ABC elects new directors

The American Board of Certification (ABC) Board of Directors met May 1, 2004 in New Orleans, LA and elected lour new directors including a highly regarded law professor and three prominent certified attorneys. Two of the new members are members of the Commercial Law League of America.

Prof. Margit Livingston is a member of the CLLA and leaches Consumer Law, Copyrights and Trademarks, Remedies, and Secured Transactions at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. She has coauthored a book on tidal and coastal law and published numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of legal topics, including ethical implications of attorney-client sexual relations, creation of security interests, and criminal and civil contempt. Her articles have appeared in the primary law reviews of such well-respected law schools as North Carolina, Iowa, Washington, Fordham, William and Mary, and Nebraska. She has won both the College of Law and University Teaching Awards. She received her B.A., Augsburg College, M.A. (Theatre Arts) University of Minnesota, and J.D. University of Minnesota, LL.M. University of Illinois.

Mac D. Finlayson practices at the firm of Morrel West Sapfa Craige & Hicks, Inc. in Tulsa, OK. He is certified in consumer and business bankruptcy law and creditors’ rights law by the American Board of Certification. He is one of only three attorneys to hold all three ABC certifications. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Drury College, and his J.D. from The University of Tulsa. He is a member of the Tulsa County Bankruptcy and Reorganization section, the Oklahoma Bankruptcy and Reorganization section, the American Bar Association Business Section, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Craig Geno is a member of the Jackson, Mississippi law firm of Harris & Geno PLLC. He received his Liberal Arts and Law Degrees from the University of Mississippi, serving on the Moot Court Board while in law school. He is certified in business bankruptcy law by ABC. Mr. Geno is a member of the American Bar Association, Mississippi State Bar Association (President of the Law Office Economics Section, 1993-1994), Federal Bar Association (Southern District Vice-President, 1989-1990, Mississippi Chapter), and the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference (President – 1999-2000). He is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Business Bankruptcy Sub-committee of the Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association and the Turnaround Management Association. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on various bankruptcy topics.

Dion Hayes is a partner in McGuire Woods’ Financial Services Department. Mr. Hayes is certified in business bankruptcy law by ABC. He has lectured on bankruptcy at the University of Richmond Law School and to various bar and business groups, and is Past President of the Virginia Business Finance and Turnaround Association.

Ohio Supreme Court Accredits American Board of Certification’s Creditors’ Rights Program

April 23, 2004, the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists granted accreditation of the American Board of Certification’s (ABC) creditors’ rights program. The ABC business bankruptcy and consumer bankruptcy programs were accredited in January 2003. The accreditation of the programs means that Ohio attorneys certified by ABC may cite their ABC certification in advertisements and other communications under Rule DR 2-105 of the Ohio Rules of Court – Code of Professional Responsibility. In order to be accredited by the Supreme Court of Ohio, certifying organizations must demonstrate, among other things, that its lawyers can attain extraordinary competence and efficiency in the delivery of legal services in the practice area through intensive training, education and work concentration.

CLLA International Conference draws over 150

The Commercial Law League of America sponsored its 5th International Conference in London, England on May 10-12, 2004. During the course of the 3-day conference, there were more than 150 participants from 12 different countries.

On Day One of the conference, CLLA held a seminar in cooperation with the Insolvency lawyers Association of the UK on the subject of “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Insolvency Proceedings.” Steven Frieze of London, England acted as organizer and moderator of this seminar. Robert Bernstein of Pittsburgh, Penn. spoke on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Insolvency Proceedings in the USA. Gabriel Moss QC and William Trower QC of London addressed the same topic for the UK and EU respectively. Additional written materials were provided by Selinda A. Melnik of Wilmington, Del. (USA) and E. Patrick Shea of Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Special thanks to Bob Bernstein, who agreed to step in as a speaker at the last minute when Selinda Melnik was unable to make the trip.

A welcoming reception and dinner were held on the evening of the first day for attendees and guests from CLLA and the Institute of Credit Management. Serving as master of ceremonies was Master Robert Turner, Senior Master of the Supreme Court, Queen’s Bench Division, and President of the Institute of Credit Management. Featured speaker was CLLA President Paul I. Mendelson of Memphis, Tenn.

