2017 Bankruptcy Bench-Bar Retreat Facilitators & Speakers

Honorable Russ Kendig

Russ Kendig was born and raised in Canton, Ohio.  He graduated from Perry High School, the School of Speech of Northwestern University, and The Ohio State University College of Law, with honors.  He was the John Adams Award winner at Ohio State.  He has been the bankruptcy judge in Canton, Ohio since 2001.  Prior to that he was a shareholder with Day Ketterer in Canton and served as a Chapter 7 trustee.  He previously was of counsel in the Chicago office of the London firm Lovells (now Hogan Lovells) and prior to that was a shareholder with Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths and Dougherty, Co. L.P.A. in Canton.

Honorable John P. Gustafson

John P. Gustafson was sworn in as a bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division on April 8, 2014.  A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Judge Gustafson served as a bankruptcy law clerk in Toledo for almost four years in the late 80s.  He stayed in Toledo and practiced bankruptcy law - representing consumers, businesses, and trustees - for more than a decade.  In 2003, he accepted a position as a Chapter 13 staff attorney, and in 2007 he was appointed as the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee.  Judge Gustafson is a compulsive writer of practical outlines on bankruptcy law, a fan of old time radio shows and the Cleveland Browns, and an avid (but not talented) kayaker, runner, gardener, and juggler.

Honorable Arthur I. Harris

Arthur I. Harris has served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, sitting in Cleveland, since 2002.  Judge Harris also served on the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules from 2010 to 2016, and as a judge on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit from 2009 to 2013.  He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1979 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1982, where he was a member of the Michigan Law Review.  Following law school, Judge Harris clerked for the Honorable John M. Manos, United States District Judge, in Cleveland, Ohio.  He then served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio (Civil Division) for 18 years until his appointment to the bench.

Honorable Alan M. Koschik

Alan M. Koschik is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Ohio.  Prior to his appointment in 2014, he was a partner in the Cleveland office of the Akron-based law firm of Brouse McDowell LPA, specializing in business restructuring, creditors’ rights, and commercial litigation.  From 1998 to 2000, he had a similar practice at McDonald Hopkins LLC in Cleveland. From 1995 to 1998, he was a litigation associate with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP in Cleveland, Ohio.

Before relocating to Ohio in 1995, Judge Koschik lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, first clerking for the Hon. James R. Browning, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Thereafter, he was an associate in the bankruptcy practice group of two San Francisco law firms: Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Robertson & Falk (1988-91) and Pettit & Martin (1991-95).

Judge Koschik received his A.B. in Economics, a Master of Public Policy, and J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

Honorable Jessica E. Price Smith

Judge Jessica Price Smith was appointed to a 14-year term on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 2011.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she is a graduate of Miami University where she was among the first group of students awarded the prestigious Harrison Scholarship.  She also graduated with distinction from the Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law where she was a member of the Law Review, Moot Court Board of Advocates, and was inducted into the Willis Society, the highest academic honor society at the College of Law.  Judge Price Smith began her legal career as the law clerk to the Honorable Randolph Baxter, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, whom she succeeded on the bench. She spent two years as a bankruptcy associate with the law firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.  And, immediately, prior to becoming a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, was engaged in the private practice of law, representing corporate debtors, creditor committees, and trade creditors in all aspects of commercial bankruptcy cases and out of court debt restructuring as a shareholder at Brouse McDowell, LPA.  In addition to practicing law, Judge Price Smith was a legal studies faculty member at Ursuline College in the adult accelerated education program.

Since her appointment to the bench, Judge Price Smith has been an active member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. She currently serves the organization as the Secretary of the Endowment Committee, a member of the Education Committee, and as a member of liaison committee to the National Bar Association.  In the Northern District of Ohio Bankruptcy Court, she serves as chairman of the Technology Committee and as a member of the Budget and Strategic Planning Committees. She also serves on the Attorney Admissions Fund Committee of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Judge Price Smith has balanced her professional life with service to her community as a member of various civic boards and through her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated and the Drifters, Incorporated. She and her husband, Gregory Smith, are the proud parents of two sons.

Honorable Mary Ann Whipple

Mary Ann Whipple has served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, at Toledo, since 2001.  She has also served on the Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. 

Judge Whipple grew up in Toledo.  She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1977 with an A.B. degree in Russian Studies and from Stanford Law School in 1981 with a J.D. degree.

Before becoming a bankruptcy judge, Judge Whipple practiced law for twenty years as a commercial, bankruptcy and employment litigator with the Toledo firm Fuller & Henry Ltd.  She is admitted to practice in Ohio and Michigan, and before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Michigan.

