Student Loans: How Do We Deal with Them Before and After Bankruptcy?

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 73 minutes
Recorded Date: July 12, 2019
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  • Non-Bankruptcy Options for Managing Student Loans
  • Undue Hardship Student Loan Litigation
  • Treatment of Student Loan Claims in Chapter 13 Plans
  • Separate Classification of Student Loans in Chapter 13
Runtime: 1 hour and 13 minutes
Recorded: July 12, 2019


It is estimated that U.S. student debt obligations now exceed $1.5 trillion. This panel will discuss the impact of student loans before and after the borrower files bankruptcy. What can an attorney do to assist his/her client in determining his/her options with student loan obligations? How can a student loan be modified, and what can be done outside the courtroom for the borrower? Further discussion will concentrate on when a student loan can be dischargeable, the difficulty in establishing a hardship discharge, how the lender defends against a debtor seeking a hardship discharge at trial, and how student loans are treated in chapter 13 proceedings throughout the First Circuit.

This program was recorded as part of ABI's 2019 Northeastern Bankruptcy Conference & Consumer Forum on July 12th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute


Julia Pitney

Drummond Woodsum

Julia Greenleaf Pitney is a litigator and member of Drummond Woodsum's Trial Services Group. Julia’s represents clients in a wide range of litigated matters in State and Federal courts and at administrative hearings. Julia’s practice focuses on commercial contract litigation, real estate disputes, employment law and White Collar criminal defense. Julia also has years of experience representing national and local lenders and servicers in all phases of litigation and workouts. She has been recognized by New England Super Lawyers as a “rising star.”

Prior to joining Drummond Woodsum in 2016, Julia spent ten years practicing in Lewiston and Portland. Julia is a 2006 graduate from The University of Maine School of Law. While in law school, Julia was a Case Note and Comment Editor for the Maine Law Review, served as a Bernstein Fellow to the Honorable Joyce Wheeler, and worked as a student prosecutor at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s office in Portland.

Perry O'Brian

Law Office of Perry O'Brian

Perry O’Brian is a Bangor, Maine native. In the early years, Mr. O’Brian handled bankruptcies, social security disability cases, criminal cases and family law matters. As time went on, bankruptcy cases became more and more the focus of his practice until it made up a majority of his case load. When Congress changed the bankruptcy laws in 2005, Mr. O’Brian made the decision to focus exclusively on bankruptcy law. Given the complexities of the new laws, Mr. O’Brian decided that clients needed an attorney who was well versed in the new laws. Mr. O’Brian has helped hundreds and hundreds of bankruptcy clients over the past 26 years get a fresh start through bankruptcy.

Perry attended John Baptist High School, the University of Maine at Orono and Maine Law School in Portland. He graduated from law school in 1984 and returned to Bangor, Maine to set up his practice. 

Adam S. Minsky

Principal and Owner
Law Office of Adam S. Minsky

Adam S. Minsky is one of the nation’s leading experts on student loan law and is a pioneer in his field. He established the first law firm in Massachusetts devoted entirely to helping student loan borrowers, and has since expanded his practice to include New York. He remains one of the only attorneys in the country with a practice focused exclusively in this field of law.

Attorney Minsky is a senior contributor to Forbes, and he has published numerous books and articles on student debt and regularly speaks at colleges, nonprofit organizations, and professional associations about developments in student loan law and higher education financing. Major media outlets frequently seek his expert opinions on national news and policy stories.

Attorney Minsky founded this practice because he took out student loans to help finance his own education, but when he encountered a serious problem with one of his student loan servicers, he couldn’t find anyone to help him. He established this firm shortly thereafter to help other borrowers who feel alone and overwhelmed by a student debt issue, and he has since helped hundreds of clients work through major problems with their student loans.

Hon. Elizabeth D. Katz

U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of Massachusetts

Elizabeth D. Katz is a federal bankruptcy judge on the United States bankruptcy court, District of Massachusetts. She joined the court on March 13, 2017.

According to a court biography, her "legal career began at the Office of the Attorney General in Boston upon her graduation from law school. In 1995, Attorney Katz became an assistant district attorney at the Northwestern District Attorney's Office in Northampton, where she worked until 2007. Upon her departure, Attorney Katz was the Chief of the Hampshire County and Franklin County District Courts Divisions. In 2007, she entered private practice." Immediately prior to her elevation to the court, she was a partner at Rescia, Katz & Shear, LLP.

Katz earned her B.A. from the University of Vermont and her J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.

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