On Day Two of the conference, an International Law Conference was held in conjunction with the Institute of Credit Management. Mark J. Sheriff of Columbus, Ohio spoke on behalf of CLLA on “Current Issues Relating to Commercial Credit, Creditors’ Rights and Collections in the US.” Speakers from the UK included Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Needham, Deputy Chairman, Dyson Ltd. and former Minister for Trade under the last Conservative Government; the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Dyson, Deputy Head of Civil Justice; and John Marston, Sheriffs’ Officer and Chairman of the Sheriffs’ Officers’ Association.

CLLA hosted an International Collections Seminar on Day Three. Speaking on the subject of “New Developments in Cross-Border Debt Collection-Obstacles, Options and Strategies” were Leon Fine of Tel Aviv, Israel; Colman Curran of Dublin, Ireland; Jan P. Hazes of Nieuwegein, Netherlands; Howard Weber of New York, New York; Alan Langleben of London, England; Ela Blasco of Madrid, Spain; Barry Cahir of Dublin, Ireland; and Steven Frieze of London, England. John Wayne Miller of Denver, Colo. served as organizer and moderator.

Arrangements Chair for the International Conference was Nancy Hamilton of American Lawyers Quarterly, Cleveland, Ohio.

Address by CLLA President at 5th International Conference – London – May 10, 2004

By Paul Mendelson

Good evening. You know I am from Memphis, and we have the only king in the United States – Elvis. But my southern accent is the only thing I have in common with Elvis. I certainly cannot carry a tune.

As President of the Commercial Law League I have been called upon to give a number of speeches in the last year or so. So after giving the first speech I asked a young member how did the speech go and he said, “cool.” So after the next speech, I asked him again, how was it and he said, “cool.” So recently I gave yet another speech and I asked him again, how was my speech and he said, “cool.” I said what do you mean by this “cool” stuff. He said, “well, not so hot.” So with those thoughts in mind, I will keep my comments tonight brief.

Master Turner, Your Honor, members of the Judiciary, solicitors and guests…It is my high privilege and a great honor to address you on behalf of the Commercial Law League of America. This beautiful affair tonight simply radiates with your warmth and hospitality. We appreciate your kindness very much. I know a great amount of thought and hard work is involved in organizing a meeting of this magnitude. We are indebted to your staff and volunteers so much. I am certain this convention will be excellent.

The Commercial Law League of America was founded in 1895. It is the oldest organization of attorneys and credit executives in the United States. The League, as it is known in the United States, has been nationally recognized for over 100 years as the pre-eminent source to represent credit grantors throughout America.

The objectives of the Commercial Law League of America are to elevate the standards and improve the practice of commercial law, to encourage an honorable course oi dealing among its members and in the profession at large, to promote uniformity of legislation in matters affecting commercial law, and to foster among its members a feeling of fraternity and mutual confidence.

The League’s members are attorneys from throughout the United Slates and thirty foreign countries, federal bankruptcy judges, law school professors, executives of commercial collection agencies, and law list publishers. It is the greatest mix of academia and practicality I know of in the law in the United States.

The League is headquartered in Chicago and operates through a series of four primary regions: the Eastern Region is out of New York, the Midwest Region in Chicago, the Southern Region and the Western Region. Each region promotes one large convention each year. In addition, there is a New England Regional meeting and a national meeting each summer. The networking and comradery among the members is unbelievable. I invite each of you to be a part of the League. Our annual Eastern District meeting will be held in New York this November just before Christmas with shopping abounding. New York is a magical place and when you join that together with the Commercial Law League meeting, it is truly a great experience.

Not only will there be numerous educational programs and committee meetings, but there will be many brunches, cocktail parties, and time set aside for networking to get to know each other, learn what our clients expect, what they need, to determine how we can better represent both our present clients and new clients, all to the advantage of our clients. Every person you will meet at this meeting will be there to form a bond of friendship, to obtain business, and to forward business back and forth, one to the other. I promise you we will welcome you with open arms. We will introduce you to many colleagues. Together we will attend educational forums and learn from one another.

The League’s attorneys are organized in two large branches, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy. In addition, there are over 400 national commercial collection agencies and law lists affiliated with the League. These agencies forward business to the attorneys. In addition, the attorneys exchange business between themselves. All claims or cases referred through the Commercial Law League are bonded, sent over one of the six or seven law lists that bond claims.

