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Pro Bono Work for Consumer Clients

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 69 minutes
Recorded Date: January 17, 2020
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        Pro Bono Service Rules
                - Rule 4-6.1: Professional Responsibility
                - Rule 4-6.6: Short-Term Limited Legal Services Program
         Chapter 7 v Chapter 13
         Client Interview Process
         Mortgage Modification Mediation

Runtime: 1 hour, 9 minutes
Recorded: January 17, 2020


This learn-in session will prepare attorneys, particularly business bankruptcy lawyers, for dealing with insolvent pro se consumer debtors or defendants.

This program was recorded as part of American Bankruptcy Institute's Alexander L. Paskay Memorial Bankruptcy Seminar held on January 17th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
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Mark J. Wolfson

Foley & Lardner, LLP

Mark J. Wolfson, a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, has advised business clients in a wide variety of complex business bankruptcy reorganization cases and commercial litigation actions, including foreclosure and lender liability actions, business tort actions; breach of contract claims, Uniform Commercial Code litigation, and commercial landlord-tenant disputes.

Mark is a member of the firm's Litigation Department and its Bankruptcy & Business Reorganizations Practice (the senior lawyer in the Florida group). He is also the former chair of the Litigation Department in Tampa. He has been practicing commercial litigation and bankruptcy for more than 37 years.

Mark has extensive experience in out-of-court loan workout and restructuring matters as well as broad experience in all types of insolvency and bankruptcy cases, representing debtors, secured creditors, official creditors committees, buyers of assets in chapter 11, equity holders, bondholders, landlords and franchisors. He has experience in state, federal district, and bankruptcy courts litigating fraudulent transfer and preference actions and has been involved in state assignment for the benefit of creditor proceedings. Mark's experience also covers insolvency issues that arise in the health care industry (hospitals, SNFs, medical practices), hotels, resorts, marinas, and golf course venues, manufacturing, telecommunication, technology, automotive, and agriculture spaces.

Mark was the 2005-06 Chair of the Florida Bar Business Law Section. He is a member of the Section's Executive Council. He has served as the Chair of the Business Law Section's Bankruptcy/UCC Committee. Mark also served as the lead representative of the Business Law Section in connection with the enactment of Revised Article 9 in Florida in 2001 and was the primary drafter of many of the unique Florida provisions and the law that permitted Florida to outsource the UCC filing process. He also was chairperson of the section subcommittee that drafted the 1993 amendments to Florida’s Assignment of Rents statute.

Mark was a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Advisory Board for the Caribbean Insolvency Symposium for more than 8 years and has been a member of its Advisory Board for the Alexander L. Paskay Bankruptcy Conference for the past 5 years.

He has lectured and written on lender liability, fraudulent transfer, and bankruptcy matters. He co-authored "An Analysis of the 1993 Mortgage Foreclosure Act," (The Florida Bar Journal, p. 68, October 1993). He also is co-author of the chapter titled “The Impact of Bankruptcy” for the Florida Bar treatise Florida Construction Law and Practice, the most recent edition published in 2018. He served two terms on the editorial board of The Florida Bar Journal and Florida Bar News.

Mark received his law degree from the University of Florida in 1982 and served a judicial clerkship to the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeals. He received his bachelor's degree, with high honors, from the University of Tennessee in 1979 and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.

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Traci K. Stevenson

Attorney & Chapter 7 Trustee
Traci K. Stevenson, PA

Traci K. Stevenson is a bankruptcy attorney and a chapter 7 trustee with Traci K. Stevenson, PA in Madeira Beach, Fla. She has been a panel trustee for 27 years is also a court-approved mediator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa, Fla., and has been a State of Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit mediator since 2008.

Before attending law school, Ms. Stevenson was a police officer and labor negotiator, among other things. She was involved in developing the Mortgage Modification Mediation program in the bankruptcy court in all the districts of Florida and has participated in over 3,000 mediations thus far.

Ms. Stevenson is a member of National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association. She received her B.S.B.A. with honors in 1982 from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and her J.D. cum laude in 1991 from Stetson University College of Law.

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Michael Barnett

Sole Practitioner
Michael Barnett, PA

Michael Barnett is a sole practitioner with Michael Barnett, PA in Tampa, Fla., where he represents consumers and small businesses in chapter 7, 12 and 13 bankruptcy cases in west central Florida. He has practiced bankruptcy and bankruptcy appeals exclusively throughout his career and is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

After having become a partner at a bankruptcy boutique firm, Mr. Barnett started his own firm in 1992. He was involved in the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association pro bono clinic since it’s commencement, and was the first recipient of the association’s pro bono service award in 2016. He is the author of 1017 checklist, an analysis of the 2005 bankruptcy law and originally linked from ABI’s website, and co-author of Strategies for Consumer Bankruptcy Appeals (Aspatore 2012). He has spoken at seminars and workshops on pro bono service, client communications and chapter 12 bankruptcy.

Mr. Barnett received his J.D. from the University of Florida Law School in 1985.

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Hon. Laurel M. Isicoff

Chief Judge
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida

Hon. Laurel M. Isicoff is Chief Judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, initially appointed on Feb. 13, 2006, and named chief judge on Oct. 1, 2016. She also serves on ABI’s Board of Directors. Judge Isicoff is president-elect of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and an ABI Board member. She also is a member of the Pro Bono Committee of the American College of Bankruptcy, as well as chair of its Judicial Outreach Committee.

Judge Isicoff currently serves as judicial chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar and is a member of the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono.

Prior to becoming a judge, she specialized in commercial bankruptcy, foreclosure and workout matters, both as a transactional attorney and litigator, for 14 years with the law firm of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton after practicing for eight years with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, now known as Squire Patton Boggs. In private practice, she also developed a specialty in SEC receiverships involving Ponzi schemes.

After graduating from law school, Judge Isicoff clerked for Hon. Daniel S. Pearson at the Florida Third District Court of Appeal before entering private practice. She is a past president of the Bankruptcy Bar Association (BBA) of the Southern District of Florida and, until she took the bench, served as the chair of the Pro Bono Task Force for the BBA. Judge Isicoff speaks extensively on bankruptcy around the country, and is committed to increasing pro bono service, diversity in the bankruptcy community and financial literacy.

Judge Isicoff received her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in 1982.

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