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Recognition of Pro Bono Volunteers 2017

seal of the chief judge

Sheri Bluebond 
Chief Bankruptcy Judge

United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California
Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse
255 East Temple Street, Suite 1534
Los Angeles, California 90012

Ph:   (213) 894-8980
Fax: (213) 894-1336


The Bankruptcy Judges of the Central District of California once again urge you to consider volunteering for one of the bankruptcy pro bono opportunities available in your area.  Over the past several years, notwithstanding the cyclical increases and decreases in our filing numbers, one thing has remained constant:  there are large numbers of low-income individuals in our court in need of representation.  Organizations currently assisting low-income people in our district see hundreds of families on the brink of foreclosure or in other economic distress each year. 

Volunteer opportunities available range from commitments that require only a few hours every other month at a clinic to full representation in a chapter 7 case or adversary proceeding.  With a self-help desk in every division, you can easily volunteer close to home for only the number of hours that fit into your schedule.  Consumer bankruptcy training may be available for you. While most requests are for debtor assistance, low-income creditor assistance is needed as well.  The programs are structured so that attorneys who generally represent creditors may volunteer without concern about conflicts of interest or being designated a debt relief agency.  The vast majority of the people who come to these programs cannot afford counsel, but attorney referrals are also made through these organizations where appropriate.

Even a brief consultation with an attorney can make a big difference to an unrepresented party.  Attorney assistance also greatly helps the court and other litigants.  You can find contact information for an organization in your area, along with the types of opportunities available on the Court’s website (, in the “Programs and Services” section, by clicking on “Pro Bono Opportunities.”  We encourage you to contact one of these agencies 1 to explore whether there might be a way for you to contribute your time and expertise to someone in need.  To those of you who already volunteer or provide badly needed pro bono help in other ways, we say thank you. Your efforts help the court be more responsive to all litigants, regardless of income level and are truly appreciated.

Sheri Bluebond,  Chief Bankruptcy Judge

1 The attached Honor Roll lists the names of the volunteers from the previous 12 months provided by each organization. The list will be updated quarterly to add any new volunteers emailed to The volunteer organizations are to review the list each September and email the Honor Roll address with any names that are to be removed for the annual update.

Previous Honor Rolls | Printable Version


United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California

2017 Honor Roll of Pro Bono Volunteers

Public Counsel's Debtors Assistance Project
Chapter 7, Adversary Proceeding  & Reaffirmation Hearing Volunteers


Alisa Admiral
James Beirne
Cliff Bordeaux
Ted Boxer
Edwin Burgos
Eileen Cahil
Christopher D. Cantore
Corey Carter
Atryia S. Clark
Joseph Collier
Christie Cronenweth
Omatshola Dafeta
Lesley Davis
Dana Douglas
Suzette Douglas
John Emeya
Vona Enaughe
Douglas M. Flahaut
Kathy Ford
Ruben Fuentes
Robert Gerlack
Casey Giles
Andrew Goodman
Michael I. Gottfried
Peter Gurfein
M. Jonathan Hayes


David Hagen
Stella Havkin
Marisa Hawkins
Keith Higginbotham
Doren Hohl
Steve Hoffman
William Johanneson
Marina Karvelas
Kathleen Katovich
Ilyse Klavir
Hugh Linstrom
Peter Lively
René López de Arenosa Jr.
Eva Malholtra
John Mellisinos
Juanita Miller
Susan I. Montgomery
Roksana D. Moradi
Adam Morris
Inda Muchamel
Jason Murai
Sandra Nutt
Philomena Nzegge
Leonard Pena
Monica Reider
R. Grace Rodriguez
Selena Rojhani


Lauren Ross
Denise Ruggiero
Richard Russell
Allan Sarver
Zev Schechtman
Darren Schlecter
Salvtore Sciortino
Parul Sehgal
David Shevitz
Peer Sindhuphak
Lyndsay Spiking
Allison Stevens
Tamir Terzian
Kathryn E. Turner
Thomas Ure
Steven Weinstein
Jeff Wishman
Steven Wolvek
Sloan Youkstetter
Roye Zur

Law Students

Brandon Crane
Kimiko Elguea
Skye Serijan


Los Angeles Bankruptcy Self Help Desk & Pro Se Clinic Volunteers


Keith Banner
James Behrens
James Beirne
Brian Brumfield
Jason Chuan
Chris Dalbey
Marseil Elias
Sheila Esmaili
Sha Guo    
LyHuong Ho
Leyla Hoffman

Law Students

Kelly Chan
James Darling
Duncan Dohmen
Nick Gladzhyan
Hunter Higgins
Jason Kanter
Syrita Morgan
Karina Puttieva
Celia Spalding