Judge Whipple taught Creditor/Debtor Law for many years as a part-time faculty member at the University of Toledo College of Law.  In addition to teaching, she has served her community as a member of the executive boards of the Owens Community College Foundation, American Red Cross-Greater Toledo Area Chapter, Lucas County Mental Health Board, Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, Family Service of Northwest Ohio and University of Michigan Club of Toledo.  She is also a master in and past President of The Morrison R. Waite Chapter of the American Inns of Court Foundation.

Judge Whipple received The Toledo Bar Association’s 2008 Community Service Award and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association’s 2016 Arabella Babb Mansfield Award.

Honorable Kay Woods

The Honorable Kay Woods sits in the Northern District of Ohio at Youngstown.  Prior to taking the bench in 2004, Judge Woods was the Associate General Counsel at LTV Steel in Cleveland, which was a chapter 11 debtor twice – once in 1986 in the Southern District of New York and again in 2000 in Youngstown. 

She is a member of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law National Council, which provides advice and counsel regarding programs for the College of Law.  In addition to membership in the ABI, Judge Woods is an active member of the NCBJ and sits on the Elections, Ethics, and Conference News Committees.  She is the immediate past Editor-in-Chief for the Conference News.  She is also a founding member of and immediate past Secretary for the Nathaniel R. Jones Inn of Court. 

Judge Woods is an Ohio native.  Judge Woods began her legal career at Jones Day in 1981 as a litigation associate after graduating summa cum laude and Order of the Coif from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Bowling Green State University.   

Alison L. Archer

Assistant Attorney General, Collections Enforcement Section
Direct Telephone:  216.787.4721
Direct Facsimile:  866.416-9729
Email:  Alison.archer@ohioattorneygeneral.gov

Alison L. Archer is an Assistant Attorney General in the Collections Enforcement Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  Alison currently works in the bankruptcy group where she represents the State of Ohio in bankruptcy cases in which the State has a claim for outstanding debts such as personal income taxes, business taxes, employment taxes, unemployment overpayments, workers’ compensation premiums or injury claims, and various other debts owed to Ohio governmental entities.  Alison has experience with claim objections and preference actions, as well as lien avoidance and dischargeabilty issues.  Additionally, Alison has worked extensively with the State’s Offer-In-Compromise (OIC) program.  Alison is licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  She is a member of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the West Shore Bar Association.  Alison earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University and is a graduate of Capital University Law School.  

Richard A. Baumgart

A practicing attorney engaged in the practice of commercial law, with an emphasis in the bankruptcy and debtor/creditor areas, and a principal in the law firm of Dettelbach, Sicherman & Baumgart, with offices located at 55 Public Square, 21st Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44113-1902 [Phone: (216) 696-6000] [Fax: (216) 696-3338] [E-mail address: rbaumgart@dsb-law.com]. A chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee since 1978.

To read complete bio click here.

Emily B. Berndt

Emly B. Berndt is a Senior Attorney with the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Chief Counsel, Small Business/Self-Employed Division.   Mrs. Berndt has been with the Office of Chief Counsel since 2001.  During her tenure at Chief Counsel she served for four years as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Bankruptcy Court  – Cleveland.  She currently handles Tax Court litigation and bankruptcy matters in the Cleveland office.  Mrs. Berndt is a member of the Tax Club of Cleveland.  She earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, is a graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law, and has her LLM in Taxation from Boston University.


Kari B. Coniglio

Kari is an associate in the Vorys Cleveland office and a member of the finance, energy and real estate group. Her practice primarily focuses on the representation of financial institutions, debtors, and committees in bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings and in commercial transactions and litigation including collections, creditors rights, receiverships, foreclosures, reorganizations, restructurings and workouts.

Kari received her J.D. summa cum laude from the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she was the managing editor of the Cleveland State Law Review. She received her B.A. cum laude from Cleveland State University.

To read complete bio click here.

David J. Coyle

David J. Coyle has extensive experience in commercial litigation, bankruptcy, commercial foreclosures, replevin actions, condemnation proceedings and business torts.  In bankruptcy, he regularly represents the interests of clients ranging in size from large, publicly-traded corporations to individuals.  He has substantial experience in representing clients in all areas of bankruptcy practice, including commercial landlords in disputes with tenants who have filed bankruptcy petitions, defending clients in preference actions, and representing secured lenders.  He also has experience representing Chapter 7 trustees and unsecured creditors' committees. 

