From 2009 to 2019 I served as staff attorney to the Chapter 13 Trustee in Savannah, Georgia. I represented the Trustee in every aspect of thousands of Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases each year, including regular appearances in Court hearings, meetings of creditors, trials and written briefs. The Trustee’s duties include assisting debtors in proposing and performing a Chapter 13 plan. After 10 years of assisting the Trustee in this role I have an excellent understanding of what is necessary for a successful bankruptcy case.
I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Indianapolis in 1995.
In 1997 I moved to New York City to attend law school. I graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2000 and served as law clerk to Bankruptcy Judge Adlai S. Hardin, Jr., in White Plains, New York, then worked at a large bankruptcy firm in Manhattan. From 2003 to 2009 I served as law clerk to Bankruptcy Judge Cecelia G. Morris in Poughkeepsie, New York.
My proudest moments as a lawyer are the times when I am able to make a difference for others who need help.
I was instrumental in creating and drafting a set of loss mitigation procedures that were adopted by the Southern District of New York bankruptcy courts. The procedures are simple – they require lenders and mortgage-servicing companies to participate in the bankruptcy process, provide basic information and send someone to Court with actual decision-making authority (just like everyone else has to). The loss mitigation program helped many homeowners reach agreement with their mortgage lenders and stay in their homes during the mortgage crisis. The program is still going strong. Other bankruptcy courts in the U.S. have since adopted similar loss mitigation programs.
One of my most rewarding experiences was serving as an adjunct professor at Lehman College, City University of New York. I taught bankruptcy law and legal drafting to students in the paralegal program. Sharing my knowledge with people who were eager to learn provided me with a sense of fulfillment and well-being. I enjoyed watching students’ understanding and confidence grow over the course of the semester. I believe a successful law practice can be based on the same model. I want to share my knowledge with clients, boost their confidence, and give them the tools they need to succeed.
My favorite parts of Chapter 13 Trustee work were the times when I could provide a solution that allowed a case to continue. Chapter 13 Trustees and their attorneys often work behind the scenes to assist in the success of bankruptcy cases. Bankruptcy isn’t usually about “winning.” The better approach involves cooperation, creativity and problem solving. I’ve “won” my share of cases, but my proudest memories are of the times I suggested a solution that all parties agreed to, avoiding a costly and time-consuming battle, and allowing a case to make it to the finish. I continue that same work with this firm, interacting directly with the people I serve.
The closing of a biography seems to be the place to list hobbies and personal interests. You might have guessed that I like palm trees! Growing up in the Midwest, hundreds of miles from a tropical beach, I believed it was impossible to have a bad day if you were near a palm tree. Sadly, that turned out to be untrue, but palm trees still make me smile. They convey a sense of relaxation and – here comes that word again – relief. Corinthian columns, old law books and the “scales of justice” are symbols for an ideal. I use palm trees in my logo and on this web site to represent an ideal that is important to me.
My hobbies and interests include fishing and camping, creative writing and music. I like guitars, old racing cars, scary movies, amusement parks, dad jokes and bad puns. I am fortunate to live with my Top-Three Favorite People in the Entire World, and far too many animals, in Rincon, Georgia.
Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee, Savannah, GA
Senior Staff Attorney, 2014 – 2019
Staff Attorney, 2009 – 2014
Honorable Cecelia G. Morris, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
Law Clerk, 2003 – 2009
Lehman College, The City University of New York, Bronx, NY
Adjunct Professor, 2001 –2007
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York, NY
Associate Attorney, 2002 – 2003
Honorable Adlai S. Hardin, Jr., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
Law Clerk, 2000 – 2002
Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY
Juris Doctor, cum laude, 2000
University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Bachelor of Science in Journalism, magna cum laude, 1995
SPEECHES & ARTICLES
Speaker and material contributor, "In the Driver Seat: Issues Involving Automobiles In Consumer Bankruptcies," ICLE Consumer & Business Bankruptcy Seminar, Greensboro, Ga., December 2019.
Speaker and material contributor, with Honorable John P. Gustafson, National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT) Annual Seminar, Indianapolis, Indiana, “An Insider’s Look at Chapter 13 Trusteeships,” July 2019.
Speaker, Effingham County Bar Association, Springfield, Ga., February 2019.
Speaker, Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute (CBLI) Seminar for Bankruptcy Assistants and Paralegals, Savannah, Ga., 2015 to 2019.
Speaker and materials, “Case Law Update,” 2017 Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Consumer & Business Bankruptcy Seminar, Greensboro, Ga., 2017.
Speaker and material contributor, “Lincoln’s Notes and Bankruptcy,” presented by The W. Homer Drake, Jr. Georgia Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, ICLE Consumer & Business Bankruptcy Seminar, Greensboro, Ga., 2016.
Speaker, “Basics of Bankruptcy,” Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia, Savannah, Ga., Fall 2016.
Article, “Deadline for Filing Proof of Claim in Chapter 13 Case Applies to All Claims, Including Claims of Secured Creditors,” ConsiderChapter13.org. December 13, 2015.
Article, “Means Test Interpretation Issues,” with O. Byron Meredith III and Brian M. Shockley, presented at Institute of Continuing Legal Education Consumer & Business Bankruptcy Annual Seminar, 2011.
Speaker, Hudson Valley Bankruptcy Bar Association CLE presentation, “Bankruptcy Litigation,” Poughkeepsie, N.Y., February 8, 2008.
Article, with Hon. Cecelia G. Morris and Cheryl J. Lee, “Pre-Petition Credit Counseling and Considerations Under 11 U.S.C. § 109(h),” Stetson College of Law Bankruptcy Seminar, December 8, 2006.
Article, with Hon. Cecelia G. Morris, “Ancillary and Cross-Border Cases: Application of United States Bankruptcy Law to Argentine Debtors and Their U.S. Creditors,” Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice. October 2006.