Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Ethics Challenges of Bankruptcy Attorneys Who Represent Debtors in Chapter 13 Cases

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 61 minutes
Recorded Date: December 06, 2019
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        • Debtor's Attorney
        • Chapter 13 Trustee
        • Creditor's Attorney
        • Bankruptcy Judge
        • Challenges
        • Hypothetical Cases
                - Mentally Ill Debtor
                - Lien Avoidance and Plan Objection
                - Business Debtor-Joint Petition
                - Ex-Spouse and Chapter 13
                - Cram Down and Debtor's Attorney Fees
                - Student Loans and Season Ticket to Sports Team

Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: December 6, 2019


There have been significant challenges to the roles that counsel to debtors and creditors have played in chapter 13 cases since the enactment of BAPCPA, with little recognition that the success in completing a case through discharge is directly proportional to the efforts of the professionals involved in the proceeding, often in the face of contending with very difficult clients and circumstances. Many programs focus on the poor behaviors of counsel in an effort to provide examples or what “not to do.”

This interactive ethics panel will require the panelists to take on role-reversals and encourage audience participation and debate about what can be done to support experienced professionals, and to avoid the continued diminution of the practice by having parties take on the challenges of the “other side.”

This program was recorded on December 6th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute


Kathleen A. Leavitt

Kathleen A. Leavitt Chapter 13 Trustee

Kathleen A. Leavitt is a chapter 13 trustee in Law Vegas. She is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, on the Pro Bono Committee of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and a member of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees. Ms. Leavitt received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Law Vegas.

Rita Kostopoulos

Founding Attorney
Kostopoulos & Associates, PLLC

Rita Kostopoulos is the founder of Kostopoulos & Associates PLLC in Warren, Mich., after first founding the Kostopoulos Law Group PC in Oakland, Calif., in 2013 after taking the bar exam in California in 2012. She has filed more than 9,000 bankruptcy cases and represents primarily debtors in chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases. Ms. Kostopoulos was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2001 and to the State Bar of California in 2012. She is a member of ABI, NACBA, State Bar of California, State Bar of Michigan, the San Francisco Bar Association and the Alameda County Bar Association, and she is admitted to to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Michigan, and the US District Court of Colorado.

Ms. Kostopoulos clerked for Hon James Biernat Sr. of the Macomb County Circuit Court from 2000-01. She also holds a real estate brokers license and runs a real estate investment firm as well as a multi-state consumer-lending business. Ms. Kostopoulos is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

Ms. Kostopoulos received her B.S.B.A. in management cum laude in 1998 from Wayne State University and her J.D. from Wayne State University School of Law in 2001.

Misty Perry Isaacson

Pagter and Perry Isaacoson, APLC

Misty Perry Isaacson is an attorney with Pagter and Perry Isaacson, APLC in Santa Ana, Calif., where she focuses her practice on bankruptcy and insolvency matters. She is certified by the State Bar of California as a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist, and has more than 20 years of experience in bankruptcy matters. Ms. Perry Isaacson has represented debtors, creditors, chapter 7 and 13 trustees, the U.S. Trustee, plaintiffs and defendants to lawsuits in bankruptcy proceedings. She also assists clients in nonbankruptcy financial workouts and collection issues.

Ms. Perry Isaacson is admitted to practice before all California Courts, the Central, Southern, Northern, and Eastern District Courts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is currently the chair-elect for the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee and the former co-chair of the Central District of California Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. She also serves on the Insolvency Law Committee for the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, and is a member of the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum and the Orange County Bar Association’s Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section.

Ms. Perry Isaacson received her B.A. in political science from California State University, Long Beach and her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.

Hon. Martin R. Barash

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California

Hon. Martin R. Barash is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California in Woodland Hills, sworn in on March 26, 2015. He brings more than 20 years of legal experience to the bench.

Prior to his appointment, Judge Barash had served as a partner at Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP in Los Angeles since 2001, where he counseled parties in chapter 11 cases and litigated chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Procter R. Hug, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1992-93. Judge Barash is a member of ABI’s Board of Directors. He also serves as a director of the Judicial Leadership Development Council and is a member of the NCBJ Committee on Judicial Security. He previously was a member of the board of directors for the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum.

Judge Barash is a frequent panelist on bankruptcy law issues and has been a guest lecturer at the UCLA School of Law. He has also been involved in the local legal community as a pro bono attorney with the Public Counsel Chapter 7 Reaffirmation Hearing Clinic, and has been a volunteer judge for a course on negotiating and confirming chapter 11 plans at the UCLA School of Law and with UCLA’s Mock Trial Competition. He currently serves as a director and immediate past president of the Junior Statesmen Foundation, a national, nonpartisan organization sponsoring civics education programs for high school students.

Judge Barash received his A.B. magna cum laude in 1989 from Princeton University and his J.D. in 1992 from the UCLA School of Law, where he served as member, editor, business manager and symposium editor of the UCLA Law Review.

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