Beach and is roughly bounded by 24th Street on the north and 1st Street on the south. The Art Deco District, home to hundreds of Art Deco structures, is part of South Beach.

More information about Miami Beach is contained in other articles on the Blog, including Pools and Beaches, Miami Beach Art Deco District, Historical Weather Data for South Beach Florida, and About Miami Beach and the Hotel.

NCBJ Next Generation Program Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary

By Laurel M. Isicoff, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, S.D. Fla

Several years ago Judge Judi Fitzgerald (ret) became concerned about the lack of “young” lawyers attending the NCBJ. Judge Fitzgerald reached out to NCBJ leadership and the NCBJ Next Generation program was born. The NextGen program is based on a nomination process where qualified nominated candidates are then randomly selected to participate each year.  A nominee (who, if a solo practitioner or with a firm of less than five lawyers may be self nominated) must have been out of law school between 5 and ten years, who devotes at least 50% of his or her practice to bankruptcy, who demonstrates legal excellence in the practice of law, a serious commitment to civility, ethics and professionalism, and demonstrates a commitment to the continued education and development of bankruptcy professionals and professional activities that will benefit the public, members of the bar and the court system. Each year’s “class” is limited to 40 participants. Scholarships to help with the cost of NCBJ attendance are made available to eligible applicants so that small law firm or governmental lawyers have the ability to participate. These scholarships have thus far been made available through the generous support of the NCBJ Endowment.

The random selection process has been refined. In prior years all nominations were submitted at noon on a particular day and the first 40 qualified nominations received were selected. This year the program changed to a five hour submission window. Almost 100 nominations were received. Then the applications were randomly run through a computer lottery program. Finally the first 40 were vetted to confirm eligibility – and if ineligible we went to the next selected, etc.

In addition to attending all regular NCBJ activities, “NextGenners” attend an optional dutch treat “dine around lunch” on the day of the opening reception of the NCBJ (this year on Sunday), immediately followed by the “main event” – a two hour round table with 20 bankruptcy, district and circuit judges and ten “senior lawyers” on a variety of topics following by a networking reception, to which other bar leaders are invited.

As NextGen is now in its fifth year, it has developed a strong alumni group. The following evening (this year on Monday night) all NextGenners, past and present, will attend a cocktail reception followed by a ticketed dinner. There is even a FaceBook page!

This year’s class is populated with lawyers from all around the country. Look for lawyers at the NCBJ wearing a special “NextGen” ribbon and say “hello”. These young people, after all, ARE our Next Generation!

Take the NCBJ Miami Beach Conference Blog Quiz

See if you can get a perfect score.  The information to answer each question is in the referenced article.  The actual answer is given in the Comment section at the end of the article.

1.  Jungle Island originally was called

a)  Tarzanville

b)  Parrot Jungle

c)  The Menagerie

d)  The Tropical Forrest

For the answer see the Blog article, The Jungle Island Party


2.  Put Something Back is

a)  An organization that helps kleptomaniacs

b)  A pro bono project to help the disadvantaged

c)  An organization that teaches the art of massage

d)  A library for underprivileged children

For the answer see the Blog article, American College of Bankruptcy Fall Luncheon


3.  Tower of Power is

a)  A rack of high end audio equipment

b)  A lighthouse off the coast of Miami Beach

c)  An energy bar

d)  A band with a powerful horn section

For the answer see the Blog article, Tower of Power to Take the NCBJ by Storm


4.   Symposium is from the

a)  Latin symponetum, meaning a gathering

b)  Greek Συνδιάλεξη, meaning a colloquium

c)  Greek sympinein, meaning a drinking party

d)  Greek Πλάτωνες, meaning to struggle

For the answer see the Blog article, First ABLJ Symposium — BAPCPA AT 10


5.   La Hora Loca, means

a)  The crazy hour

b)  The crazy locomotive

c)  The loquacious hour

d)  The dance place

For the answer see the Blog article, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones’ NCBJ Party


6.   Staircase to Nowhere is a

a)  Nihilistic gathering place

b)  Led Zeppelin song

c)  Story about bankruptcy

d)  Lapidus designed stairway for glamorous descent

For the answer see the Blog article, Fontainebleau Hotel — A Colorful History


7.   A “Spite Wall” is a

a)  Wall built to annoy a neighbor, such as to cast a shadow over a swimming pool

b)  Wall with a row of pointed irons placed on top to prevent passage

c)  A feature of Art Deco architecture

d)  Rock ‘n’ roll song

For the answer see the Blog article, Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, and the “Spite Wall”