The League is the most proficient and vocal representative of any creditor organization in the United States on Capital Hill in Washington. We employ a full-time lobbyist who not only works closely with our Governmental Affairs and Legislative Committees, hut on a daily basis and sometimes more than once a day keeps all our members totally abreast and tip-to-date as to all commercial and bankruptcy business pending in various committees, both in the House and the Senate. The League has consistently testified before Congress on such important matters as the pending new Bankruptcy Act, bankruptcy reform, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Uniform Commercial Code, and many, many other issues that face American commerce. The League presents amicus curiae briefs before the United States Supreme Court. Our lawyers handle both very large and very small cases, having to do with commercial and retail collections, transportation claims, bankruptcy matters, insolvencies, workouts, turnarounds, banking transactions, in the large cities and small towns throughout America.

So what is our outlook for the future? My goal is that we have great insight that leads to continued prosperity for us all. We have no promise for the future. We all must work and strive to stay on the high plains of accomplishment. As we represent the credit agencies of the United States and Canada, it is my commitment that we establish a real working partnership with each of you and the entire European credit granting community. We must broaden our horizons if we are to make a real contribution to the business and commerce of the world. Tonight, we have a unique opportunity. The opportunity to begin making history. This magnificent convention has attracted considerable attention throughout the Commercial Law League and its results will be watched with eager interest. We will lay a foundation for two great permanent organizations; for cooperation between our members. We must gather together more both in Europe and in the United States, so that we both can enjoy the vision and the growth that is so important.

And it is very simple. All we have to do is share. We have to share with one another and we will stand out to credit grantors everywhere as the world’s most efficient representatives to promote commercial business, and to lead our clients down the avenue of success, whether it be technology, office management, education, legislation, lobbying, exchanging business between each other, training staff, collectors, paralegals, whatever the needs and requirements may be, we will see that they are met. I invite you to join the Commercial Law League, to be a part of our great League, to share in a piece of the action. The international marketplace continues to grow. The Commercial Law League stands on the threshold of a new and ever expanding global economy.

We want to have an attorney in every city in Europe who can handle the business of American industry that may he forwarded by our agencies and/or attorneys. In turn we have agencies and lawyers in every city in the United States to handle American business. Claims are handled basically on a contingency or hourly basis, or a combination of both.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be with you tonight. There are a number of people to whom we are indebted for this great conference. Kevin Terrell of STA Graydon has worked so diligently for such a long time to make this meeting the beautiful affair we see tonight. Kevin, thank you.

I especially wish to thank Steven Frieze, our man in London. Steven has been a vital member of our international community and is directly responsible for successfully coordinating this conference. Thank you, Steven.

I also want to thank Nancy Hamilton. Nancy is a long-time supporter of the League and has been actively involved in so many League activities and functions over the years. Nancy…thank you for the tremendous job you have done in putting this conference together.

Again, it is my great pleasure on behalf of the Commercial Law League to address you and wish you every success in this great meeting. Thank you for everything you have already done and you will do in the next few days for each of us. May you find peace and contentment in your work. Thank you.

Eastern District Law Student Scholarships

The Eastern District Educational Fund Corporation is accepting requests for the 2004 Judge Abraham Lieberman and Edward A. Kane Memorial Student Scholarship Awards..

Scholarship grants are to be awarded to the children or grandchildren of currently enrolled League members in good standing for use during the applicant’s matriculation as law students at law schools approved and accredited by the American Bar Association.

Requests must be filed no later than October 1, 2004, together with the applicant’s LSAT scores and the name of the law school.. The winner will be notified by the Scholarship Awards Committee on or about November 1, 2004.

All submissions for Scholarship Awards are to be sent to:

Sidney S. Friedman

President – Eastern District Educational Fund Corporation

Weinstock, Friedman & Friedman, PA

Executive Centre

4 Reservoir Circle; 2nd Floor

Baltimore, MD 21208-7301

Fax: 410-559-9009

e-mail: ssf@weinstocklegal.com

New CLLA Education Director appointed

Susanne E. Dickerson has been appointed the new Education Director for the Commercial Law League of America. Her background as a practicing attorney includes extensive experience serving as counsel to businesses on all aspects of their structure and as a going concern along with expertise in evaluating businesses and a track record of successfully managing multiple complex legal projects.

As Education Director, she will be responsible for researching what areas of commercial law are the “hot topics.” Once those topics have been identified, Susanne will be working with the CLLA’s National Education Committee, the regions and sections to determine a desired theme for the educational offerings. She will endeavor to have exciting and knowledgeable speakers presenting these educational topics. Further, she is to ensure that the overall quality of the CLLA educational offerings is first rate and the materials published for each educational programming are useful, timely and valued by the seminar attendees.

