Bankruptcy Legislation in 2019 and 2020

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 64 minutes
Recorded Date: December 06, 2019
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- Current Legislation
        • Family Farmer Relief Act
        • Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019 (HAVEN Act)
        • Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019
- Pending Legislation
        • H.R. 885: Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2019
        • H.R. 2648: Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act of 2019

Runtime: 1 hour, 4 minutes
Recorded: December 6, 2019


The panel will discuss proposed and newly enacted legislation and how it will affect bankruptcy practice. The panel will review the Haven Act and other veteran legislation, the small business reorganization bill, the chapter 12 debt limit bill, various student loan bills, and other legislation.

This program was recorded on December 6th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute


Donald L. Swanson

Koley Jessen

Don has helped hundreds of businesses resolve financial issues without filing bankruptcy. He has, for example, received a great settlement offer from a primary creditor within a few minutes (literally) of filing a bankruptcy petition.

He has represented many committees (both official and ad hoc) in bankruptcy to maximize recovery from scarce assets. For example, Don led the charge to organize and represent an ad hoc Committee for hundreds of creditors in a $1.5 billion Chapter 11 ethanol case and, because of that capacity, held an ex officio position with the Official Committee in that case.

Don has also helped creditors maximize value and minimize loss in many hundreds of cases. For example, he represented a Trustee in a debtor’s Chapter 7 case that scheduled millions of dollars of claims, few assets, and a “no-asset” status, and achieved a 100% distribution to all creditors.

Don publishes a blog on bankruptcy and mediation topics at He has helped promote mediation as a dispute resolution tool in bankruptcy – both locally and nationally. Don chairs the Nebraska Bankruptcy Court Mediation Committee and led the charge to get local mediation rules adopted. He also serves on the leadership team for the Mediation Committee of the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Robert J. Keach

Bernstein Shur

Robert J. Keach is co-chair of Bernstein Shur’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency Practice Group. He is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a Past President (2009-2010) of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Bob is also the co-chair of the ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.

Bob focuses on the representation of various parties in workouts and bankruptcy cases, including debtors, creditors, creditors committees, lessors and third parties acquiring troubled companies and/or their assets. He has appeared as a panelist on national bankruptcy, lender liability and creditors rights programs, and is the author of several articles on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights appearing in the ABI Law Review, Commercial Law Journal and ABI Journal, among other publications. Keach is a contributing author to Collier Guide to Chapter 11: Key Topics and Selected Industries (2011 Ed.).

He is recognized as a “Star Individual” in Corporate M&A/Bankruptcy in Chambers USA, in Best Lawyers in America (Ten-Year Certificate), and by New England Super Lawyers (Bankruptcy and Top 100 Lawyers in New England regardless of specialty). Bob is also certified in business bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification.

Currently, Bob serves as the chapter 11 trustee in the railroad reorganization case of Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd., a cross-border restructuring case. Bob is also the fee examiner in the Exide Technologies case in Delaware; he was also the fee examiner in In re AMR Corporation (the chapter 11 cases of American Airlines and its parent and certain affiliates). Bob has also, inter alia, represented ad hoc committees in the Homebanc Mortgage, New Century TRS Holdings, and Nortel Networks cases in Delaware, as well as a public utilities commission in the FairPoint Communications case in the Southern District of New York.

Prof. Dalié Jiménez

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Professor Jiménez’s scholarly work focuses on contracts, bankruptcy and consumer financial distress, the regulation of financial products and its intersection with consumer protection, and access to justice. Professor Jiménez uses qualitative and quantitative empirical methods to explore the questions of how individuals cope with financial distress, how and whether our legal framework and institutions help or hinder individuals extricate themselves from this distress, and the role of the legal profession in helping individuals with this and other civil legal problems.

Professor Jiménez is one of a handful of legal academics currently using experimental techniques—randomized control trials—to explore some of these questions. She currently has three such randomized trial experiments in the works at various stages. Along with collaborators, she has raised over $1.4 million in direct and indirect costs for these projects. One of these projects inspired a legal nonprofit startup in New York.

Professor Jiménez spent a year as part of the founding staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where she worked on debt collection, debt relief, credit reporting, and student loan issues. Prior to her academic career, she clerked for the Honorable Juan R. Torruella of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, was a litigation associate at Ropes & Gray, L.L.P. in Boston, and worked on consumer protection issues at the Massachusetts State Senate.

Hon. Michael A. Ferguson

Senior Advisor
BakerHostetler, LLP

Leader of BakerHostetler’s Federal Policy team, the Honorable Michael Ferguson served for nearly a decade in Congress and held leadership roles on key policy initiatives, from healthcare to financial services, with an eye toward advocating for legislative solutions that removed regulatory roadblocks to innovation. As vice chairman of the House’s principal healthcare subcommittee, he led key policy reforms, including the creation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and pharmaceutical and medical device user fee reauthorizations. He also participated in several financial services investigations and helped lead passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other financial industry reforms following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After retiring from Congress, Mike founded Ferguson Strategies, a government affairs and public policy consulting firm that served a range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies and start-up firms.

Appointed by Governor Chris Christie and unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate, Mike was Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority from 2011 until 2018.

Elizabeth S. Stephens

Of Counsel
Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel

Elizabeth E. Stephens is Of Counsel with Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel and serves as managing attorney of its Las Vegas office. She practices in the area of insolvency and bankruptcy, primarily representing trustees and creditors in consumer bankruptcies. She is also an experienced appellate lawyer, having successfully litigated before the Ninth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, the courts of the District of Nevada and the Supreme Court of the State of Nevada, and the State of Wisconsin. She also is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Previously, Ms. Stephens was an assistant state public defender for the State of Wisconsin in the Appellate Division, where she litigated hundreds of criminal appeals in the state and federal courts. She also represented consumer debtors in chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies.

Ms. Stephens received her B.A. in 1969 from Alverno College, her M.A.L.S. in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin and her J.D. cum laude in 1984 from Marquette University Law School, where she was a staff editor of the Marquette Law Review.

Hon. Michelle M. Harner

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Maryland

Hon. Michelle M. Harner is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, appointed in 2017.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was the Francis King Carey Professor of Law and the Director of the Business Law Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she taught courses in bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, business associations, business planning, corporate finance and the legal profession. Judge Harner lectured frequently during her academic career on various topics involving corporate governance, financially distressed entities, risk management and related legal issues. Her academic scholarship is widely published, with her publications appearing in, among others, the Vanderbilt Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Fordham Law Review (reprinted in Corporate Practice Commentator), Washington & Lee Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, University of Illinois Law Review, Arizona Law Review (reprinted in Corporate Practice Commentator) and Florida Law Review.

Judge Harner has served as the Associate Reporter to the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Reporter to the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, and a member of the Dodd-Frank Study Working Group for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. She also served as the Robert M. Zinman ABI Resident Scholar for the fall of 2015. Judge Harner is an elected member of the American Law Institute and Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. She previously was in private practice in business restructuring, insolvency, bankruptcy and related transactional fields, most recently as a partner at the Chicago office of the international law firm Jones Day.

Judge Harner received her B.A. cum laude from Boston College in 1992 and her J.D. summa cum laude from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1995.

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