Unlocking Gating Issues in Potential Debtor Engagements

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 74 minutes
Recorded Date: June 17, 2021
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  • Getting Retained
  • Getting Paid
  • Authority to File
  • Walking Away From a Potential Engagement
Runtime: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Recorded: June 17, 2021


This panel discusses several threshold issues that should be considered when determining whether you can and should represent a potential debtor client. The panelists highlight real-life examples and provide best practices and pitfalls to avoid with respect to these issues.

This program was recorded as part of the American Bankruptcy Institute's Central States Bankruptcy Workshop held on June 17th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute


Craig E. Stevenson

Equity Partner
DeWitt LLP

Craig E. Stevenson is an equity partner at DeWitt LLP in Madison, Wis., where he practices in the areas of creditors’ rights, business bankruptcy and litigation. He represents debtors and creditors in all chapters of bankruptcy, receiverships, workouts, and state and federal litigation, and he handles bankruptcy appeals before the district and circuit courts.

As debtor’s counsel, Mr. Stevenson has assisted various types of businesses, including dealerships, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and farms, as well as individuals, in chapter 11 and 12 cases. He also has handled many complex cases for individuals under chapters 7 and 13, and represents the rights of secured and unsecured creditors in both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy matters.

Mr. Stevenson is a regular presenter at a number of seminars, including those hosted by ABI and the State Bar of Wisconsin. He currently serves on the board of the Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section of the Wisconsin State Bar, and is a past chair of the Western District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Bar Association.

Mr. Stevenson received his B.B.A. cum laude from DePauw University and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Evelyn J. Meltzer

Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP

Evelyn J. Meltzer is a partner with Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP in Wilmington, Del., where she focuses her practice on corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. She provides advice to clients regarding the risks, benefits, challenges and opportunities available in restructuring proceedings, and she has experience representing debtors, creditors’ committees, asset purchasers, landlords, liquidating and litigation trusts, assignees in assignments for the benefit of creditors (ABC), receivers, secured and unsecured creditors, and shareholders in bankruptcy proceedings.

Ms. Meltzer has experience serving as counsel for both the debtor and creditor side in bankruptcy-related litigation matters. She is frequently invited to write and speak about current bankruptcy and insolvency issues.

Ms. Meltzer is AV-rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability by Martindale-Hubbell and co-chairs ABI’s Asset Sales Committee. She received the 2016 Melnik Award for an Exceptional IWIRC Member and is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Ms. Meltzer received her B.A. in political science from Drew University in 1998 and her J.D. in 2001 from Northwestern University School of Law.

J. David Krekeler

Founder & Principal Shareholder
Krekeler Strother, S.C.

J. David Krekeler is the founder and principal shareholder of Krekeler Strother, S.C. in Madison, Wis., and devotes his practice to debtor/creditor and bankruptcy matters, including the representation of debtors, creditors and even bankruptcy trustees in cases under chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13. He also serves as a receiver in both supplemental and chapter 128 proceedings.

Mr. Krekeler is a member of both the Creditor’s Rights section and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency section of the Wisconsin State Bar. He is Board Certified in Business Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

Mr. Krekeler is a past chairman of the Western District Bankruptcy Bar and a member of the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys. He frequently teaches on debtor/creditor matters and is a past instructor at the University of Wisconsin Law School Lawyering Skills Program. He also trains mediators for the Farm Mediation Program administered by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and serves on the Department’s Consumer Protection Advisory Council.

Mr. Krekeler has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2007, voted one of Madison’s Best Bankruptcy Lawyers as published in Madison Magazine, and named a Wisconsin Super Lawyer in bankruptcy as published by Milwaukee Magazine and Wisconsin Super Lawyers since 2007.

Mr. Krekeler received his B.S.B.A. from the University of Missouri - St. Louis in 1974 and his J.D. in 1979 from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Rachel L. HIllegonds

Senior Counsel
Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, PLC

Rachel L. Hillegonds is senior counsel with Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, P.L.C. in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of its Business Section, Bankruptcy – Creditors’/Debtors’ Rights and Real Estate practice groups. She has been practicing law since 2004.

Ms. Hillegonds represents a variety of clients in bankruptcy-related matters, including secured and unsecured creditors, chapter 7 and 11 trustees, chapter 7 non-consumer and chapter 11 debtors, and creditors’ committees. She has defended numerous preference claims brought against creditors in local bankruptcy cases, as well as cases filed in other jurisdictions around the country, and she has represented banks, lessors and lessees, litigants and other creditors in seeking relief from the automatic stay and otherwise protecting their rights, collateral and interests in chapter 7, 11, 12 and 13 cases.

Ms. Hillegonds has helped individuals and companies file for bankruptcy protection and navigate through liquidations and reorganizations. She has also assisted bankruptcy trustees in operating chapter 11 cases, and in recovering assets for the benefit of creditors in both chapter 7 and 11 cases.

Ms. Hillegonds also has assisted clients in out-of-court workout, receivership and other insolvency matters. For example, she has filed claims for and represented creditors in receiverships, has assisted clients in negotiating forbearance agreements and settlement of debts in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, and has counseled clients in winding down business operations, including matters relating to company debt and the outstanding personal liabilities of business owners. She also has helped clients with residential and commercial real estate acquisitions and sales, eviction and other tenant matters, drafting, reviewing and terminating leases, foreclosures, condominium association documents and navigating unit owner problems, resolving zoning, easement and land use issues, and other real estate matters.

Ms. Hillegonds was previously a staff attorney for Chapter 13 Trustee Mary Viegelahn. She is a member of ABI and the Turnaround Management Association, Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Michigan, Grand Rapids Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan. She currently serves on the programming committee for the Turnaround Management Association’s West Michigan chapter, and she previously served as the secretary and a member of the FBA Bankruptcy Section steering committee for the Western District of Michigan, and as chair, vice chair, treasurer and board member of its West Michigan chapter.

Ms. Hillegonds received her undergraduate degree cum laude in 1999 from Hope College and her J.D. cum laude in 2004 from Valparaiso University School of Law.

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