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Witness Preparation: A Roundtable Discussion

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 73 minutes
Recorded Date: December 03, 2020
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• Deposition Preparation - Experts & Non-Experts
• Trial Preparation - Generally & Non-Experts
• Cross-Examination
• Expert Witnesses
• Additional Observation & Suggestions from the Bench
• Virtual Hearings & Issues in the Age of COVID-19
        - Virtual Hearings
        - Live Hearings

Runtime: 1 hour, 13 minutes
Recorded: December 3, 2020


Witness testimony at trial and in depositions is critical to winning. This panel of restructuring/insolvency litigators and expert witnesses will discuss how you prepare your fact and expert witnesses, including how to respond to direct examination, how to respond to personal attacks and lies, how to deal with an aggressive lawyer, how to prep a fact witness versus an expert witness, and how an expert witness should prep an attorney.

This program was recorded as part of ABI's 2020 Virtual Winter Leadership Conference on December 3rd, 2020.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
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Thomas J. Salerno

Stinson LLP

Thomas brings global experience and out-of-the-box solutions to his work with complex commercial corporate restructurings, helping distressed, often high-profile companies find new paths forward.

Clients turn to Thomas for his national and international experience helping private and publicly-traded companies in a broad range of industries continue operations as they negotiate restructuring plans. He has advised lenders, distressed companies, committees and asset acquirers in bankruptcies and out-of-court settlements.

Thomas works with a global roster of clients from an array of industries, including casinos, hotels, real estate, sports, tech, power generation, agribusiness, construction, health care, manufacturing, airlines and franchising. Many of his cases have an international component. He is an adjunct professor and prolific author and lecturer, writing for both practitioners and corporate executives.

Thomas represented the owners of the Phoenix Coyotes, an NHL hockey team, in bankruptcy negotiations that resulted in a historic sale of the team to the NHL, marking the first time the NHL purchased one of its own franchises.

Known for his savvy in large-scale cases, Thomas has served as restructuring counsel for a national drug store chain, a nationwide operator of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a publicly-traded owner/operator of fire and ambulance services, and Industrias Nucleares do Brasil S/A, the Brazilian nuclear regulatory agency in the bankruptcies of Nuexco Exchange (U.S. and Switzerland).

In addition to serving as an expert witness on U.S. insolvency law in litigation in Germany, Thomas has advised numerous foreign governments on revamping their laws and has taught Comparative International Insolvency at the University of Salzburg.

A frequent writer, lecturer and presenter, Thomas is active in leadership in the American Bankruptcy Institute and is a past chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona.

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Erika L. Morabito

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Erika L. Morabito is a partner, litigator, trial attorney, and restructuring lawyer at Quinn Emanuel. Erika concentrates her practice in bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, debtor reorganizations, and out-of-court restructurings. She regularly represents chapter 11 debtors, creditors' committees, chapter 7 and chapter 11 Trustees, shareholders, individuals, businesses, ad hoc, and special committees, as well as Federal Court appointed Receivers. Erika also frequently advises and represents clients in creditors’ rights litigation, avoidance actions, claims disputes, out-of-court restructurings, and the purchase and sale of assets under the Bankruptcy Code. Most recently, Ms. Morabito represented clients in large bankruptcy proceedings including Shiloh Industries, Pier 1, Toys R Us, Sears, GST Autoleather, Brooks Brothers, and Intelsat, S.A.

Ms. Morabito was recently elected as a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Bankruptcy and she also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Bankruptcy Institute. She is repeatedly recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America? in the fields of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, as well as Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers for bankruptcy/restructuring. In Chambers USA, Erika was described as “super smart and very knowledgeable on debtor and creditor law" and “outstanding in her representation, very strategic, responsive and connected." In 2020, Lawdragon named her one of “500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyers” and in 2021 she was selected by Global Law Experts as the Global Debtor and Creditor Law Expert of the Year in Washington, D.C.

Erika also has extensive experience representing individuals, officers and directors, businesses, financial institutions, corporations, partnerships, and other entities involved in commercial transactions, large bankruptcy, and litigation matters, including retail, airline, automotive, coal, health, fraud, and Ponzi scheme matters. Ms. Morabito’s practice includes restructuring work and complex commercial litigation cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Ms. Morabito regularly lectures for the American Bankruptcy Institute and serves on various Boards that help to provide continuing education and updates on current bankruptcy topics.

