Find ABI @ NCBJ: Eight Exciting Educational Workshops and More

Start your 2019 NCBJ experience with ABI at the opening reception! On October 30, ABI’s Host Committee will welcome NCBJ attendees to the Nation’s Capital in style. Included in your NCBJ registration, the Opening Reception provides a welcoming opportunity to network and mingle with over 1,000 bankruptcy professionals in the beautiful atrium of the Marriott Marquis hotel.

On Friday morning, November 1, join us for a series of eight (8) interactive workshops featuring ABI’s premier panelists, all designed to get you engaged on each topic. The ABI session programs are titled Hot Trustee Topics in Consumer Cases; You Can Use § 363 for That?; Energy: PG&E Panel; All You Need to Know About Liquidating Chapter 11 Plans; Supreme Court Review; and Cutting-Edge Issues in Avoidance Actions.

Commissioners from ABI’s Consumer Commission will present two panels reporting on key findings in its Final Report: raising the debt limits in chapter 13, the concept of a debtor reserve fund, use of collateral and remedies for discharge violations, chapter 7 trustee fees, chapter 7 debtor attorney fees, attorney competency and means testing.

Make sure you select the ABI Luncheon later that day and hear from our keynote speaker, Jan Crawford. Ms. Crawford is CBS News’ chief legal correspondent and has written and reported extensively on the Supreme Court. She will present on The Supreme Court Under Trump during the ABI Luncheon. The 14th Annual William J. Norton Jr. Judicial Excellence Award will also be presented during the ABI Luncheon. We look forward to seeing you at NCBJ in our hometown, Washington, D.C.

Join Us for Yoga at the Conference

Come stretch before you sit all day! These yoga classes will be led in the Iyengar style, with a focus on opening up the body to create a greater sense of spaciousness and focus. The classes will include standing poses, balancing poses, front and back body extensions, twists, and restorative poses.

If you have a yoga mat and a cloth strap, bring them. If not, a bath towel and hand towel will do just fine.
The goal of these sessions is to have attendees walk away feeling taller, more open, and more at peace.

Post submitted by

The Honorable Colleen A. Brown
United States Bankruptcy Judge
District of Vermont

Editor’s Note:

The Yoga classes will be held from 6:30 am to 7:30 am on Wednesday and Friday, Oct 30 and Nov. 1 2019 (  in the Mezz-Scarlet Oak room) and on Sat Nov 2, 2019 (in the M4-Senate & Foyer).

For more information keep reading.

Editor:  Is prior Yoga experience necessary?
Judge Brown:  No, no experience is required. Everyone is welcome. Attendees should bring a yoga mat and strap if they have them (and a bath towel and cloth belt otherwise), along with an open mind, to get the most out of it.

Editor:  Would you briefly explain your experience leading Yoga classes? 
Judge Brown:  I have been practicing Iyengar yoga on and off, though pretty regularly, for 40 years, and completed a yoga teacher training course about 10 years ago. I taught in a yoga studio for a while after completing that training but had to give it up due to other time commitments. Currently, my schedule only allows me to lead yoga a few times each year – generally at professional  conferences, such as NCBJ, though I have continued my regular yoga practice. I am NOT a certified Iyengar yoga teacher, or a certified yoga teacher of any kind . I will be leading the group through yoga poses, rather than actually teaching formal yoga classes at NCBJ.

Editor:   What is the Iyengar style?
Judge Brown:  Iyengar yoga is a type of Hatha Yoga founded by B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar yoga is focused on alignment and is taught with many, very precise, instructions for each pose. It is one of a dozen different types of hatha yoga and is often described as the most exacting – not because it is more difficult than all of the others, but because it requires great attention to detail. As a result of its focus on the subtleties of correct alignment, Iyengar yoga is well-suited to both beginners and experienced yogis. In Iyengar yoga, the goal is to have each participant be able to do every pose. To facilitate that, Iyengar classes typically include a myriad of “props”: belts, blocks and pillow-like bolsters. These props also make it possible for everyone to do the poses with the correct alignment, even when they’re new to them, injured or simply stiff.

Bankruptcy questions that need not keep you awake at night any longer

Have you ever pondered these questions?

-What is a Court of Bankruptcy?

-How many U.S. bankruptcy laws have there been?

-When was NCBJ f/k/a NARB really formed?

-What was the term for which bankruptcy referees were appointed?

