The Business Case: Game-Changing Benefits of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 89 minutes
Recorded Date: March 10, 2021
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• Current State of US Law Firms
• Current State of the Federal Judiciary
• ABI's Diversity Working Group
• The Business Case for D & I
• In Practice: Action Items
        - Build a Diverse Team
        - Sponsor and Mentor a Diverse Lawyer
        - Help Diversify the Bench and Bar
        - Take Action Today

Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Recorded: March 10, 2021


To make meaningful progress, legal professionals and the organizational cultures they inhabit must adopt a learning goal orientation and be willing to change. Join this keynote panel of legal professionals from across the nation for an active discussion on the business impacts of racial and gender diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal industry. The panel will begin with a plenary session followed by breakout rooms.

This program was recorded as part of the American Bankruptcy Institute's Bankruptcy Battleground West on March 10th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute


Hon. Maureen A. Tighe

Chief Judge
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California

Hon. Maureen A. Tighe is Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California in Woodland Hills, initially appointed on Nov. 24, 2003, and reappointed in November 2017. She became Chief Judge on Jan. 1, 2019. Previously, she was the U.S. Trustee for the Central District of California from 1998-2003. During that time, she also served as U.S. Trustee in the Districts of Northern, Eastern and Southern California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

From 1988-98, Judge Tighe was an assistant U.S. attorney, specializing in the prosecution of financial crime. During that time, as deputy chief of the Major Frauds section, she supervised the prosecution of bank, securities, insurance, telemarketing, health care, credit card, mail, wire, bankruptcy and other financial fraud. Before that, she was an associate at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York and clerked for U.S. District Judge Harold A. Ackerman in Newark, N.J.

Judge Tighe has authored numerous reports and articles concerning access to justice, bankruptcy crimes, bust-out schemes, bankruptcy petition preparers, parallel proceedings, trustee duties and identity theft. She is a member of ABI and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, and she is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

Ms. Tighe received her B.A. with highest honors from Douglass College in 1979 and her J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark in 1984 with high honors, where she was editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Law Review.

Demetra L. Liggins

Thompson & Knight, LLP

Demetra L. Liggins is a partner in Thompson & Knight LLP’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice Group in the firm’s Houston office. She has nearly 20 years of experience in business finance and restructurings for a variety of large and small public and private companies.

Ms. Liggins has led many of Thompson & Knight’s representations of bankruptcy clients, working on both in-court and out-of-court restructurings. Her clients include health care systems, retail corporations, financial institutions, oil and gas companies, partnerships and private-equity funds, among others.

Ms. Liggins is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy and finance-related topics, in addition to speaking on career goals, branding and mentorship to minority and female audiences ranging from established professionals to students. She is actively involved in numerous organizations, including serving as Southern Regional director and a former Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; immediate past Houston Network chair of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC); a member of the Women’s Business Alliance, Greater Houston Partnership; a member and former chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the Houston Bar Association; a member of the Cumberland Law School Advisory Board; a member of the Women’s Energy Network; and a Fellow of the American Bar Association, Houston Young Lawyers Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation. She has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers and Texas Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, as a Law Firm Rainmaker by Diversity & the Bar, and to Houston’s “Top Lawyers” by H Texas magazine. She has also been featured in Law360’s Minority Powerbroker Q&A series. She also was recently featured as an honoree for the 2020 Houston Association for Women Attorneys Premier Women in Law and for the 2019 Texas Minority Counsel Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Liggins received her B.S. in business administration cum laude from Christian Brothers University in 1997 and her J.D. cum laude from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 2000.

Uchechi A. Egeonuigwe

Brown Rudnick LLP

Uchechi A. Egeonuigwe is an associate in Brown Rudnick LLP’s New York office and a member of the firm’s Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring group. She represents creditor groups, investors, equityholders and individual borrowers in all aspects of restructuring stressed and distressed companies.

Ms. Egeonuigwe’s engagements have ranged across a wide array of industries, including oil and gas, retail, manufacturing, real estate, lending, technology and telecommunications. She was recently recognized in The Best Lawyers in America as one of the “Ones to Watch” for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law in 2021.

Ms. Egeonuigwe received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside as a scholar-athlete and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Dan E. Cranshaw

Polsinelli PC

Dan E. Cranshaw is a shareholder with Polsinelli PC in Kansas City and focuses his practice on litigation, alternative dispute resolution, strategic consultation and insurance policy assessment. He has defended product-liability and warranty claims, and been involved with commercial litigation, riskmanagement and toxic tort litigation.

Mr. Cranshaw has been involved in class actions in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. and has successfully dealt with all aspects of class-action litigation, including pre-certification dismissals and summary judgments, class discovery, class certification and de-certification, and claims administration. He has successfully resolved claims for individual and corporate clients through alternative dispute resolution, including a favorable settlement of a significant breach-of-contract dispute. In addition to his litigation experience, Mr. Cranshaw is well-versed in the development and execution of discovery motion strategies and strategic case-management techniques. He works on national trial teams, where he plays an integral role in pre-trial discovery and investigation.

Mr. Cranshaw formerly held roles in education, marketing and legislation. He is ranked in Benchmark Litigation and received the American Board of Trial Advocates Award for Outstanding Performance in Trial Advocacy.

Mr. Cranshaw received his A.B. from Princeton University and his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law.

Michael L. Bernstein

Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer LLP

Michael Bernstein is a partner in the firm's Bankruptcy and Restructuring practice. He is consistently distinguished as one of Washington's top bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers by Chambers USA, which has described him as bringing "an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code, an unbelievably tireless energy level, and a practical results-oriented approach to bankruptcy issues," noting that clients describe him as a "fierce and zealous advocate and skilled negotiator," and a "creative and loyal advocate whose knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code makes him incredible at getting the best results for his clients."

He represents secured and unsecured creditors, committees, bondholders, investors, asset purchasers, private equity funds, debtors, directors, and other parties in a wide variety of bankruptcy and restructuring matters, and in related litigation throughout the United States. He also advises clients concerning corporate governance and fiduciary duty issues arising in the insolvency context.

Mr. Bernstein is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, a Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, a published author and a frequent lecturer. He has been interviewed by major newspapers and on television and radio, and has been invited on several occasions to testify as an independent expert, before Congress, concerning proposed bankruptcy legislation. For more than a decade, Mr. Bernstein served as chair of the firm's national Bankruptcy and Restructuring practice and as a member of the firm's Policy Committee.

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