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Jeremy R. Fischer

Drummond Woodsum

Jeremy R. Fischer is the Leader of the firm’s Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice Group. He specializes in litigation and transactions involving distressed commercial matters, where he helps clients from the first sign of trouble through the most complex financial restructuring or Chapter 11 case.

Jeremy has substantial experience in bankruptcy and related litigation and appellate matters across New England and around the country. He has particular expertise in the healthcare and long-term care sectors, and his clients include secured and unsecured creditors (including official and ad hoc committees), asset purchasers, trustees, DIP lenders, insurance companies, contract counterparties, directors/officers, and debtors. He also regularly represents parties in out-of-court debt restructurings, loan purchases and sales, receiverships, Article 9 and real estate foreclosures, and debtor/creditor litigation.

Jeremy has won multiple awards, notably being named as one of the top up-and-coming bankruptcy/restructuring practitioners in the country (“40 Under 40”) by the American Bankruptcy Institute. He has chaired the ABI’s Bankruptcy Litigation Committee, presented on expert panels at numerous ABI-sponsored conferences across the country, and written numerous articles in their nationwide publication, the ABI Journal. Jeremy is also an author and editor of ABI Quick Evidence Manual (2nd ed. 2018).

He has taught business law at the University of Maine School of Law, serves on numerous civic and professional boards and committees, and regularly appears as a political analyst on local TV and radio.

In his free time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons – especially if it’s active time outside – whether it’s a game of pond hockey, backyard baseball, hiking, or even yard work. He also enjoys giving back through public service work. Prior to joining Drummond Woodsum, he served three terms in the Maine Legislature and was the House Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Since leaving office, he has focused on public education issues. He is the board chair for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, an organization that supports at risk youth to succeed in their education and careers. He also serves on the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Educate Maine’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee, the Maine Early Learning Investment Group, the Yarmouth Education Foundation, and the University of Maine School of Law Board of Visitors.

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James S. Feltman

Managing Director, Restructuring Advisory
Kroll, LLC

James (Jim) Feltman is a managing director in the Restructuring Advisory practice. His practice is focused on providing fiduciary, advisory consulting and expert witness testimony in the areas of insolvency, restructuring, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, asset tracing and recovery, accounting and financial statement reporting issues, causes of action against officers, directors and third parties, securities fraud, misrepresentation, and hedging and trading in complex securities schemes.

Based in New York, Jim has more than 30 years of experience in a broad range of litigation, forensic and investigative services.

He has substantial experience leading cross-border forensic and investigative engagements on behalf of U.S. and foreign government agencies and is an established expert in determining the underlying fact pattern, establishing liability and determining damages in myriad engagements.

Jim has served as an appointed fiduciary with a branch of the United States Department of Justice spanning nearly 30 years. He has been appointed as an advisor by both Federal (U.S. District and U.S. Bankruptcy) and State Courts, served as an arbitrator and mediator and has been appointed as a Monitor by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Recently, Jim was named a Top 25 Consultant in the "Excellence in Client Service" category for 2015 by Consulting Magazine.

Prior to joining Kroll, Jim had over two decades of experience with Big 4 Accounting firms, and was previously a partner at Mesirow Financial, Arthur Andersen LLP and KPMG LLP.

Jim earned a M.P.S. from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Hon. Janet S. Baer

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois

Hon. Janet S. Baer is a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, appointed on March 5, 2012. She also acts on a regular basis as the presiding judge in the Northern District of Illinois for naturalization ceremonies. Previously, Judge Baer was a restructuring lawyer for more than 25 years and was involved in some of the most significant chapter 11 bankruptcy cases in the country. The majority of her practice focused on the representation of large, publicly held debtors in both restructuring and chapter 11 matters, and she also represented companies in commercial litigation matters, including lender liability, fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Prior to forming her own firm in 2009, Judge Baer was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Winston & Strawn and Schwartz, Cooper, Greenberger & Krauss. She is currently judicial chair of ABI’s Seventh Circuit Eugene R. Wedoff Consumer Bankruptcy Conference, a member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges’ Membership Services and Marketing Committees, a Seventh Circuit representative-elect of the NCBJ Board of Governors, a board member of the Chicago chapter of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation, chair of the Northern District of Illinois Bankruptcy Court’s Local Rules Committee, a board member of Chicago CARE (Credit Abuse Resistance Education) and a member of the Chicago Bankruptcy Court Liaison Committee. She is also a frequent speaker for ABI, ABA, the Chicago Bar Association, IWIRC and the Turnaround Management Association.

Judge Baer earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her J.D. from DePaul College of Law.

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