Susanne will be following up with all speakers as to their participation in these educational offerings. At the end of each program seminar attendees will be encouraged to complete a simple but comprehensive evaluation of the speaker and the materials. Susanne will be improving the existing evaluation process and encouraging greater participation by seminar attendees. She will be enhancing the evaluation form to provide enough clarity to accurately determine the effectiveness of the speaker. Detailed feedback will be provided to the speakers to ensure their own growth as a speaker. Evaluations of speakers will be used by Susanne as a tool to determine whether a given speaker will be asked to return for future CLLA presentations.

A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Detroit College of Law at Michigan Stale University, in Lansing Mich. with concentrations in Tax Law and International Law, Susanne represented creditors in negotiation and resolving creditors’ rights issues in State and Federal Court and managed the collections department of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group while at Brouse McDowell law firm in Akron, Ohio. Susanne became an associate in the Corporate Group at McDonald Hopkins law firm where she served as lead on several Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Concurrent with acting as Education Director of the CLLA, Susanne will continue in the private practice of law as President of The Dickerson Legal Group in Cleveland where she provides legal counsel to small businesses with respect to contract issues, commercial needs, and bankruptcy matters.

Education program scheduled for September in California

“Collections, Finances & Negotiations,” will be presented on September 10th at the Hilton Hotel in Universal City, California. This Educational Program/Cocktail Party is presented by the California Commercial Collection Association, the Western Region and the Commercial Agency Section of the Commercial Law League of America. It is sponsored by InsightAmerica, The American Lawyers Quarterly and The General Bar.

Online registration is available at www.clla.org.

The education programs and speakers are as follows:

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

“Collecting Your Receivables”

What qualities should you cultivate in yourself as a collector? What should you do to tune up your negotiation skills? What are the key things to remember as you talk to debtors, their agents and attorneys? What steps should you take to confirm your payment agreement? What red flags should you look for when dealing with debtors? How does the Fair Debt Practice Collection Act affect your conduct and actions? What is the NSF Check law in California, and how should you use it when dealing with debtors? How should you handle restrictive endorsements? What is the bankruptcy law, and how does it affect your actions? Greg Maksimenko addresses these issues and more in his seminar, and also involves you in role play scenarios to reinforce your understanding of the subject matter.

Speaker: Greg Maksimenko has been active in the commercial debt collection industry for the last 18 years. He has held the position of General Manager at Continental Recovery Services for the past ten years, and has conducted several collection seminars during that time. Greg holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie course in Human Relations and Public Speaking, as well as the Dale Carnegie Professional Sales Training Course. Greg is certified by the International Association of Commercial Collectors and certified as a Qualified Collection Agency Manager by the State of California.

11:40 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

“Finding Debtors and Their Assets”

InsightAmerica will be presenting InsightCollect and how this product can help you save money, increase productivity and revenue. Scoring is quickly becoming a mainstay in the industry, and InsightCollect has created a unique approach with L Score and C Score Reports. InsightCollect will discuss the use of public information to help businesses in locating company ownership, assets and individuals. The presentation will offer insight into how such tools are a necessity in today’s collection industry.

Speaker: Merridee Manchego has been at InsightAmerica for over three years. During that time she has successfully promoted many of their products and became the product manager for their new site InsightInvestigate. In the past year, Merridee has focused exclusively on the collection industry, with the revolutionary online tool InsightCollect. She has achieved this by working with current and potential customers to fine-tune and customize products and services to fit the specific needs of their collections clientele.

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

“How’s My Agency Doing?”

How do you determine how well your collection agency is doing? Does your business compare favorably to your peers in the industry? Would you like to be privy to the CCAA’s Cost of Operations Study, a benchmark project that considers fourteen key financial and performance rations ratios that agencies can use to evaluate their performance in relation to their peers? If the answer is “Yes!” then this seminar is for you. The CCAA’s Cost of Operations Study, also includes current and valuable information on collector and sales compensation, incentive programs and organizational practices of collection agencies.