Teddy Kapur
Bert Kawahara
John Kim    
Andrew Kim
Yusuke Kishimoto
Lindsay McMenamin
Linda Muchamel
Michael Potere
Curtis Reed
Robert Reganyan
Selena Rojhani

Law Students

Daniel TeJumson
Jake Wiens
Joseph Zaleski


James Gaffney
Kathy Galeano
Tori Harris
John Parry


Eric Sagerman
Marian Saqebi
Tomoyuki Shikanai
Lawrence Siu
Matthew Tadros
Kevin Van Hout
Morgan Watts
Misty Wilks
Katherine Windler
Sloan Youkstetter


Louretta Randell
William Schumann

Undergraduate Students

Alexander Maletis
Cole Nicholas



Public Service Law Corporation (Riverside Legal Aid) Riverside & Coachella Valley Volunteers


Steven Blake
Suzette Douglas
Ruben Escalante
Benjamin Heston
Amelie A. Kamau


Fred McClellan
Donald McKay
Fred McClellan
Summer Shaw
Scott Talkov


Gabriela Figueroa
Margarita Perez


Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County Self-Help Desk Volunteers


Pardis Akhavan
J Geoffrey Beirne
Anil Bhartia
Nan Blitman
Ted Boxer


Mark Brenner
Michael Davis
M. Jonathan Hayes
Sevan Gorginian
Yi Sun Kim



Ilyse Klavir 
Jonathan Leventhal
E. Richard McGuire
Roksana D. Moradi
Patricia Said



Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County Consumer Debt Clinic Volunteers


Patricia Fox
Chris Gautschi
Daniel Higson
Juan Higuera
Kate Lee


Greg Mazza
Brett McMurdo
Reed Olmstead
John Rounds


Randall Sutter
Felicita Torres

Paralegal Volunteer

Jean Linn



Orange County Bar and Public Law Center Volunteers*


Christina Ahluwalia
Anerio Altman
John Au Yeng
Carys Arvidson
Amy Bingham
Brad Calvin
Steve Cardoza
Jason Chou
Anthony Dispoto
Shawna Esparza
David Goodrich
Allison Hahn
Tonya Hebert
Benjamin Heston
Richard Heston


Justin Irish
Michael Jones
Mark Karpe
Leah Kaufman
Leslie Keith Kaufman
Bridget Kelly
David Kim
Christine Kingston
Rachel Khalili
William Krall
Aaron Malo
Timothy McFarlin
Jack Meaney
Angela Mestre


Phil Metzinger
Patrick O’Kennedy
Misty Perry-Isaacson
Gary Polston
Celia Robles
Kevin Samson
Iman Sorat
 Catherine Sun
Namita Thakker
Lydia Tse
Michael Wallin

Law Student Volunteers

Rik Jeffrey
Honieh Udenka

* Last update to Orange County Bar and Public Law Center Volunteers was on October 20, 2016



Programs for Self-Represented Parties at the
Central District of California Bankruptcy Court

Los Angeles Division:
The Debtor Assistance Project (DAP) began as the Court’s first effort to make pro bono programs available to the public within its geographic area.  In the Los Angeles Division alone, the DAP places between 45-50 chapter 7 cases and adversary proceedings with pro bono counsel each year.  It has become the umbrella committee and resource for projects throughout the district for all self-represented parties.  The DAP is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section and the Public Counsel Law Center.  It works closely with a number of other legal clinics throughout the district to provide free legal services to qualifying debtors and self-help support to all parties in the bankruptcy court.  The DAP holds bi-monthly meetings at the Court, bringing together representatives from public interest law firms, volunteer attorneys, chapter 7 and 13 trustee representatives, bankruptcy judges, Clerk’s Office, and members of the office of the U.S. trustee.  The DAP raises funds and awareness for its programs, provides training for pro bono attorneys, and exchanges information on trends and issues related to providing pro bono and self-help assistance as well as best practices.

          Non-Dischargeability Representation
Public Counsel locates pro bono attorneys for self-represented debtors in non-dischargeability adversary proceedings.  A notice is sent by the court advising the debtor to contact Public Counsel if they need assistance.  Income screening is then done by Public Counsel before a volunteer attorney is assigned.  The attorneys then represent pro se debtors in non-dischargeability proceedings.

          Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
This program provides pro bono assistance at Reaffirmation Agreement hearings.  Reaffirmation Agreement hearings for participating judges at a particular division are bundled together, usually twice each month.  This enables pro bono attorneys, coordinated by Public Counsel, to offer debtors information about their rights in a consultation that takes place outside the courtroom before the hearing. 

