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Recognition of Pro Bono Volunteers 2020

seal of the chief judge

Maureen A. Tighe 
Chief Bankruptcy Judge

United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California
21041 Burbank Boulevard, Suite 324
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Ph:   (818) 587-2806
Fax: (818) 587-2949

RECOGNITION OF PRO BONO VOLUNTEERS
IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT, CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

In honor of National Pro Bono Celebration week, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the attorneys serving self-represented filers.    The Central District of California has the largest population of self-represented parties of any bankruptcy court in the nation.  Attorneys that volunteer are helping those facing substantial economic hardship (and often language barriers) to navigate through the bankruptcy process.  These attorneys serve an area of extreme need, providing vital services, advice, and in some cases legal representation for qualifying individuals.  The service provided by these attorney volunteers greatly benefits the Court and all of its litigants, regardless of income level.

The volunteer efforts recognized include pro bono service in one or more of the following areas: self-help desks, Reaffirmation Agreement clinics, chapter 7 clinics, consumer debt clinics, bankruptcy seminars concerning filing requirements and the different chapters of bankruptcy, and legal representation for qualifying cases.  A brief description of the varied programs forming this network of assistance for self-represented parties within the Central District of California follows the honor roll listing.

The Court thanks each of the following Honor Roll of Pro Bono Volunteers for their current and continued support in serving the self-represented parties in our district.1

  Maureen A. Tighe,  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 HonorRoll@cacb.uscourts.gov. 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 2020 Recognition of Pro Bono Volunteers

 


United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California

2020 Honor Roll of Pro Bono Volunteers

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

Alisa Admiral
Keith Banner
Jim Beirne
Nan Blitman
Edwin Burgos
Christopher D. Cantore
Corey Carter
Suh Choi
Atyria S. Clark
Christie Cronenweth
Daniel Denny
Dana Douglas
Douglas M. Flahaut
Kathy Ford
Ruben Fuentes
David Golubchik
William Ha

David S. Hagen
Jeff Hagen
Stella Havkin
M. Jonathan Hayes
Carmel Hehr
David Hernandez
Ilyse Klavir
Hugh Linstrom
Peter Lively
Manolo Maddela
Eva Malhotra
Roksana Moradi-Brovia
Adam Morris
Jason Murai
Sandra Nutt
Philomena Nzegge
Leonard Pena

Robert Reganyan
Selena Rojhani
Lauren Ross
Allan Sarver
Leonard Schwigen
Zev Shechtman
David Shevitz
Alison Stevens
Alla Tenina
Tamar Terzian
Thomas Ure
Amelia Valenzuela
Jeff Wishman
Anne Wright
Sloan Youkstetter

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Self Help Desk & Bankruptcy Workshop Volunteers

Aarona Alexander
Denise Ballesteros
James Behrens
James Beirne
Nan Blitman
Ed Burgos
Suh Choi
Omatshola Dafeta
John Davis
Sheila Esmaili
Doug Flahaut
Ara Galstyan
Will Ha
David Hagen
Teddy Kapur
Bert Kawahara
Barry Lapes
Bisou Le
Daniel Marcus
Evgenia Mukhina
Sana Onayeva
Lucie Pichler
Robert Reganyan
Michelle Ross
Emma Samyan

Randy Scott
Clifton Sheng
Chris Shin
Kayoko Shishido
Peter Sindhuphak
Ahree Song
Mohammed Tehrani
Luis Torres
Cameron Totten
Aaron Woolsey
Sloan Youkstetter

Law Students

Hali Archer
Eduardo Casas
Noah Cowart
Zachary Dooley
Gabriel Durkin-White
Diana Karapetyan
Alexandra Maher
Edgar Morales
Sharthak Mukopadhyay
Jacob Nielsen
Richard Powers
Fernanda Sanchez Jara
Ramona Sandoval

Other Volunteers

Ana Cuellar
Paul Polizzi
Mark Rivera
Gary Robinson
Leora Swedlow

Paralegals

Samantha Burns
Jesse Han
Barry Lipsky
Syrita Morgan
Timothy Nolan
Mark Rivera
Victor Saldana

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

Manfred Schroer
Jennifer F. Tanios
Daniel S. Roberts

Alex Knaub
Raychele Sterling

Law Students

Sarah Shahatto
Erica Zhao

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
Sanford Frey

Sevan Gorginian
David S. Hagen
Jeff Hagen
M. Jonathan Hayes
Yi Sun Kim
Ilyse Klavir
Jonathan Leventhal
E. Richard McGuire

Roksana D. Moradi-Brovia
Alan Nahmias
Michael Rice
Jeremy H. Rothstein
Patricia Said
Charles Shamish
Sloan Youkstetter

Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County Consumer Debt Clinic Volunteers

Will Beall
Patricia Fox
Chris Gautschi
Reed Olmstead
Susan Salehi

Randall Sutter
Felicita Torres
Karen Ware
William Winfield
Christian Younger

Paralegal

Jean Linn

Orange County Bar and Public Law Center Volunteers

Anerio Altman
Brad Calvin
Steve Cardoza
Andrew Cho
Dennis Connelly
Michael David
Ian Deady
Doug Ecks
Michael Franco
Will Ha
Benjamin Heston
Halli Heston
Richard Heston
Marshall Hogan
Michael Jones

Yves Joseph
Archana Joshi
Mark Karpe
Leah Kaufman
Leslie Keith Kaufman
Bridget Kelly
Christine Kingston
Mark Klein
Christopher Langley
Brent Liljestrom
Jacqueline Luther
Kerri Lyman
Aaron Malo
Lindsy Martin

Michael McKimon
Carol Merrifield
Phil Metzinger
Pamela Milan
Harlene Miller
Bruce Moore
Misty Perry-Isaacson
Sidney Sadeghi
Kevin Samson
Randolph Scott
S. Alfonso Smith
Ryan Thomason
Lydia Tse
Jonathan Wasylenko

 

 

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. 

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