Card image cap

ABC Panel: Ethical Pitfalls in Technology, Fee Applications and Practicing in Court

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 58 minutes
Recorded Date: April 14, 2021
Click here to share this program
Printer-Friendly Version
Closed Caption


  • Use of Technology
  • Do's, Don'ts and Best Practices in Fee Applications
  • Lawyers Behaving Badly
  • Lawyers and Law firms as Bankruptcy Debtors
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: April 14, 2021


This panel of ABC-certified judges will discuss the applicable rules of professional conduct and other authority implicated in electronic filing, the use of email, “phishing” scams and hacking, and technology issues raised by today’s pandemic practice. The panelists will also consider issues raised by the requirement that many professionals must file public fee applications in bankruptcy cases, as well as fee issues stemming from converted cases, insufficient content in the applications, and problems that arise when the results achieved and the fees sought bear little relationship to each other. Finally, the panelists will consider unique professionalism issues raised by attorneys and law firms as bankruptcy debtors, particularly involving clients and the use of IOLTA accounts, along with more general do’s and don’ts about practicing in bankruptcy court before, during and (hopefully) after the pandemic.

This program was recorded as part of the American Bankruptcy Institute's 2021 Virtual American Spring Meeting held on April 14th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
Card image cap


Card image cap

Donna T. Parkinson

Parkinson Phinney

Donna T. Parkinson is an attorney with Parkinson Phinney in Sacramento, Calif., and has many years of experience in bankruptcy and commercial insolvency law in both state and federal courts. She has represented multi-state banking entities and large financial institutions, insurance companies as lenders, landlords, trustees, creditors, creditors’ committees, governmental entities and national wholesale companies, as well as individuals, addressing a wide range of complex bankruptcy and commercial insolvency law issues. Recently, she represented the Stockton Police Officers Association and Stockton Police Managers Association in the chapter 9 bankruptcy case of the City of Stockton.

Ms. Parkinson is Board Certified by the American Board of Certification in both Business Bankruptcy Law and Creditors’ Rights Law, and is its current president. She is also certified by the California State Board of Legal Specialization in bankruptcy law.

Ms. Parkinson is rated AV-preeminent by Martindale Hubbell. She is a former chair of the Insolvency Law Committee of the California State Bar and is a past president of the Sacramento Valley Bankruptcy Forum and the Sacramento Valley Receivers Forum, as well as representative to the California Bankruptcy Forum.

Ms. Parkinson served as a member of the Bankruptcy Attorney Advisory Committee for the Eastern District and on the Attorney Advisory Committee for the Eastern District Court, and served two years as an at-large Bar Council member for the Sacramento County Bar Association. A frequent lecturer on bankruptcy and insolvency issues, she has been an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law teaching advanced bankruptcy law. She also was a member of a panel that presented the bi-annual Ninth Circuit Insolvency Law Update webinars and has written Insolvency Law Committee e-Bulletins summarizing new cases. In addition, she also served multiple terms on the Sacramento County Treasury Oversight Committee and chaired that organization in 2002.

Ms. Parkinson is a member of ABI and the Federal Bar Association, and is a founding editor of the Sacramento County Bar Association’s newsletter on Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Developments. She received her B.A. with honors from California State University in Sacramento and her J.D. in 1986 from the University of California, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Card image cap

Hon. René Lastreto, II

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California

Hon. Ren? Lastreto II is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of California in Fresno, sworn in on Sept. 14, 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was the managing partner with Lang, Richert & Patch in Fresno and, before that, the CFO of the firm. While in private practice for 34 years, Judge Lastreto emphasized litigation matters involving creditor rights in all courts in California. He also represented all constituencies in bankruptcy matters, including creditors (both secured and unsecured), creditors’ committees, trustees, asset-purchasers, lessees, lessors, debtors and estate professionals.

Before joining Lang, Richert & Patch in 1999, he was a partner at Dowling, Aaron & Keeler in Fresno, and prior to that, a partner at Crossland, Crossland, Chambers, Lastreto & Knudson. Judge Lastreto was trial counsel in many types of cases in both state and federal courts, and primary trial counsel in numerous contested matters representing various interests on agricultural and commercial code issues. He is a frequent faculty member in many continuing education programs, both teaching and writing on various creditor-related and agricultural issues.

Prior to his appointment as a judge, he was on the commercial panel of the American Arbitration Association and arbitrated numerous commercial disputes, including construction and contract disputes.

Judge Lastreto is Board Certified in Creditors’ Rights Law by the American Board of Certification. He received his undergraduate degree cum laude in 1978 from the University of Utah and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1981.

Card image cap

Hon. Elizabeth L. Gunn

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Columbia

Hon. Elizabeth L. Gunn is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., appointed on Sept. 4, 2020. A COVID-era selection and appointment, she was sworn in by Zoom from her living room.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Gunn served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia as the sole the bankruptcy specialist for the Division of Child Support Enforcement. She also practiced law in Richmond, Va., at Sands Anderson PC and McGuireWoods LLP. In 2017, Judge Gunn was honored as a member of ABI’s inaugural class of 40 Under 40. She currently serves as the secretary for the Bankruptcy Section of the FBA. Judge Gunn is a frequent author for the ABI Journal and an ABI Volo circuit court website editor, and she has edited two books for ABI.

Judge Gunn received her B.A. cum laude from Willamette University and her J.D. cum laude from Boston College Law School.