Speaker: Emil Hartleb is the Executive Director of the Commercial Collection Agency Association of the Commercial Law League of America. Emil has over 38 years of experience in the field of credit and collection coupled with a broad-based background in business. After retiring several years ago as a senior executive from Dun & Bradstreet, he developed a successful consulting practice focused on helping companies improve their accounts receivable management practices and procedures. Emil also was a seminar leader for Dun & Bradstreet Business Education Services, where he conducted public and private seminars in the areas of credit decision-making, accounts receivable management, collection techniques and strategic planning. He has authored several D & B Business Education Services correspondence courses on credit decision-making and accounts receivable management.

3:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

“Improving Account Placements: A Panel Discussion Led by the Experts”

Are your account placements down? Does it appear that the situation may not improve in the near future? Then, this panel discussion is for you! The panel will provide you with valuable information for developing programs that will help you obtain greater account placement with existing customers, and solidify your customer relationships.

Speakers: Emil Hartleb (see above)

Robert Caine is chairman and CEO of Caine & Weiner Co., Inc., a collection agency located in Van Nuys, California. He has been in the business for over 33 years. Bob is very active in the Commercial Law League of America. He is past Chair of the Commercial Collection Agency Association and has served on the Board of Governors. At the National Convention of the CLLA in 2003, Bob was awarded the President’s Cup, which is the most prestigious and highest recognition that can be bestowed upon a member of the League who has not served as president of the organization.

Michael Berke is an attorney licensed to practice law in California and before the local Federal Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been a member of the Commercial Law League of America since 1980. He had represented collection agencies directly in California, and was a forwarder attorney with memberships in numerous law lists. Since 1986, he has been a principal in American Recovery Service Incorporated, a commercial collection agency located in Thousand Oaks, CA.As General Counsel for the agency, he is currently responsible for litigation in California and supervises the placements and legal activity of the forwarding department.

Larry Cassidy is the President of North California Collection Service, Inc., the Sacramento Valley Board of Trade, Inc., in Sacramento, California, and the Pacific Board of Trade, Inc., in Honolulu, Hawaii. For the past 28 years, Larry has served as Chairman of the Legislative Council of the California Association of Collectors. In that capacity, he has introduced or been involved in the majority of new laws that govern the collection of past due debts in California. Larry has also served as President of California Association of Collectors, California Commercial Collectors Association and American Commercial Collectors Association for the United States, Europe and Asia.

Dan Steinman joined California Credit Bureau two years ago, where he holds the title of Vice President. He previously worked at Fidelity Creditor Service for two years as Vice President in charge of operations. He has more than 22 years of collection experience, 6 years with GC Services and 12 years with SCB Associates. He formerly served as Chairman of the California Association of Collectors’ Legislative council. He currently serves on CAC’s Executive Committee, as President Dan is a past recipient of the two CAC awards Bob Morris Excellence and Innovation Award and the Gus Cohen “Hershey” Award. He has served as a National Director for the California State Chapter.

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

“The Art of Negotiating”

Do you sometimes feel that life is just a never-ending series of negotiations? It can be, but the real question is: are you getting what you want and need out of the negotiations? This practical seminar deals with the negotiations facing collection people on a day-to-day basis. This is not a session on manipulation, but rather focuses on dealing with people on a positive basis, looking for a win-win situation, because the real goal is collecting the money. This fast-paced program focuses on:

* Building a positive attitude – a foundation for success.

* Managing stress – and not letting it manage you.

* Recognizing, understanding, and dealing with the five types of problem customers.

* Communicating with impact – verbally and non-verbally.

* Turning confrontation into negotiation.

Speaker: Alan Ramos is an attorney practicing in Northern California. He specializes in the areas of insolvency and mediation. He has a diverse professional background spanning the past 30+ years, including experience in the areas of Asset Liquidation, Conflict Resolution, Crisis Management, Insolvency, Management Consulting, Operations Management, and Organizational Restructuring. Alan has authored more than 60 newsletter articles and two published trade magazine articles on the subjects of Bankruptcy, Collections, Credit and Finance. He is a contributing author of the Creditors’ Committee Manual, published by the American Bankruptcy Institute. Alan received his JD from the John F. Kennedy School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the State of California, Federal District Courts in the Northern District of California, Eastern District of California, Central District of California, and Southern District of California. Alan served on the faculty of Hastings College of the Law, Litigation Advocacy Programs and has been a guest lecturer at University of California, University of San Francisco, John F. Kennedy University, and Santa Clara University. Alan has qualified and testified as an expert witness in the field of insolvency in both federal and state courts.

Copyright Commercial Law League of America Jul/Aug 2004

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