-When did a bankruptcy referee become a bankruptcy judge?

-When did the National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy change its name to the NCBJ?

-How many bankruptcy judges are there?

These questions need not keep you awake at night any longer. This timeline answers all of these questions and many more.

  • 1800   The first federal bankruptcy law, the Bankruptcy Act of 1800, lasted only three years.
  • 1841    The second federal bankruptcy law, the Bankruptcy Act of 1841, was repealed in 1843.
  • 1867    Congress passes the third federal bankruptcy law, the Bankruptcy Act of 1867. That Act lasted longer. It was repealed in 1888.
  • 1898   The fourth federal bankruptcy law, the Bankruptcy Act of 1898, was in effect for about eighty years, creates the position of bankruptcy referee appointed by the district court for two-year terms. District courts can remove bankruptcy referees from office at any time without cause. Bankruptcy referees assist in the administration of bankruptcy cases and do not have the authotity to administer oaths.
  • 1899   Shortly after passage of the Bankruptcy Act of 1898, bankruptcy referees formed the National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy (NARB). Referee Charles A. Hawley of Seneca Falls, New York was elected its first president. The first NARB convention, held in Chicago in July 1899, was attended by 30 referees from 14 states.  The NARB became inactive about five years later.
  • 1923  There were approximately 535 active Referees in Bankruptcy in the continental United States.
  • 1926   The National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy is formed for a second time. Its first convention, held in Detroit, was attended by 82 referees from 24 states and the District of Columbia. Paul H. King from Detroit, Michigan was elected the first President.
  • 1934   Congress creates Courts of Bankruptcy to exercise bankruptcy jurisdiction. See 11 U.S.C. § 11 (1934). The statute provides that courts of bankruptcy shall include the district courts of the United States and may include bankruptcy referees.
  • 1938   The Chandler Act of 1938 increases the judicial functions of bankruptcy referees, assigns many administrative functions of the bankruptcy referee to bankruptcy trustees, and authorizes bankruptcy referees to administer oaths and examine witnesses.
  • 1946   Congress increases the terms of bankruptcy referees from two to six years, and limits the circumstances under which bankruptcy referees can be removed from office.
  • 1973   Recognizing the increased judicial role of the bankruptcy referee, the bankruptcy rules are amended to refer to referees in bankruptcy as bankruptcy judges for the first time. By statute, there is no such thing as a bankruptcy judge.
  • 1973   The National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy changes its name to the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.
  • 1978  The Bankruptcy Act of 1978 eliminates the position of bankruptcy referee and establishes the position of bankruptcy judge. Bankruptcy judges are appointed by United States Circuit Courts of Appeal for 14-year renewable terms.
  • 2018  There are a total of 350 bankruptcy judgeships in the United States, of which 321 are filled and 29 are vacant. In addition, 29 retired bankruptcy judges are on recall status.

THE NCBJ SOCKS PROJECT: The NCBJ Public Outreach Committee Needs SOCKS!

One of the NCBJ Public Outreach Committee’s most important projects in 2019 will be completed at the NCBJ Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  The Committee will be helping Washington, D.C. homeless shelters by providing personal item kits to the shelters.  The kits will be assembled during the Conference and delivered to the shelters by the Committee.  Our goal is assemble 300 kits and to have NCBJ members and Conference attendees participate in assembling the kits.  One thing we have learned over the last few months is that SOCKS are always needed at shelters.  We will be collecting all the SOCKS you can bring to the “Welcome to DC Reception” on October 30th at 5:30 p.m.  Bring your SOCKS when you check in to receive your badge for entry into the Reception.  New and gently used adult, children, and baby socks would be greatly appreciated.  PLEASE REMEMBER TO THROW A PAIR OR TWO OF SOCKS (OR TEN) INTO YOUR SUITCASE BEFORE HEADING TO WASHINGTON.  THANK YOU!!

Post submitted by:

The Honorable Julie A Manning
United States Bankruptcy Judge
District of Connecticut

ABLJ Symposium – A Battle of Preeminent Bankruptcy Scholars

The second concurrent session at the Annual Conference will feature an academic debate (with real world implications) that is certain to be informative and lively. Situated as a mock Senate judiciary committee hearing, Laura Coordes, Diane Dick, Bruce Markell, and Jay Westbrook each will serve as witnesses and offer their own perspectives on the equitable powers of the bankruptcy court and what, if anything, needs to change. Their positions will be vetted and challenged by our mock Senators, Kenneth Klee, Melissa Jacoby, and Richard Levin. The dialogue will range from the genesis of the bankruptcy court’s equitable powers to how courts, including the Supreme Court, have interpreted those powers, to what the future will (or should) hold for the role of equity in bankruptcy cases.