Card image cap

Hon. Jeffrey J. Graham

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Indiana

Hon. Jeffrey J. Graham is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis, appointed on Oct. 1, 2014. Previously, he was a partner at the law firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where his practice included business restructuring and creditors’ rights. He is Board Certified in Business Bankruptcy Law through the American Board of Certification.

Judge Graham received two undergraduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. from the Valparaiso University School of Law.

Card image cap

Kirk B. Burkley

Co-Managing Partner
Bernstein Berkley, PC

Kirk B. Burkley is a co-managing partner at Bernstein-Burkley, P.C. in Pittsburgh, which also has locations in Cleveland and Wheeling, W.Va. He also is chairman of the American Board of Certification.

Mr. Burkley represents secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy, financial restructuring and workout situations, including the representation of numerous unsecured creditors’ committees, equipment lessors and commercial landlords. He has been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list every year since 2013 and has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2011. In 2020, he was named to the Top 50 Pittsburgh Super Lawyers list and was the only attorney specializing in bankruptcy and restructuring to be included on the list.

Mr. Burkley received his B.S. in 1999 from Ohio University and his J.D. in 2002 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was a recipient of the Center for Forensic Economic Studies Award for Excellence in Litigation.

Card image cap

Hon. Madeleine C. Wanslee

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona

Hon. Madeleine C. Wanslee is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Arizona in Phoenix, sworn in on March 17, 2014. Previously, she was an associate and then partner at Gust Rosenfeld, PLC, where she was active in the firm’s management committee and co-chaired the firm’s bankruptcy practice group. Her practice focused on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, and she represented small businesses, financial institutions, corporations and state agencies. While in private practice, Judge Wanslee was a certified bankruptcy specialist. She also argued a number of appeals, including United Student Aid Funds Inc. v. Espinosa before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Wanslee is a member of the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Education Committee and chairs Arizona’s Bankruptcy Court local rules committee. She is a charter member and past president of the Arizona Bankruptcy American Inn of Court and is past chair of the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Judges Education Committee, the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee, the Arizona Lawyer Representatives and the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona. She also served on the American Board of Certification’s Standards Committee and on the Arizona State Bar’s Bankruptcy Advisory Committee, which both certify bankruptcy specialists.

Judge Wanslee received her B.F.A. and B.A. from the University of Arizona and her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, where she served as a writer and executive editor of the Gonzaga Law Review. Following law school, she clerked for Chief Bankruptcy Judge Robert C. Jones of the District of Nevada.

Card image cap

Hon. Mary F. Walrath

U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Delaware

Hon. Mary F. Walrath is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Delaware in Wilmington, appointed in 1998. She served as Chief Bankruptcy Judge from 2003-08.

Judge Walrath previously clerked for Hon. Emil F. Goldhaber, Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and was an attorney at Clark Ladner Fortenbaugh & Young in Philadelphia, concentrating in the areas of debtor/creditor rights and commercial litigation.

In addition to speaking at numerous bankruptcy educational programs and panels throughout the country, Judge Walrath is a founding member and co-president of the Delaware Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, a member of the Delaware Chapter of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC), a member of ABI and a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. She is also an editor of the Rutter Group Bankruptcy Practice Guide. Judge Walrath is active in the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ), having served on its Board of Governors from 2007-12, as secretary from 2013-14, as chair of its Education Committee from 2014-15 and as president from 2016-17.

She is currently NCBJ’s immediate past president. Judge Walrath served as an associate editor and then business manager of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal from 2009-15. She also testified before the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 1667, the Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act of 2017.

Judge Walrath received her A.B. in history from Princeton University and earned her J.D. cum laude from Villanova University, where she was a member of the Villanova Law Review and was awarded the Order of the Coif.

Card image cap

Similar Courses

Card image cap
60 minutes
8 Reasons Movie-Lawyers Would be Disciplined
Attorneys in film are constantly violating the ethics rules. Of course, the public probably doesn’t realize it, but us lawyers need to make sure that we don’t repeat these sometimes ridiculous gaffes. Join the CLE Performer, Stuart Teicher, Esq., as he explains the sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle ethics violations committed by lawyers in movies and on TV.

Stuart Teicher


Add to Cart
Card image cap
62 minutes
AI & Privacy Risks: Building a Framework to Balance Innovation & Protection
As AI continues to revolutionize various aspects of our lives, concerns about data privacy, security, and ethical implications have become increasingly prevalent. Join this session as we explore the inherent risks and threats that arise when AI interacts with personal data, the type of frameworks that can be introduced to protect your organization, and the ethical conundrums that arise from AI.

General Counsel Conference


Add to Cart
Card image cap
57 minutes
Attorney Impairment: Ethical Implications & Difficult Conversations
In this program, Dr. Brian Russell, Clinical Psychologist and Attorney at Law, will discuss the different impairments that can affect an attorney. The ethics rules are implicated in addressing the issues involved and how it affects the practice of law. He will also discuss different ways attorneys can find help.

Dr. Brian Russell


Add to Cart
Card image cap
62 minutes
Bias Has Been Eliminated... Hypothetically Speaking
In this program, we discuss the elimination of bias in the legal profession. However, this is a two for one deal, because we also cover ethics. How do we accomplish that, you ask?

Stuart Teicher


Add to Cart
Previous Next