Other Programs

Fifth Circuit Bankruptcy Bench-Bar Conference


New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Past Event

MCLE Credit will be available

Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
621 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

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Registrar: +1.972.244.3404
Fax: +1.972.244.3401
E-Mail: cail@cailaw.org


Join program co-chairs Hon. Meredith S. Grabill, Hon. Stacey G.C. Jernigan, and Hon. Katharine M. Samson and a stellar faculty of judges and practitioners for the Fifth Circuit Bankruptcy Bench-Bar Conference in New Orleans in March of 2024!

Conference Co-Chairs

The Hon. Meredith S. Grabill
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Eastern District of Louisiana
The Hon. Stacey G.C. Jernigan
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Northern District of Texas
The Hon. Katharine M. Samson
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Southern District of Mississippi

Thank you to our Planning Committee:

  • Jenny Abshier (Big Easy Law Group, LLC)
  • Jason Binford (Ross, Smith & Binford, PC)
  • Hilary Bonial (Bonial & Associates, P.C.)
  • Michael Cooley (Reed Smith LLP)
  • T.L. Cubbage (President, The Center for American and International Law)
  • Douglas Draper (Heller, Draper & Horn, L.L.C.)
  • The Hon. Craig Gargotta (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Western District of Texas)
  • Craig Geno (Law Offices of Craig M. Geno, PLLC)
  • The Hon. Meredith Grabill (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Eastern District of Louisiana)
  • Vanessa Deleon Guerrero (Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee)
  • The Hon. John Hodge (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Western District of Louisiana)
  • Katherine T. Hopkins (Kelly Hart & Hallman, LLP)
  • Judge Stacey G.C. Jernigan (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas)
  • Kristina M. Johnson (Jones Walker LLP)
  • Benjamin Kadden (Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard)
  • Aaron Kaufman (Gray Reed LLP)
  • The Hon. John Kolwe (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Western District of Louisiana)
  • Omer F. "Rick" Kuebel III (Locke Lord LLP)
  • Demetra Liggins (McGuireWoods LLP)
  • Judge Selene Maddox (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Northern District of Mississippi)
  • Layla Milligan (Texas Attorney General's Office)
  • Mark Mintz (Jones Walker LLP)
  • Rakhee Patel (Sidley Austin LLP)
  • Steve Pezanosky (Haynes and Boone, LLP)
  • Louis M. Phillips (Kelly Hart Pitre)
  • The Hon. Brenda T. Rhoades (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Eastern District of Texas)
  • William Robbins (Stewart Robbins & Brown, LLC)
  • The Hon. Eddie Rodriguez (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Southern District of Texas)
  • Robin Russell (Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP)
  • The Hon. Katharine Samson (U.S. Bankrupcty Court, Southern District of Mississippi)
  • Bill Wallander (Vinson & Elkins LLP)
  • The Hon. Jamie Wilson (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Mississippi)
  • James P. Wilson, Jr. (Mitchell, McNutt & Sams)
  • Sarah Beth Wilson (Phelps Dunbar LLP)
  • The Hon. Jason Woodard (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Mississippi)

Schedule and Faculty

Wednesday, March 6

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. - Reception, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana

Thursday, March 7

8:00 a.m. - Registration/Check-in

8:15 a.m. - State by State Breakfasts, with a moderated discussion as part of each breakfast (30 minutes)


ModeratorThe Hon. Stephen Wheelis, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDLA, Alexandria, LA


  • Christy Bergeron, Office of the United States Trustee, Region 5, New Orleans, LA
  • Brooke Altazan, Stewart Robbins Brown & Altazan, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA

ModeratorChief Judge Katharine Samson, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDMS, Gulfport, MS


  • The Hon. Jamie Wilson, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDMS, Jackson, MS
  • Kristina M. Johnson, Jones Walker LLP, Jackson, MS

Co-Moderators: Chief Judge Stacey G.C. Jernigan, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDTX, Dallas, TX; and Kelli S. Norfleet, Haynes and Boone, LLP, Houston, TX


  • The Hon. Michelle V. Larson, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDTX, Dallas, TX
  • Chief Judge Brenda T. Rhoades, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, EDTX, Plano, TX

9:30 a.m. - Welcome from Conference Co-Chairs and Conference Director

  • Vickie Adams, Vice President, The Center for American and International Law, Plano, TX

9:45 a.m. - Plenary Session: New Judges Panel (60 minutes)

ModeratorChief Judge Eduardo V. Rodriguez, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDTX, McAllen, TX


  • The Hon. Christopher G. Bradley, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDTX, Austin, TX
  • The Hon. Michael Crawford, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, MDLA, Baton Rouge, LA
  • The Hon. Scott Everett, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDTX, Dallas, TX
  • The Hon. Shad Robinson, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDTX, Austin, TX

10:45 a.m. - Break

11:00 a.m. - First Breakout Sessions (60 minutes)


11:00 a.m. – Can Chapter 11 Do Anything for Real Estate & Retail & Oil/Gas Debtors?

