BANKRUPTCY MEDIATION TRAINING COURSE – DECEMBER 2016

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9/11 Memorial

By Donald L. Swanson

The American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law do an annual forty-hour [yes, that’s 40-hour] “Bankruptcy Mediation Training” course.  The next course is coming soon — it’s scheduled for December 11 – 15, 2016.

I took this course two years ago – and loved it!  Here are some reasons why.

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Course Site

First of all, this is not a vacation.  These are long, hard days of study and work and thought, complete with working-lunches, no less!  But being from Omaha, I get up early and walk around lower Manhattan to see the City each morning before showing up – on time – for the course.

The course turns out to be what I expected:  high-quality instruction and training from highly-skilled experts, with students who’ve already excelled in their bankruptcy professions.

What I didn’t expect is how high the expertise would actually be.  To illustrate, here’s an opening part of an article I wrote about a regional mediation hubs proposal:

The proposal comes about like this.  I walk into a lunch-time session of the ABI’s Mediation training course at St. John’s University, sit by a distinguished-looking gentleman and start chatting—as if he is one of my peers.  Turns out, he’s the lunch-time speaker.  He is the Bankruptcy Judge for many of the mega-cases we’ve all read and heard about.  [Oops.  Didn’t know that…sit up straighter in my chair…try to adopt a more dignified air…].  During the presentation, he talks about difficulties in mediating cases on the East Coast for far-away defendants.  “Like those from Nebraska,” he says with a nod to me [a nice and much-appreciated touch].  And he expresses openness to suggestions for addressing those difficulties.  Unfortunately, I have no suggestion at the time, other than allowing defendants to participate in mediation sessions by Skype.  That’s “not acceptable,” the Judge says.

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Little Italy

Another surprise is the broad application of the training.  Much of my bankruptcy experience is as counsel for committees and trustees.  These roles are often mediation-ish: working with multiple parties to resolve disputes.  Many times during the course, I find myself muttering, “Wish I’d learned this two decades ago.”

A third surprise is the burst of creativity among students in the course.  For example, I had been writing for publication (to a limited extent) throughout my career.  But it was from this course that I decided to redouble such efforts – and, specifically, to write about bankruptcy mediation.  Such efforts led to starting this blog:  https://mediatbankry.com/ .

And back to meeting expectations:  I expected to develop new relationships with great people that would continue beyond the course.  Expectation is accomplished.

And a huge “thank you” to Prof. Elayne Greenberg of St. John’s for making all this happen!

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Coffee Shop

 

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