To learn more about the equitable powers of the bankruptcy court, be sure to attend this year’s American Bankruptcy Law Journal 2019 Symposium at the NCBJ Conference. The program is on Thursday, October 31, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.

This scholastic event is made possible by the generous donations of The American College of Bankruptcy and the American Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section.

Post submitted by

The Honorable Elizabeth E. Brown
Editor in Chief, American Bankruptcy Law Journal
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, District of Colorado

Blog Editor’s Note:  I cannot imagine a more impressive group to present this program. This program alone should be worth the cost of admission to the Conference


The correlation between Chapter 11 Filings and Economic Recessions in the United States

There have been economic recessions in the United States since 1980 during these periods:

  • July 1981-Nov 1982
  • July 1990-Mar 1991
  • Mar 2001-Nov 2001
  • Dec 2007-June 2009

To determine whether there is a correlation between those four economic recessions and the number of Chapter 11 cases filed nationwide, I took into account two possible causes for dramatic changes in Chapter 11 filing rates other than the recessions. I did not take into account other causes, if any.

Significant events that affected Chapter 11 filing rates since 1980, other than economic recessions, at least included the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (effective October 1, 1979) and enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) on April 14, 20065 (effective October 17, 2005).

Chapter 11 filings following enactment of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 exceeded 20,000 in each year from 1983 to 1987 and again from 1990 to 1992. Chapter 11 filings peaked at almost 25,000 in 1987 and were never that high again.

July 1981-Nov 1982 recession. Although Chapter 11 filings increased dramatically following the July 1981-Nov 1982 recession, without knowing a lot more than I know, I cannot tell whether there was a correlation between the increased filings and that recession. Following enactment of the Bankruptcy Act of 1978, Chapter 11 filings increased each year between 1980 and 1987.

July 1990-Mar 1991 Recession. There is a strong correlation between the number of chapter 11 filings and the recession of July 1990-Mar 1991. Chapter 11 filings spiked in 1990, spiked again in 1991, and started to decrease in 1992 but were still quite high. Chapter 11 filings decreased in each of the next several years.

Mar 2001-Nov 2001 Recession. I see a correlation, but of a much lesser magnitude, between the number of chapter 11 filings and the short lived recession of Mar 2001-Nov 2001. Chapter 11 filings increased by about 15% from 2001 to 2002, started to decease in 2003, and decreased again in 2004.

Dec 2007-June 2009 Recession. There is a dramatic correlation between the number of chapter 11 filings and the great recession of Dec 2007-June 2009. Chapter 11 filings increased about 60% from 2007 to 2008, increased another approx. 50% from 2008 to 2009, then started gradually decreasing in each of the next few years.

The chart immediately below summarizes the causes of each of the four economic recessions and the number of chapter 11 cases filed just before, during and just after each recession.

Period of Recession Cause of Recession Correlation of Recession with Chapter 11 Filings
July 1981-Nov 1982 The Iranian Revolution resulted in a sharp increase in the price of oil causing an energy crisis starting in 1979.


Chapter 11 filings were also affected by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978.

Chapter 11 filings increased from about 5,400 in 1980; to about 10,000 in 1981; to about 19,000 in 1982; to more than 20,000 in each of 1984 and 1985.

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 went into effect on October 1, 1979. The increased filings undoubtedly were dramatically affected by the new bankruptcy law.

July 1990-Mar 1991 After a lengthy economic expansion, inflation began to increase. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates from 1986 to 1989 to combat inflation. In a weakened economy, oil prices rose sharply in 1990 as a result of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Chapter 11 filings increased from about 18,000 in 1989; to about 19,000 in 1990; to about 21,000 in 1991; to about 24,000 in 1992.


Chapter 11 filings decreased to about 23,000 in 1993; to about 19,000 in 1994;to about 15,000 in 1995.

Mar 2001-Nov 2001 Following a long period of growth, the bubble burst and the September 11, 2001 attack occurred. Chapter 11 filings increased from about 9,900 in 2000 to 11,424 in 2001.