To read complete bio click here.

Sherri L. Dahl

Ms. Dahl is a lawyer, author, and speaker providing advice to corporate clients and individuals on a vast array of issues throughout the United States.  Currently, Ms. Dahl is representing a client in Federal Court as plaintiff against eight merchant lender entities – lenders that offer quick loans to companies while charging more than the 25% annual interest permitted in Ohio.  Dahl also currently represents several preference defendants with cases pending in and outside of Ohio and a debtor entity restructuring outside of court.  Ms. Dahl currently also represents several solvent companies, including a company with a new product in the process of beginning distribution around the world, and several established companies of all sizes, that seek day-to-day advice on a myriad of issues.  In 2016, Ms. Dahl represented (a) a debtor dairy farm in chapter 11 bankruptcy; (b) a debtor medical uniform manufacturer in chapter 11 bankruptcy; (c) a defendant trade school, where Ms. Dahl had a cognovit judgment vacated in state court, resulting in a negotiated settlement with the lender; and (d) a defendant jewelry store sued for more than a million dollars for receiving stolen property, which resulted in a settlement.

During 2013-2015, Ms. Dahl represented a creditors’ committee in an oil and gas bankruptcy.  In 2009, Dahl worked with a team of lawyers representing the debtor holding company for the fourth largest bank failure of that year.  Ms. Dahl represented the only Amish debtor business to file bankruptcy.  Ms. Dahl prepares, reviews and negotiates all forms of agreements, including confidentiality, employment, severance, asset purchase, materials transfer and development agreements.  Ms. Dahl has successfully blocked the appointment of receivers and has prosecuted and defended hundreds of preference actions.   Ms. Dahl has represented clients in diverse industries, including:  clothing, chemicals, steel, plastics, auto parts, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, insurance, banking and financial services, construction, bedding, entertainment, and private equity.

In March 2017, Ms. Dahl self-published the book Ascending:  Inspirational Stories & Practical Advice for Women in Law & Business, available at Amazon.com.  For Ms. Dahl's full Resume, please see www.DahlLawLLC.com.

To read complete bio click here.

Rocco I. Debitetto

Commercial Service & Restructuring
Rocco focuses his practice in the Creditors’ Rights, Reorganization and Bankruptcy Area. He has diverse experience representing debtors-in-possession, secured lenders, lessors and landlords, unsecured creditors, official creditor committees, individual business owners, trustees, and receivers in all facets  of bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, and state court proceedings.

General Business and Corporate
Rocco counsels businesses and individuals in connection with a variety of matters pertinent to all phases of business operations. He has been involved with a variety of commercial transactions, including asset sales and acquisitions, business start-ups, significant contract negotiations, and financings.

To read complete bio click here.

Robert  P. Harbert

Robert P. Harbert currently serves as Staff Attorney to Toby L. Rosen, the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee in Canton, Ohio.  He has held this position since 2004.  He also currently serves as Chair of the Stark County Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Committee, and is a member of the Attorney Constituency Group for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  Rob is a lifelong resident of Stark County where he resides with Kelly, his wife, and their three children near Louisville, Ohio.  Rob received his B.A. in Economics from Allegheny College, his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law, and his Masters of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.          


Lauren A. Helbing

Lauren A. Helbling, J.D. Cleveland Marshall College of Law 1987, B.S. Finance, Cum Laude, Ohio State University 1984.  Attorney, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur (1987-1990); Law Clerk, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (1992-1993); Law Clerk to the Honorable Judge Randolph Baxter (1993-1997); Owner, Lauren A. Helbling Co., LPA since 1997; Chapter 7 Trustee panel member since 1997. 

Practice areas focus on Chapter 7 Trustee matters, filing chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies (consumer and business), and have been appointed Chapter 11 Operating Trustee in A.E.M.M. Properties, Inc. 

Published The Emerging Harmless Innocent Omission Defense to Nondischargeability Under Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(3)(A):  Making Sense of the Controversy Over Reopening Cases and Amending Schedules to Add Omitted Debts.  69 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 33 (Winter 1995) (co-authored by the Honorable Christopher M. Klein) and What Constitutes a Timely Response to a Complaint?  A Close Review of Bankruptcy Rules 7004, 7012 and 9006.  Norton Bankruptcy Law Advisor, Issue No. 6 (June, 1996). 

