The American Bankruptcy Institute’s (ABI’s) Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (DWG) announced that it has commenced its 2023 Mentoring Program to connect active or recently graduated business and law students with ABI past presidents and members who can provide guidance on career and professional development. Launched in 2021, the program brings mentors and mentees together to discuss ethical and confidentiality issues, common practice risks and traps, career goals, time-keeping, client management and development, and negotiation skills.

The 2023 group of mentees includes: 

•    Maria Cho of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Los Angeles)
•    Sameer Alifarag of Pryor Cashman LLP (New York)
•    Trevor C. Mosby of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP (New Orleans)
•    Tomas Blanco-Perez of Ferraiuoli, LLC (San Juan, P.R.)
•    Reginald Sainvil of Baker & McKenzie LLP (Miami)
•    Melina Bales of Jones Day (Dallas)
•    Katelin Morales of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Wilmington, Del.)
•    Jennifer Cruz of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

ABI members volunteering to serve as mentors this year include: 

•    H. Joseph Acosta of Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Dallas)
•    David D. Farrell of Thompson Coburn LLP (St. Louis, Mo.)
•    Ferve E. Khan of BakerHostetler (New York)
•    Gerard R. Luckman of Forchelli Law (Uniondale, N.Y.)
•    Patricia A. Redmond of Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, PA (Miami)
•    Claire Ann Richman of Steinhilber Swanson LLP (Madison, Wis.)
•    Brian L. Shaw of Cozen O'Connor (Chicago)
•    The Honorable Sage M. Sigler (U.S. Bankruptcy Court N.D. Ga.; Atlanta)

ABI’s Mentorship Program will hold formal bi-monthly meetings to discuss a variety of topics with resources from ABI and members of the reorganization community, including judges, trustees, attorneys and accountants. The group meetings will provide an opportunity to interact with other experienced insolvency professionals while offering an educational program and fostering opportunities to discuss important topics in the mentees’ professional development. The mentors and mentees will then meet every other month to discuss such topics as courthouse decorum, attorney/firm interactions, work/life balance, networking, time-management, and any other topics that the mentors/mentees choose.

The DWG’s Mentoring Subcommittee developed this program. This year the Subcommittee will be led by Kimberly A. Posin of Latham & Watkins LLP (Los Angeles) with support from The Honorable Martin Barash (U.S. Bankruptcy Court C.D. Cal.; Woodland Hills), Sonia Colón of Ferraiuoli (Orlando, Fla.), Mariane Dorris of Shuker & Dorris, P.A. (Orlando, Fla.), Zhao (Ruby) Liu of The Rosner Law Group (Wilmington, Del.), Allen Kadish of Archer & Greiner PC (New York), Stephen A. Spitzer of AlixPartners, LLP (New York) and Shanti Katona of Polsinelli (Wilmington, Del.)

The overall mission of the DWG is to develop recommendations for increasing diversity within ABI and its leadership, to help create opportunities for diverse ABI members, and otherwise to promote diversity within ABI and the insolvency profession. The DWG is chaired by Michael Bernstein of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Washington, D.C.) and Shanti Katona of Polsinelli (Wilmington, Del.).