Chapter 11 filings dropped slightly in 2002 to 11,270.

Dec 2007-June 2009 This is sometimes known as the great recession. There was a subprime mortgage crisis combined with soaring oil prices. The stock market tumbled. Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Citi Bank and AIG failed. There was a crisis in the automobile industry. The federal government responded with an unprecedented 787 billion fiscal stimulus package and a $700 billion bank bailout. Chapter 11 filings had decreased from about 10,000 in 2004 to 6,800 in 2005 following the passage of BAPCPA.

Chapter 11 filings increased from about 6,350 in 2007 to about 10,000 in 2008; to about 15,000 in 2009.

Since that time, Chapter 11 filings have decreased. For the past five years (2014 to 2018), chapter 11 filings have ranged between 7,095 (in 2018) and 7,442 (in 2017).


The chart set forth below shows the number of Chapter 11 filings nationwide by category from 2001 to 2018. The number of total chapter 11 filings nationwide, and the number of business chapter 11 filings and non-business chapter 11 filings, was compiled from data maintained by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and reported on

The data for individual debtor chapter 11 filings in 2002 to 2008 was taken from data compiled by the office of the United States Trustee. The data for individual debtor chapter 11 filings in 2010 and 2013 was taken from data compiled for the 2017 National Study of Individual Chapter 11 Bankruptcies published by ABI. Given the disparity in the data, I am not sure the UST data as reported in the chart is correct.

Year Chapter 11 Filings Nationwide Business Ch 11


Non-Bus. Ch 11 Nationwide Individual

Chapter 11

2001 11,424 10,641   783
2002 11,270 10,286   984 1,083 (9.61%)
2003   9,404   8,474   930 1,086 (11.55%)
2004 10,132   9,186   946 1,162 (11.27%)
2005   6,800   5,923   877 1,153 (16.96%)
2006   6,153   4,643   520     883 (14.35%)
2007   6,353   5,736   617 1,257 (19.77%)
2008 10,160   9,272   888 1,724 (16.26%)
2009 15,189 13,683 1,506
2010 13,713 11,774 1,939 4,049 (29.53%)
2011 11,529   9,772 1,757
2012 10,361   8,900 1,461
2013   8,980   7,660 1,320 2,617 (29.14%)
2014   7,234   6,093 1,141
2015   7,241   6,130 1,111
2016   7,292   6,174 1,118
2017   7,442   6,350 1,092
2018   7,095   6,078 1,017

This graph (click on it) is a representation of the number of chapter 11 case filed nationwide from 1980 to 2008.


The Amazing Local’s Guide to Washington D.C. – Extracurricular Activities

Check out the Local’s Guide to Washington D.C. prepared by the Hon. S. Martin Teel, Jr., U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia.

You can find Judge Teel’s Local Guide by clicking this link:  DCLocalGuide Web Version  You can also find the Local Guide here in a different format:   Things to Do in D.C 2019 with Maps

The Local Guide is quite amazing. It includes Judge Teel’s recommendations, and has numerous links to websites that give more information about the venues and sites featured in the Guide.

Locations of Recommended Venues and How to Get There

The Local Guide includes extensive information about the locations of the recommended venues and how to get there. That portion of the Guide includes a lot of useful links to maps.

The Local Guide’s Recommended Venues

These are only some of the recommendations the Local Guide covers, complete with website links to learn more about each venue:

  • Bureau of Engraving
  • Civil War related sites
  • Libraries (incl. Library of Congress and Folger Shakespeare Library)
  • Gardens
  • Memorials and Monuments (there are many choices)
  • Museums and galleries (including many that are not as well-known as the numerous Smithsonian venues)
  • National Archives
  • National Cathedral
  • Nation’s Capitol
  • National Geographic
  • National Zoo
  • Neighborhoods
  • Pentagon tours
  • Restaurants
  • Theaters
  • Supreme Court tours
  • White House tours

For bicycle enthusiasts, the Guide also includes a suggested bicycle route.

There is an almost endless number of things to do in Washington DC. The hard part is narrowing it down to fit your schedule.

Welcome to the 2019 NCBJ Annual Conference Blog – and Index to Blog Posts

Welcome to the 2019 NCBJ Washington D.C’s Annual Conference Blog. A good place to start is the message from the NCBJ President John E. Waites (Bankr. D.S.C.) welcoming you to the Blog and to join us at the Conference (you can find the message HERE). Judge Waites and his team have been working hard to put on a conference that will be both educational and entertaining.