Memberships and Appointments: Appointed to the Attorney Constituency Group for the Strategic Planning Project of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio (1999); Co-chair of the William J. O’Neill Bankruptcy Institute (2002 and 2014); Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Executive Committee Member (2004-2008); Chair (2007-2008).  Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Member of Sections & Committees Oversight Committee (2010 – 2016).  Member National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees; National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Turnaround Management Association, N.E. Ohio Network of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation, Steering Committee (2016); Treasurer (2017).

Frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars on bankruptcy law issues for a variety of professional groups including the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, United States Trustee and the Ohio Association of Magistrates (2014).

Admitted to practice and member in good standing:  Ohio State Supreme Court, Northern District of Ohio, Sixth Circuit Court and U.S. Supreme Court.

Awards:  The Best Lawyers in American, Bankruptcy Law, 2016 and 2017

Michael J. Kaczka

Michael focuses his practice on corporate restructuring, commercial bankruptcy, business counseling, and creditors’ rights matters. As a member in the firm’s Business Restructuring Services Department, he represents businesses as debtors or creditors in various insolvency matters including chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, state-related insolvency proceedings, out-of-court workouts and restructurings and other commercial matters. Michael represents purchasers of assets of distressed businesses both in and out of court. Michael also has experience representing creditors’ committees and liquidating trustees in various bankruptcy matters.

Michael earned a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2003. He received a B.A., cum laude, from Washington and Lee University in 2000.

To read complete bio click here.

Suzana K. Koch

Suzana K. Koch is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. She practices in the Financial Litigation Unit where she is responsible for the civil enforcement of criminal monetary penalties, managing a docket of over 2000 cases with a total liability of more than $900,000,000. AUSA Koch represents and defends the United States of America in chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings.  She also protects the interests of the United States in over 400 28 U.S.C.

ยง 2410 foreclosure cases in county Courts of Common Pleas throughout the Northern District of Ohio.

Prior to joining the Office of the United States Attorney, AUSA Koch was a partner in a regional law firm with a diverse commercial litigation and transactional practice focused on commercial reorganization and corporate restructuring. She frequently lectures and publishes on bankruptcy and insolvency topics. She also deeply enjoys the treasures of Northeast Ohio – hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, rowing on the Cuyahoga River, admiring the beauty on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and golfing at Sleepy Hollow.

John K. Lane

John K. Lane has over 40 years of financial, business and technology experience, serving clients based in Atlanta, Dallas, the Great Lakes Region, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei, and Washington DC.

John has served as an Interim CEO, Interim CFO, CRO/Crisis Manager, Operating and Liquidating Receiver, Creditor Trustee and Financial Advisor for both Debtors and Creditors in bankruptcy situations.   He has served in those roles for manufacturing, metals, logistics, restaurant chains, retail and technology entities. John’s approach to all crisis situations includes open communication and an attention as best possible to all stakeholders, generally resulting in less contentious environments and a higher likelihood of a more beneficial result for all.

John’s recent cases include serving as the Interim CFO for Quaker Steak & Lube which was sold through a 363 sale and as Financial Advisor to the Chapter 11 Trustee for one of Perkins largest franchisees.  He also served as Interim CEO for American Roll Formed Products.  His turnaround and bankruptcy experience includes several cases where the secured and unsecured creditors were paid in full.  He has also served as damage expert for numerous litigation matters, directed fraud audits, negotiated joint ventures and the resolution of breaches of contract, and provided numerous business valuations.  

Prior to Inglewood, John was the Managing Director of The Revere Group-Cleveland, an IT and business consulting firm.  Prior to The Revere Group, John owned Evergreen Partners Ltd., a corporate finance and corporate strategy advisory firm.  John was also a partner at Price Waterhouse, serving for nineteen years in the Atlanta, Sydney and Cleveland offices.  There he provided negotiation strategies for a successful $275 million acquisition and actively participated in three IPO's, including OfficeMax' offering which was at that time the largest retail IPO.

John has a BBA degree from the University of Notre Dame, is a CPA (non-practicing) and holds a Series 7 Securities License (inactive).  He has served on and moderated numerous panels, authored or has been the subject of many articles and been quoted in the media on a number of business topics, including franchise bankruptcies, valuations, receiverships, international business and technology.

John is a Past President for the Ohio Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association and is a former Board Member of Knotice, Ltd.

To read complete bio click here.

Wayne Novick 

www.gratefullawyer.com
gratefullawyer@gmail.com
937-436-2606

Mr. Novick has been a consumer bankruptcy attorney since 1981 with the Firm of Wayne Novick and Associates, located at 2135 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Dayton Ohio.  Mr. Novick is currently the Ohio South State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a member of American Bankruptcy Law Forum, a Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer since 1981, and a Member of the Student Loan Law Workshop.


