From the Director Jul/Aug 2005

From the Director Jul/Aug 2005

Journal Issue: 
Column Name: 
Journal Article: 

San Francisco Members Enjoy Wine Tasting

Nearly 100 ABI members from the San Francisco area networked during a delightful evening of wine tasting, featuring smaller production wines and specialty foods, on June 15. Bankruptcy Judges Dennis Montali and Randy Newsome (N.D. Calif.) also attended. Debra Grassgreen of the San Francisco office of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub PC chaired the local host committee, along with Randy Michelson (Bingham McCutchen LLP), Robert Eisenbach (Cooley Godward LLP) and Eric Carlson (Giuliani Capital Advisors). Other event sponsoring firms included Deloitte, GE Commercial Finance, Goldberg Stinnett Meyers & Davis PC, Heller Ehrman LLP, Howard Rice Nemerovski, et al., Kornfield Paul & Nyberg PC, McNutt & Litteneker LLP, Murray & Murray PC, St. James Law PC, Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold LLP, Sugarman & Co. LLP, White & Case LLP and Visa USA. Previous member outreach social events were held in Cleveland, Seattle and San Antonio, major cities where there are a high number of ABI members but no local conference program nearby. Plans are underway for other outreach events in St. Louis, Orlando, Boston and Dallas.

Deputy Executive Director Named

Ann vom Eigen has joined the ABI staff as Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel. Ann comes to ABI from the American Land Title Association (ALTA), where she served as legislative and regulatory counsel since 1991. For ALTA, she directed legislative advocacy activities on real estate, banking, bankruptcy and other issues at both the federal and state level, as well as with the administration. Ann has extensive experience in legal and legislative campaigns for the financial services industry, including strategic relations and communications. She was previously associate legislative and general counsel at the Mortgage Bankers Association, following several years as a professional staff member on both the Senate Environment and Budget Committees and as a policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget. A native of Wisconsin, Ann holds degrees from Tufts (B.S.) and Harvard (M.A.), and a law degree from Georgetown. She was selected after a search by a national recruiting service and a comprehensive review process, including interviews by the ABI management committee. "We are delighted to have someone of Ann's experience, energy and vision in this new deputy position," said Executive Director Sam Gerdano. "She's the ideal fit for our aggressive plans to do more educational outreach to Capitol Hill and the national media." ABIPresident John Penn added, "Ann was our top choice from several well-qualified candidates. We're extremely pleased to add her substantial experience to our growing professional staff."

Coming Soon: New Membership Directory

The 2005-06 edition of the ABI Membership Directory will soon be available for purchase. It will be available online or by calling ABI at (703) 739-0800. Members will receive a complimentary copy of the new directory on CD-rom in a forthcoming issue of the ABI Journal. Copies of the current edition are still available at a reduced price.

ABI Membership Breaks 11,000!

ABI membership passed the 11,000 mark in May, just 17 months after reaching the 10,000-member milestone in January 2004. Through June, nearly 1,300 new members joined and more than 4,600 have renewed their membership this year.

New Staff Announcements

Larissa Mendes has joined the staff as an assistant in the Membership Department. She was promoted from an intern position. Larissa is the first contact for new membership inquiries, and she will be responsible for processing renewals, administering the Career Center and other duties. She is a 2003 graduate of George Mason University with a B.A. in communications. Emily Gaines has been promoted to Membership Specialist in the department. Lissa Hurwitz joined the staff as Strategic Communications Manager as part of our communications department. She will handle ABI's comprehensive outreach efforts with the business and general press. She has 15 years of experience in public affairs and external communications in the corporate and nonprofit environments as a consultant, writer and editor. She has a B.A. in communications from the University of Michigan. Rali Mileva will shift her focus from communications to ABI's growing marketing program for industry and nonindustry partners. Karim Guirguis has been promoted to Manager of Online Technology, from the position of Webmaster, reflecting his increased responsibility for ABI's distance-learning delivery system.

Catherine Crier to Speak at ABI's Author Luncheon at NCBJ

Best-selling author, Emmy Award-winning journalist and current Court TV anchor Catherine Crier will speak at ABI's annual author luncheon during this year's meeting of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ), Nov. 4 in San Antonio. Crier, who's first book, The Case Against Lawyers, was a New York Times best-seller in 2002, also holds the distinction of being the youngest state judge ever to be elected in Texas. She will sign copies of her latest book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation, after her presentation. Crier joins other famed authors keynoting the ABI luncheon, following Bob Woodward, Christopher Buckley, Scott Turow and Doris Kearns Goodwin, among others. This event will sell out, so make plans with the NCBJ to attend. Register online at

Journal Date: 
Friday, July 1, 2005