8.   Art Deco

a)  Is characterized by simple, clean modern geometric or stylized shapes

b)  Symbolizes pluralism, irony, paradox, and contextualism

c)  Is also known as Art Nouveau

d)  Is a logical progression from Futurist Architecture born in early-20th century Italy

For the answer see the Blog article, Miami Beach Art Deco District


9.  What is a circuit split?

a)  A type of acrobatic move

b)  What happens when an electronic circuit comes apart

c)  When made with bananas a dessert

d)  A disagreement among courts of appeal

For the answer see the Blog article, Education Offerings — Miami 2015


10.  What does COMI stand for?

a)  Center of Main Interest

b)  Central Office of Miami Institute

c)  Contributions of Miami Intelligentsia

d)  Clause on Mediation Intervention

For the answer see the Blog article, NCBJ-American College of Bankruptcy Joint International Program


11.  Atlantic versus Pacific ocean water temperature (Sept 27-30) off the coasts of South Beach and San Diego

a)  Atlantic is twelve degrees warmer

b)  Atlantic is ten degrees warmer

c)  Atlantic is seventeen degrees warmer

d)  Atlantic is fourteen degrees warmer

For the answer see the Blog article, Historical South Beach Weather and Ocean Temperature Data

Pools and Beaches

California is great, but who wants to swim in the Pacific Ocean? It’s too cold! Now the warm waters of South Florida . . .

Swimming and beach-related opportunities abound. The Fontainebleau has ten pools on its 22-acre campus, as well as Jacuzzis, a kid’s water slide and play area, lawns, and cabanas. A short walk away is the hotel’s beach. As you might expect, the hotel’s pools and beach are very nice.

Here are other options if you are inclined to venture further afield:

The Human Carnival: South Beach, of course. Also known as Lummus Park Beach, on Ocean Drive between 6th and 14th streets. Do not expect to flop down on your towel and contemplate the whichness of what. Distance from Hotel: 4 miles.

Shelling: Bal Harbour Beach, on the northern tip of the island (east side), in the village of Bal Harbour. A nice beach for finding colorful shells, but no lifeguards or bathrooms. It’s much quieter up here than on South Beach. Distance from Hotel: 5 miles.

Far From the Madding Crowd: Virginia Beach, on Virginia Key (just north of Key Biscayne). Very nice, no noisy crowds. Distance from Hotel: 15 miles.

Nature Walk: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Located at the south end of Key Biscayne, where the causeway turns into Crandon Blvd., the long, quiet beach boasts a lighthouse and nature trails. Distance from Hotel: 20 miles.

Windsurfing: Hobie Beach, on the south side of the causeway from Miami to Key Biscayne, near the Virginia Key Beach Park. Here you should find reliable winds and many opportunities to rent windsurf boards. Distance from Hotel: 14 miles.

Family Beach: Matheson Hammock Park Beach, on the mainland in South Miami (9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami). The beach is in a county park, next to a sheltered lagoon. The waters are calm. This is not a party scene, but you can keep an eye on the kids. Distance from Hotel: 19 miles.

Clothing Optional: Don’t know much about this kind of thing—where I come from people wear more clothes at the beach than at home—but I gather that Haulover Beach, just north of Bal Harbour on Collins Avenue, is a well-known destination for the birthday-suit crowd.   The surfing is also great. Distance from Hotel: 7 miles.

The Jungle Island Party

The Miami Beach 2015 Host Committee[1] is throwing a party from 8-11 pm on Monday, September, 28, 2015 at Jungle Island, a zoological park on Watson Island. The park is about seven miles from the hotel. Buses will shuttle guests from the hotel to the party, about a 20-minute ride, starting at 7:30 pm. Return bus service will begin at 10 pm.

The park will be closed to the public, so party attendees can sip a mojito and wander along the paths, enjoying at the tropical flora and interacting with (but not pestering) the fauna. Animal highlights should include orangutans, leopards, lions and tigers, warthogs, pythons, iguanas, gars, macaw, and flamingos. Make sure to see the white lion and the 900-lb Liger! It will be a great opportunity to get up close and personal with unusual species.

The food will have a Miami/Latin flavor, including local seafood, roast pig, and paella. Live music will accompany the festivities.

Jungle Island began in 1936 as Parrot Jungle. Originally located in south Miami, the attraction was created as a place where birds could “fly free.” It was known primarily for its exotic parrots, macaws, and pink flamingos (the last were featured, I am told, in the opening credits of Miami Vice. I missed the show as I was reading Thucydides).

The park moved to its current location in 2003 and was renamed Jungle Island because of its wide variety of tropical flora and fauna. It has 1.35 miles of covered trails that wind through the exhibits and attractions. And of course it has a beach.

Don’t miss it!