Scott N. Opincar

Scott is a member of the Business Restructuring Services Department, concentrating his practice in the areas of complex bankruptcy proceedings, debt restructurings, creditor's rights and sales of financially troubled businesses. Before joining the firm in 2003, Scott was associated with a large law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, where he provided legal counsel to financial institutions, secured and unsecured creditors, borrowers, and debtors. His experience includes representing clients in all aspects of bankruptcy proceedings, including debtor representations, creditors’ committee’s, chapter 11 trustees, asset sales, executory contracts, unexpired leases, intellectual property, stay issues, and prosecution and defense of adversary proceedings.

Scott is also co-chair of the firm's Franchise, Licensing and Distribution Practice Group. He facilitates franchise and distribution relationships, on behalf of both franchisors and franchisees, and frequently counsels clients concerning long-term contracts, licensing agreements, and royalties. Scott has extensive experience with enforcement and dispute resolution, and assists clients with the complex procedures of obtaining new or replacement financing, modifying existing arrangements, managing work-outs, and counseling through reorganization.

Additionally, Scott is co-chair of McDonald Hopkins' Professional Development Committee.

Scott earned a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1994. He received a B.A. from the University of Akron in 1991.

To read complete bio click here.

Christopher W. Peer

Mr. Peer is a member of Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista Co.'s Business Organizations & Tax Department and serves on the Firm's Board of Directors.  He advises clients on the legal implications of business and commercial decisions. His counsel to business entities includes work on contracts and leases, the Uniform Commercial Code, construction matters, employee matters, lending, mergers and acquisitions, vendor relationships, independent contractors, corporate formation, ERISA and tax matters, and legal aspects and implications from conducting sales of products and services.

Mr. Peer represents businesses with distressed debt concerns both in and out of bankruptcy, and advising on the need to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. His debtor representations have resulted in successful reorganizations, equity solutions and business transitions. He also represents creditors and committees in Chapter 11 cases, including the Committee and the Liquidating Trustee in the Chapter 11 cases of the Quaker Steak & Lube Franchises (formally known as QSL of Medina, Inc.)  His experience in distressed situations extends to lenders and related third parties.

To read complete bio click here.

Randy L. Reeves

Randy Reeves has been a Bankruptcy practitioner since 1980. His undergraduate degree was in Law Enforcement from St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, and he obtained his Law Degree from Ohio Northern University in 1980. He practices with the law firm of Dapore and Associates in Lima, Ohio from May of 1980 until April 1981 when he established his own practice. Randy is licensed to practice in the Federal District Court of Northern Ohio, Western Division, and the Federal District Court of Illinois, and is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Randy has also bene certified in Consumer Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification since August 2004.

 

Jeffrey S. Rosenstiel

Jeff is a partner with Graydon, where he chairs the firm’s Financial Services Group and concentrates his litigation practice on banking, commercial and bankruptcy disputes in the federal and state courts throughout Kentucky and Ohio.

Jeff is an active member of the American Bankruptcy Law Forum, the Tri-State Association for Corporate Renewal, the Covington Business Council, the Salmon P. Chase Chapter of the American Inn of Court, and currently serves as vice-chair for both the NKY Chamber Leadership Council and The Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center. He has formerly chaired the Ohio State Bar Association – Banking, Commercial & Bankruptcy Committee, the NKBA Banking Litigation Committee, and various committees for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He received his undergraduate degree from Kentucky State University and law degree from Northern Kentucky University.

Jeff currently resides in Fort Thomas with his wife and three children.

To read complete bio click here.

Keith L. Rucinski

Keith L. Rucinski is the Standing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for Akron, Ohio.  Mr. Rucinski is an attorney and certified public accountant.  He earned undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Akron.  He has taught over 30 graduate and undergraduate courses in taxes, financial statement analysis, accounting, and business law.  He has served as adjunct faculty for The University of Akron, Kent State University, Myers University, and Stark State University.  Mr. Rucinski has published several articles on financial analysis and bankruptcy law issues.  He has served as a seminar and workshop speaker for the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees, the United States Department of Justice-United States Trustee Program, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, National Association of Attorneys General, Akron Bar Association, Akron Tax Club, Northern Ohio Creditors’ Association, Ohio State Bar Association, The Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency, The Enrolled Tax Agents of Greater Cleveland, The University of Akron School of Law, and Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Mr. Rucinski has served as expert witness regarding bankruptcy and financial issues in civil and criminal cases in both federal court and state court.