The Conference is a great place to learn, network, and have fun. It uniquely provides a forum for a wide variety of bankruptcy and insolvency organizations. Bankruptcy Judge Michelle Harner, D. Md. is this year’s NCBJ education chair.

You will find on the Blog many interesting articles about educational and other programs offered at the Conference, including an ABLJ symposium presented in the form of a mock Senate judiciary committee meeting with mock senators presiding (HERE); a broken bench program highlighting the Bankruptcy Code’s 40-year history presented by a star studded cast of bankruptcy judges, leading lawyers, and prominent academics (HERE); the eight workshops presented by the ABI (HERE); the Blackshear Fellowship Program that promotes diversity in the bankruptcy practice (HERE), and even morning Yoga (HERE) and Zumba© (HERE) classes. Additional posts will be made from time to time about other programs, including the Fireside Chat with Chief Justice Gorsuch.

Because there are so many interesting things to do in Washington D.C., the Blog will contain a number of posts about the host City. Don’t miss Bankruptcy Judge Martin Teel’s (D.D.C.) local guide to Washington D.C. (HERE). Many of the articles about Washington D.C.’s venues honoring individuals or events not only contain information about the venue  but also discuss the life and accomplishments of the person who is honored or the history of the commemorated event.

I hope you find these and other articles interesting and informative. Keep checking back to the Blog to read more posts.


Click on a link to open the Blog post.

NCBJ President’s Message

NCBJ President John E. Waites Welcomes You to the NCBJ Annual Conference Blog – Get Ready for the Nation’s Capital

Conference Programs

ABLJ Symposium – A Battle of Preeminent Bankruptcy Scholars

Avoiding Potential Ethical Traps in Unbundling, Factoring, and Other Fee Arrangements in Consumer Cases

The Blackshear Fellowship Program: Promoting Diversity in Bankruptcy Practice

Blockchain Is Coming: Blockchain & Basics and How It Might Arrive at a Bankruptcy Near You

Broken Bench Birthday Bash: Celebrating 40 Years of the Bankruptcy Code

Ditch the Workout, Join the Party! Zumba© is Coming to the Conference

Facts About the 2019 NCBJ Annual Conference

Find ABI @ NCBJ: Eight Exciting Educational Workshops and More

Fireside Chat with Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch

Join us for Yoga at the Conference

Highlights of the 2019 NCBJ Annual Conference

NCBJ SOCKS PROJECT: The NCBJ Public Outreach Committee needs SOCKS!

PSZJ Afterparty

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones’ Annual NCBJ Party

The Amazing Guide to Things to Do in Washington DC

The Amazing Guide to Things to Do in Washington DC

Bankruptcy Related Topics

The Bankruptcy Code Turns Forty – Happy Birthday!

Bankruptcy questions that need not keep you awake at night any longer

A Confluence of ABA, ABI, ABLJ, ACB, AIC, AIRA, CLLA, IWIRC, NAWJ, and NCBJ. Who are they?

The correlation between Chapter 11 Filings and Economic Recessions in the United States

Forty Years Ago the Bankruptcy Code Abolished the “Economy of the Estate”

How many can you name: ABA, ABI, ABLJ, ACB, AIC, AIRA, CLLA, FJA, FMJA, IWIRC, NAWJ, NCBJ?

A Relatively Short History of the Bankruptcy Laws in the United States

When was a Bankruptcy Judge a Judge Some of the Time? So, what’s in a name?

Memorials and Monuments In Washington DC

Albert Einstein Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

George Mason Memorial

Japanese Lantern

Japanese Pagoda

Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

John Paul Jones Memorial

Walk the Tidal Basin Trail Loop to Visit Memorials and the Japanese Lantern and Pagoda

Washington Monument

Where is the James Madison Memorial?

More Things to Do in Washington D.C.

About the Smithsonian Institution and Its Venues

Washington DC Attractions – 1930s Articles Published in the Journal of the National Association of Bankruptcy Referees

Check Out the Washington D.C. Tourism Website

The Washingtonian: on Restaurants, Shopping, and Things to Do

Miscellaneous Topics

Freedom Rings in 1763, 1863 and 1963