CDCBAA President’s Message for Fall 2021
The following was provided to the newsletter of the cdcbaa, the largest organization of Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys serving consumer debtors, by its two-term President, Hale Andrew Antico.
We’re approaching autumn. That means the start of school, football, pumpkin spice everything, and this: welcome to our final cdcbaa newsletter of 2021, and the last of my second term as President of cdcbaa. We thought we were turning the corner against the pandemic. But, the dreaded Delta variant has affected many people, causing a new wave of cautions. With it, we as a society, and yes, attorneys helping people, have become somewhat accustomed to a new normal. This means embracing doing business remotely while trying to balance with safely connecting in-person.
Membership Total Increases
With that, the cdcbaa is proud to announce that our membership total continues to increase to over 215 members, despite the fact that the year is almost three-quarters over. The cdcbaa hasn’t seen membership levels this high seen since the Great Recession almost ten years ago. Much credit for our growth goes to Membership Chair David Shevitz, the cdcbaa board members on his committee, and their stalwart outreach efforts.
2021 Central District of California bankruptcy filings statistics
We’re almost two years into a global pandemic. One would think that with rising membership in a bankruptcy organization, consumer filings would be spiking with an anticipated surge. Yet, filing numbers continue to surprise expectations. In 2021, filings for all chapters in the Central District are down about 13% from lockdown year 2020. And that year showed a total 27% lower than 2019. Thus far in 2021, only two months have broken 2,000 Chapter 7 filings. In contrast, during the 2020 pandemic, eight months last year surpassed that benchmark.
Changing Legal Landscape
The California eviction moratorium, which has protected so many renters, is set to expire on September 30, 2021. Mortgage forbearance programs are set to also end on that day. September 30th is also the expiration of student loan forbearance. If not extended, any one of these events may impact consumers and filings, and we must be ready to help those who need it with compassion and skilled expertise.
There’s some promising news which could help college graduates in the U.S. Senate. Two senators introduced a bipartisan bill which would make many student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy by amending 11 USC 523(a)(8). This potential student loan reform through bankruptcy is long overdue. The Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act is still in committee. However, it’s our hope that this bill will become law to help millions of struggling people discharge their school debt, so stay tuned.
Educational cdcbaa MCLE Programs
One way to keep informed in this fast-changing world is the cdcbaa’s very popular MCLE programs. This month, I’ll be moderating a panel of Chapter 13 trustees’ staff attorneys. We’ll be discussing their offices’ measures in response to the pandemic such as the CARES Act. We’ll also take a look at their standard procedures, and where there is variance and agreement among the divisions to better help Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys.
Under the leadership of M. Jonathan Hayes and Roksana Moradi-Brovia, the cdcbaa continues to put on timely, informative, and popular programs to inform its members about developments in the law in an everchanging landscape. In May this year, Judge Mark S Wallace and Judge Wayne Johnson led a discussion of lien-stripping and family law-bankruptcy crossover with CDCA.
In June, we had fantastic programs on the developing issue of 706(b) conversions, as well as state court litigation. July saw two panels: one presenting on postpetition sales and another on nonattorney professionals in bankruptcy. A judge in attendance remarked both hours formed the best program they ever attended! The cdcbaa is appreciative to all those who give their time to present and help keep our members informed with the latest and best information.
Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner And Honoring Chief Judge Maureen Tighe
Under the leadership of cdcbaa board member Keith Higginbotham (who also serves on the Bar Advisory Board), the cdcbaa is looking forward to gathering to host our annual Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner this November. We’ll be the awarding the honor of Judge of the Year to a deserving Chief Judge Maureen Tighe. This gala will be held in a ballroom atop the Universal Sheraton with a spectacular view overlooking the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills, so you won’t want to miss out this November.
The Tremendous Board of Directors
As always, I’m appreciative of the cdcbaa board of directors. Together, we accomplished so much these past two years. Marcus Tiggs led us on a migration of our popular listserv and added our recorded programs to our upgraded website. Under the stewardship of Treasurer Jeff Hagen, the cdcbaa is financially healthy and strong. Hard-working Daniela Romero edited this newsletter, and many others the past two years. And of course, my vice-president Lucy Mavyan has been key in helping out with numerous projects. She and Tamar Terzian have reached outside of our district to partner with consumer groups in other states.
And all this doesn’t even mention how tremendous the cdcbaa board of directors was in adapting to sudden change. Responding to pandemic measures and social distancing, we went from an educational organization that presented primarily in person, to one that pivoted to be transformed overnight to online-only, with eight webinars a year, each attended by hundreds of people. The feedback gathered by board member Gary Wallace shows that all this was done by providing outstanding customer service. And for that, I can only give enormous credit to the longtime heart and soul of our organization, celebrating her 10th year helping people, our skilled and talented administrator, Linda.
Closing Statement: A Strong Organization Poised for Growth and Success
It’s been an exciting two years, and the cdcbaa is in fantastic shape to face a future that’s as unpredictable as life since 2020 has been. It’s been my honor serve cdcbaa and its members while working shoulder-to-shoulder with our many stakeholders and partners as we weathered through a devastating global pandemic. I’m humbled by our members and board to have been provided this honor, and I look forward to continuing to support the cdcbaa in the years ahead.
Hale Andrew Antico is President of the cdcbaa and has practiced bankruptcy law in Palmdale and Santa Clarita for almost 20 years.