Frederic P. Schweig

Mr. Schwieg is an attorney whose practice is concentrated in bankruptcy law and commercial litigation.  Mr. Schwieg has extensive experience in representing bankruptcy estates, either Chapter 7 trustees or Chapter 11 debtors in possession.  Mr. Schwieg is a member of the Cleveland Bar Association and chaired its Continuing Legal Education Committee for 1999 and 2001.  He has frequently lectured on Bankruptcy and Commercial Law topics for the Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, The Akron/Canton Bar Association and National Business Institute.  He is a member of the the Turnaround Management Association and until September 2002, was the Secretary for the Northern Ohio Chapter of that organization.  He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Ohio State Bar Association.  Mr. Schwieg is a cum laude graduate of Case Western Reserve University Law School, and was a law clerk to the Honorable John F. Ray, Jr., former Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Ohio.


Matthew W. Shepherd

Assistant United States Attorney Matthew W. Shepherd is currently the Chief of the National Security and Cyber Unit and ATAC Coordinator at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, Ohio. AUSA Shepherd has worked at the US Attorney’s Office in Cleveland since June 2010, spending time in the Major Crimes Unit and OCDETF and Narcotics Unit prior to moving to the National Security Unit.   Prior to moving to Cleveland, AUSA Shepherd worked at the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery, Alabama from February 2007 through June 2010, where he was the district’s Project Safe Neighborhoods coordinator and Anti-Gang Coordinator and primarily prosecuted cases involving firearms, drugs, and violent crime.  Before joining the Department of Justice, AUSA Shepherd served approximately four and a half years on active duty in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 2002 to 2006.  While in the JAG Corps, AUSA Shepherd was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, Korea; to the 21st Theater Support Command at Mannheim, Germany; and to the 18th Military Police Brigade at Camp Victory, Iraq.  AUSA Shepherd graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001 and from the College of William and Mary in 1998.  


Bryan P. Smith

Supervisory Special Agent
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division

Bryan has been employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2002 and is currently assigned to the Cleveland Division where he supervises a Cyber squad focused on criminal cyber intrusions.  Prior to his present assignment, Bryan was the Unit Chief of the FBI's Financial Institution Fraud Unit where he was responsible for the oversight of the FBI's national Asset Forfeiture, Bank Fraud, Identity Theft, Intellectual Property Rights, Money Laundering, and Mortgage Fraud programs.  In 2013, Bryan served in the FBI's Cyber Division where he initiated a Cyber Financial Team focused on the cyber financial threat and from 2011 to 2013, he served as the FBI's Detailee to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) where he assisted both agencies in insider trading, market manipulation, and investment fraud matters. Bryan spent nine years as a Case Agent in the Cleveland Field Office where he worked White Collar and Organized Crime matters.  Prior to the FBI, Bryan worked as a consultant for Andersen Consulting, now Accenture, and Deloitte and Touche.


Cory D. Steinmetz

Cory D. Steinmetz is an Attorney in the Bankruptcy and Appeals Management Division of the Ohio Department of Taxation. Cory is knowledgeable in the individual and business taxes administered by the Department and has experience with federal and local taxes. He primarily acts as the bankruptcy counsel for the Department, managing the various Ohio tax issues that present themselves in cases filed across the country. Cory is responsible for reviewing the Petitions for Reassessment filed by taxpayers in bankruptcy. Cory is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and is a graduate of Capital University Law School. 

To read complete bio click here.

Phyllis A. Ulrich

Currently a principal in the law firm of Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich Co., LPA, Phyllis, first joined the firm as an associate attorney in 1994 and became a shareholder in 1999. Her main areas of practice include real estate, creditors' rights and creditor representation in bankruptcy.

Phyllis received her B.A. degree, magna cum laude (1988), and her J.D. degree (1991) from The University of Akron.

She has lectured on bankruptcy, real estate and title issues for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, Akron Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, Credit Education Coalition, National Business Institute, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and for the Stark County Bar Association.

She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (member since 1994; Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section (Chair, 2012-2013); Women in Law Section; Board of Trustees (2012-2015)), American Bankruptcy Institute, National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees and International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation.

Her charity work for the community includes current involvement with the Hattie Larlham as part of the Corporate Leadership Committee. Past charities include the American Diabetes Association and the March of Dimes.

To read complete bio click here.

Elizabeth A. Vaughan

To read complete bio click here.


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