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Jungle island party

[1] The host committee members are Paul Steven, Singerman, Berger Singerman LLP (Chairman); Michael Goldberg, Akerman LLP; John Genovese, Genovese Joblove Battista P.A.; Elizabeth Green, Baker Hostetler LLP; and Steven Thomas, Thomas Alexander Forrester LLP. Lori Rabinowitz of Marca is the event director.

First ABLJ Symposium — BAPCPA AT 10

The Miami NCBJ conference will present its first-ever scholarly symposium on September 29, 2015 (3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.), sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Law Journal. The event is organized by Judges Colleen A. Brown and Melvin S. Hoffman and features five panelists: Professors Angela Littwin, Lawrence Ponoroff, and Anne Lawton, and attorneys Tara Twomey and Lynne Riley. All five have reputations for excellent legal scholarship and lively public speaking. The topic is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (“BAPCPA”) at 10. With Judge Brown moderating, the panel will discuss a number of BAPCPA’s aspects, including the means test, treatment of divorce claims, preference recovery, individual chapter 11 cases, and how members of the bench and bar have handled some of the trickier BAPCPA requirements.

The format of the symposium will differ from the typical seminar presentation. Judge Brown will moderate the discussion, with the panelists seated in easy chairs arranged in a horseshoe. Each scholar will give a 15-minute presentation of his or her work, followed by 10-15 minutes of panel discussion.

The presenters will memorialize their presentations in articles, which will be complied into a separate edition of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal.

If this year’s event is a success, the ABLJ will offer additional symposia at future NCBJ conferences, on topics of interest to consumer and business bankruptcy lawyers. Judges Hoffman and Brown encourage you to attend. Reasonably polite feedback will be welcome.

[1] From the Greek sympinein, meaning a drinking party. Sadly, panelists and attendees won’t be able to imbibe until the end of the discussion.

Education Offerings — Miami 2015

By Hon. Rebecca Connelly, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Va

The NCBJ Conference in Miami this year promises excellent and worthwhile educational opportunities. Noteworthy sessions include:

“Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About… Tax Issues in Bankruptcy” Sponsored by ABA Business Law Section. All registered NCBJ attendees are invited to attend this session to hear these tax professionals examine troubling tax issues that arise in business cases and troubling tax issues that arise in consumer cases. Speakers include: Frances Sheehy; Howard Steinberg, CPA, CIRA, MBA; Kimberly Lam, CPA CIRA, CFF; and George Kildonas. Jeffrey Sklarz will moderate this weighty panel.

“Pro Bono Appellate Advocacy — “Make Law, Doing Good: Pro Bono” Sponsored by ABA Business Law Section. All registered NCBJ attendees are invited to attend this session; however, if you want to receive CLEs for this session, you must register for ABA materials. This panel features: G. Eric Brunstad; Susan M. Freeman; Catherine Steege and the Honorable Eugene Wedoff who will discuss the myriad challenges and rewards of pro bono appellate advocacy. The Honorable Elizabeth Stong will moderate this exciting panel.

NCBJ Plenary: Circuit Splits. Moderator Craig Goldblatt will join panelists Honorable Julie A. Robinson, Honorable Bernice B. Donald, and Honorable Joy F. Conti to explore circuit splits on cutting edge bankruptcy issues.

NCBJ Consumer Concurrent: Show Me the Money: Debtor’s Attorney’s Fees in Consumer Cases. Professor Lois Lupica will moderate the dialog between John Rao and D. Sims Crawford as they examine chapter 7 and chapter 13 attorney fee questions

“From Vegas with Love – The Story of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas” Sponsored by ABA Business Law Section. All registered NCBJ attendees are invited to attend this session; however, if you want to receive CLEs for this session, you must register for ABA materials. This panel will share the tale of the Fontainebleau case and its battles over issues ranging from bar orders to equitable subordination. Sidney Levinson will moderate the dynamic panel with Paul Battista; Honorable A. Jay Cristol; James Gasenheimer; Gabrielle A. Hamm; and Soneet R. Kapilla.

Vaccinations! Helping Clients Enhance Rights and Minimize Risk during the Bankruptcy Lull – Drafting and Negotiating Default, Rights Enforcement and more. Seasoned experts will address important tips and tools for insolvency professionals outside the reorganization.

NCBJ/ACB Joint International Program: Open to all registered NCBJ attendees. This session addressing global restructuring issues is a must for all bankruptcy practitioners.

In addition, the Conference will provide extensive coverage of current developments and trends. Sessions occur throughout each day, from breakfast until evening, and range from small group discussions to large lectures. Most panels are interactive and interconnected. The result is superb.

Visit the NCBJ website and the Meeting Guide for more information.