           Self Help Desk
The Los Angeles Division launched an onsite self-help desk in 2009 that serves the public two days each week.  The self-help desk provides self-represented debtors and creditors with chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy information, forms, access to reference material, and provides referrals for additional legal assistance.  Income eligible individuals can also attend a chapter 7 self-help clinic.  The Los Angeles Division self-help desk is sponsored by Public Counsel, the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association (CDCBAA), and the Los Angeles County Bar Association - Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Subcommittee’s Debtor Assistance Project.

          Chapter 7 Representation
Income qualified debtors may receive pro bono representation from Public Counsel where volunteer attorneys can be found.  As the demand for representation is greater than the availability of volunteers, the self help programs are designed to assist those debtors with simple cases and the ability to represent themselves more effectively.  Public Counsel locates attorney volunteers through the CDCBAA, the Los Angeles and San Fernando County Bar Associations, and the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum.

Riverside Division:

The Public Service Law Corporation of the Riverside County Bar Association (Riverside Legal Aid) offers limited free legal services and bankruptcy seminars for pro se debtors located in the area served by the Riverside Division.  The Court made space available at the Riverside Division for the Public Service Law Corporation to provide pro bono and self-help services.   In a joint effort, the District Court and the Bankruptcy Court opened a self-help desk in December of 2011.  As a result of a grant from the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation, in January 2014 Public Service Law Corporation began a clinic in the Coachella Valley.  The clinic is open for four hours on every fourth Monday of each month at the Cathedral City Library.

          Non-Dischargeabilty Defense
The Inland Empire Bankruptcy Forum has provided non-dischargeability defense on a limited ad hoc basis when it can locate volunteer attorneys.

Santa Ana Division:

         Legal Clinic
The Santa Ana Division has a weekly onsite legal clinic operated by Public Law Center that provides free legal advice for self-represented parties in chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.  Public Law Center also provides pro bono representation in chapter 7 cases with attorneys from the local bar, when available.  The legal clinic is co-sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association – Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section, and the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum. Orange County Legal Aid also holds a weekly chapter 7 clinic and assists debtors in filing on their own if it is a no asset case.

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The Santa Ana Division has a Reaffirmation Agreement clinic similar to the one in Los Angeles.  The clinic is operated by the Public Law Center with volunteers from the local bar.

         Non-Dischargeabilty Defense
The Public Law Center has provided non-dischargeability defense on an ad hoc basis when it can locate volunteer attorneys.

Northern Division:

         Consumer Debt Clinic
Serving Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, the Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy Clinic was formed and began operation in 2009 in Northern Santa Barbara County before moving to the Northern Division in 2010.  The clinic is sponsored by the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County (LAFSBC) and is held once a week in the Northern Division Clerk’s office.  Volunteer attorneys are available during the clinic to answer questions about individual consumer debt issues.  A Bankruptcy Resource Center is also open during clinic hours to provide bankruptcy reference materials and forms.

The clinic began a Video Conference Counseling pilot program in November, 2016.  The program provides free legal services offered by volunteer attorneys in Santa Barbara to self-represented individuals in San Luis Obispo County via video conference.  After completing an online intake form, a volunteer in a Paso Robles Superior Court location establishes a video connection via Skype with an attorney volunteer in the Northern Division.  The video option alleviates the need for individuals to make the 2 to 3 hour drive to Santa Barbara to access the weekly Consumer Debt & Bankruptcy Clinics.

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The Santa Barbara County Bar Association arranges for volunteer attorneys to meet with self-represented debtors before each Reaffirmation Agreement hearing. 

San Fernando Valley Division:

         Self Help Desk
The San Fernando Valley Division opened the Court’s first onsite self-help desk in 2007.  The self-help desk is operated by Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association, and the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.  Self-represented debtors and creditors are assisted one day a week.  Pro bono attorneys from the two bar associations hold weekly seminars and provide free legal information on bankruptcy.  Topics commonly covered include bankruptcy filing requirements, the difference between chapter 7 and chapter 13, and where to find a bankruptcy attorney.  The self-help desk also provides computers for debtors to view “Bankruptcy Basics” videos in addition to other videos regarding key principles of bankruptcy. 

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The San Fernando Valley Division judges also participate in the Reaffirmation Agreement program operated by Public Counsel (see Los Angeles Division for more details). 

         Non-Dischargeability Representation
Public Counsel locates pro bono attorneys for self-represented debtors in non-dischargeability adversary proceedings in the same manner as that done in Los Angeles.

         Chapter 7 Representation
Income qualified debtors may receive pro bono representation from Public Counsel where volunteer attorneys can be found as part of the same program serving the Los Angeles Division.