ModeratorRakhee V. Patel, Sidley Austin LLP, Dallas, TX


  • Bassam Latif, Managing Director, Moelis & Company, Houston, TX
  • The Hon. Chris Lopez, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDTX, Houston, TX
  • Alfredo Perez, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Houston, TX
  • Louis M. Phillips, Kelly Hart Pitre, Baton Rogue, LA


11:00 a.m. – New DOE Guidelines on Treatment of Student Loans in Chapter 13

  • Joseph D. Hebert, III, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, New Orleans, LA
  • Chief Judge Jason Woodard, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDMS, Aberdeen, MS
  • Samuel D. Wright, AUSA, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

12:00 p.m. - Hosted Lunch

Presentation of the Michelle Mendez Award

Luncheon Presentation: Lawyer as Provocateur? (30 minutes)

  • Jason Binford, Ross Smith & Binford, PC, Austin, TX
  • Katherine T. Hopkins, Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP, Fort Worth, TX

1:30 p.m. - Break

1:45 p.m. - Second Breakout Sessions (75 minutes)


1:45 p.m. – Lender-on-Lender Violence: Prepetition Uptier & Drop-down Transactions & State Court Litigation and Their Treatment in Chapter 11

Moderator: Gary L. Kaplan, Jones Day, Miami, FL


  • Jason Zachary Goldstein, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, New York, NY
  • Brian Hermann, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, NY
  • Robert K. Rasmussen, Professor, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA


1:45 p.m. – Compensation in Chapter 13: Be a Doll and Pay My Bill

Panelists will discuss current hot topics in chapter 13, including the question of compensation for a chapter 13 trustee when the case is dismissed before confirmation, and whether a chapter 13 plan should be modified to account for appreciation in a debtor's home when the debtor wishes to sell.

  • Brook E. Gotberg, Professor, Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, UT
  • Tim Kirkpatrick, Kirkpatrick & Associates, LLC, Metairie, LA
  • Deborah B. Langehennig, Chapter 13 Trustee for the Western District of Texas, Austin, TX
  • The Hon. E. Lee Morris, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDTX, Fort Worth, TX

3:00 p.m. - Break

3:15 p.m. - Plenary Session: Environmental Considerations in Lending Decisions (60 minutes)

ModeratorRobin Russell, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Houston, TX


  • Roy S. Belden, Managing Director & Senior Environmental Counsel, GE Vernova Financial Services, Norwalk, CT
  • Shannon S. Broome, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Washington, D.C.
  • Guy Gribov, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Houston, TX
  • The Hon. Marvin Isgur, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDTX, Houston, TX

4:15 p.m. Break

4:30 p.m. - Plenary Session: Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on the Future Practice of Bankruptcy Law (Ethics) (60 minutes)

As with professionals in other industries, attorneys and judges are investigating recent developments in AI. Some are concerned, others optimistic, about how those developments will affect the ways that attorneys practice law and advocate for clients and how those innovations could affect business models for law firms and courts. This panel will explore the most recent technological advances in AI and how they have will change the practice of law, with a special focus on bankruptcy. We will discuss the ways that AI technology can improve representation as well as the pitfalls that it may create. We will discuss ethical implications including authorship, technological competence, responsibility for mistakes, and recent high-profile cases where lawyers misused AI technology.

Moderator: Tony Casey, Professor, University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL


  • Damon Hart, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Liberty Mutual, Boston, TX
  • The Hon. John W. Kolwe, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDLA, Lafayette, LA
  • Mark A. Mintz, Jones Walker LLP, New Orleans, LA
  • Veronica Polnick, Jackson Walker LLP, Houston, TX

5:30 pm - Adjourn 1st Day

6:15 - 8:15 pm Optional Event at The Pelican Club ($115 per person)

Friday, March 8

8:30 a.m. - Networking Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - Plenary Session: Mass Torts in the Bankruptcy Process (60 minutes)

ModeratorChad J. Husnick, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago, IL


  • Ralph Brubaker, James H.M. Sprayregen Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, IL
  • Marshall S. Huebner, Davis Polk, New York, NY

10:00 a.m. - Break

10:05 a.m. - Third Breakout Sessions (75 minutes)


10:05 a.m. – Third Party Litigation-Financing, Allocation of Risk, and the Effect on Mediation

ModeratorMichael D. Warner, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, Houston, TX


  • The Hon. Christopher S. Sontchi, Former Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, Sontchi, LLC, Hockessin, DE
  • Kara Bruce, Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, OK
  • Emily O. Slater, Managing Director, Burford Capital LLC, New York, NY 


10:05 a.m. – To Liquidate or Not To Liquidate: What’s Best for the Client?

