Six years ago, on January 24, 2007, the very first post of Bankruptcy Law Network went live on the internet. Jay Fleischman, New York bankruptcy attorney, along with Steven Otto, Pennsylvania consumer attorney, gathered together a group of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and talked us into participating in this newfangled thing calling “blogging” on the internet–about bankruptcy and the impact on every day folks after the 2005 Act passed and changed the Bankruptcy Code. Along the way, our 5500 blogs posts have been humorous, thought-provoking, scholarly, but mostly written for consumers. As Mr. Fleischman explained in that first post:
Bankruptcy Law Network is “a cooperative effort on the part of consumer bankruptcy lawyers from around the country. On this site you will soon find a wealth of knowledge and information about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, protecting your rights in bankruptcy, consumer finance issues, and more. …We are not a law firm, and are not a referral network. In fact, none of our attorneys are affiliated with one another at all. We share a common desire to provide you, the consumer, with information that will help you make the best decisions for your situation.”
Also along the way, our members have grown professionally and personally. Our membership stays busy with their practices and expansions into other areas of law. For example, Jay Fleischman now is both a California and New York attorney, having successfully passed the California bar exam in 2011. In addition, Mr. Fleischman has formed a company which educates other attorneys on marketing and law office management. Along with Mr. Fleischman, Cathy Moran, our northern Californian colleague has held a number of seminars assisting attorneys with online presence and marketing, along with Ms. Moran’s instructional seminars on best practices in consumer bankruptcy. Mr. Fleischman and Ms. Moran have also branched into non-bankruptcy financial blogging education for consumers at Consumer Ledger. Joining Mr. Fleischman in another venture is Gene Melchionne, our Connecticut colleague, as he and Mr. Fleischman broadcast over the internet for those folks who would rather hear financial advice than read off the computer screen at Money Go Roundtable, broadcast via iTunes. Another Californian colleague, Doug Jacobs, has joined with Cathy Moran in an attempt to track and explain mortgage modifications for consumers.
Along the way, our members have been recognized and honored for their service to consumers. Brett Weiss, our Maryland member, along with Adrian Lapas, a North Carolina contributor, were awarded the 2011 Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Mr. Weiss testified before Congress on the issue of the need for regulation of credit card abusive practices in 2009. In addition, Adrian Lapas testified before the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Judiciary Committee, in front of the House of Representatives on April 22, 2010, regarding H.R. 5043, the “Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act”. Twelve of our own have been named NACBA Member of the Month. Twelve serve or have served as state chairs, as a liaison between NACBA ( National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys) and the consumer bankruptcy attorneys/state legislative bodies. This writer was pleased to serve on the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Discipline Best Practices Working Group, Ad Hoc Committee on Bankruptcy Court Structure and Insolvency Processes, ABA Section of Business Law–which developed a working paper on Best Practices for Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Our Kansas colleague, Jill Michaux, was recently appointed to the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules by Chief Justice (Supreme Court) John Roberts. Ms. Michaux was one of the early members of Bankruptcy Law Network; she was also one of the early members of the National Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Our members are frequently quoted in the national media. Chip Parker, our Florida member, has been interviewed as an expert in the area of mortgage foreclosure litigation in bankruptcy court — by national media, such as The Rolling Stone, CNN, The New York Times, and First Coast News.This writer was interviewed about litigation for a November 11, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek article entitled “Prisoners of Debt” regarding zombie debt. Along the way, our members have been recognized and honored for their service to consumers. Wendell Sherk, our Missouri member, was named a Super Lawyer in 2011-2012 by his peers. (As a matter of fact, this writer believes a number of our members have been named Super Lawyers by their peers…including Ms. Moran in 2007-2012 and Ms. Michaux in 2008-2012.)
While continuing to blog and educate both consumers and other attorneys, our members give back to their communities: our other Florida member, Carmen Dellutri, is well known for his community service and organizes food and blood drives and safe holiday events for children. Mr. Dellutri also offers free seminars to the public on Mortgage Foreclosure Defense.
Our other members are equally busy, video blogging (Andy Miofsky, Illinois and Dana Wilkinson, South Carolina, along with Jonathan Ginsberg, Georgia), written blogs (Kevin Gipson, Louisiana; Susanne Robicsek, North Carolina; Kent Anderson, Oregon; Kurt O’Keefe, Michigan; Nick Ortiz, and Jed Berliner, both Massachusetts; Craig Andresen, Minnesota; and Peter Orville, New York) — whether they are known for consumer litigation (Rachel Foley), serving on state bar committees (this writer), or publishing books, such as our own Brett Weiss, Maryland. Mr. Weiss recently released “Chapter 11 For Individual Debtors: A Collier Monograph”, a work to assist attorneys in filing Chapter 11 consumer cases. This book was published by Lexis Nexis and co-authored by Dan Press.
It’s been an exciting six years for our Network; we have come a long way in understanding the 2005 Act and blogging. Stick around — the best is yet to come! This writer is pleased to serve as president of Bankruptcy Law Network for 2012-2013, along with vice president, Kevin Gipson; secretary, Kurt O’Keefe; treasurer, Kent Anderson; member-at-large, Susanne Robicsek; and ex officio members of the board, former presidents, Gene Melchionne and Jay Fleischman. Hold on tight, keep reading, and pay attention — it may be a bumpy ride, but it’s never boring here at Bankruptcy Law Network!!