  • Chief Judge Craig A. Gargotta, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDTX, San Antonio, TX
  • Bill G. Cherbonnier, William G. Cherbonnier Attorney at Law, Gretna, LA
  • Fernand Laudumiey, Chaffe McCall, L.L.P., New Orleans, LA
  • Cristina Rodriguez, Houston, TX

11:20 a.m. - Break

11:30 a.m. - Plenary Session: Article I Sanctions & Contempt Powers (Ethics) (60 minutes)

A review of the sanctioning and contempt powers of the Bankruptcy Courts, the process for issuing sanctions, and the limits thereof.

  • Hilary Bonial, Bonial & Associates, P.C., Dallas, TX
  • The Hon. Marvin Isgur, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDTX, Houston, TX
  • The Hon. Selene Maddox, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDMS, Aberdeen, MS
  • The Hon. Mark X. Mullin, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, NDTX, Fort Worth, TX
  • The Hon. Jeffrey P. Norman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, SDTX, Houston, TX

12:30 p.m. - Concluding Remarks & Adjournment

2024 Michelle Mendez Serviam Award Honorees


Judge Douglas D. Dodd served as the United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana from May 2002 until his retirement in October 2022. He is a 1977 graduate of Tulane University and received his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1982. Judge Dodd practiced law with the New Orleans firm of Stone, Pigman, Walther, Wittmann and Hutchinson from 1982 until his appointment to the bench in 2002. He has taught at Tulane Law School, Louisiana State University Law Center and the Southern University Law Center.


Stephen Smith, CPA, is a shareholder and director with Harper, Rains, Knight, & Company, CPA’s in the tax and business accounting services departments. Stephen owned and operated his own CPA firm in Jackson, Mississippi prior to combining his practice with Harper, Rains, Knight & Company in September 2019, with offices in Ridgeland, Mississippi and Washington, D.C. Having been a CPA for thirty-five years, Stephen has many years of experience in the areas of small business accounting and both business and personal income tax services. Stephen also has more than twenty-five years of experience in bankruptcy and insolvency accounting and tax matters, and currently assists the chapter 7 trustees located in Mississippi, as well as being active in chapter 11 cases in the capacity of CPA for debtors-in-possession and also as CPA for chapter 11 trustees. Stephen has served in a voluntary capacity as the Executive Director and Board Member of the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference for more than ten years. Since April 1, 1999, Stephen has served on the chapter 7 panel of bankruptcy trustees for the Southern District of Mississippi and also on occasion for the Northern District of Mississippi.


Bill Wallander is a Partner of the Restructuring & Reorganization Practice Group of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and is active on several firm committees and practice initiatives.

Bill has over 35 years of restructuring and reorganization experience across a broad spectrum of clients and industry lines. Bill represents, agents and lending groups, debtors, and other interested parties. Bill received his B.A from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981, he then moved to Texas to attend law school, earning his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1984, and an MBA in 2001 while he practiced law full time.

Bill is a member of the American College of Bankruptcy (Foundation Board Member), John C. Ford American Inn of Court (Executive Committee Member, Serjeant of the Inn), the State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Section (Former Chair), and the Dallas Bar Association Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section.

Overnight Accommodations

Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
621 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

  • Please book by 02/14/2024
  • All reservations must be guaranteed by a valid credit card at the time of booking
  • Any guaranteed reservations not cancelled 72 hours prior to the arrival date will be subject to a one night room and tax cancellation fee
  • Extended Stay Availability: Mar 2, 2024 - Mar 13, 2024

Book Your Hotel

CLE Credit

This program is approved by the State Bar of Texas for a total of 9.5 hours, including 2.0 hour of ethics. Course ID Number: 174222206. Credit hours for other states will vary and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules.

For this conference, CAIL will directly apply (if requested) for course accreditation in the following states: California, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. Some of these states may not approve a program for credit hours before the program occurs. Attorneys may be eligible to receive CLE credit through reciprocity or attorney self-submission in other states. Attorneys filing by self-submission in certain states may be required to pay an additional fee. CAIL conferences are typically accredited by all mandatory CLE states.

Other Information

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