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Craig D. Robins, Esq. New York Bankruptcy Attorney, Longisland bankruptcy attorney

“ Craig D. Robins, Esq., has been a practicing Long Island bankruptcy attorney for over twenty-four years ”

Craig D. Robins, Esq.

Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

All New York Bankruptcy Attorneys File Bankruptcy Petitions Electronically

Posted on Tuesday (August 4, 2009) at 5:00 pm to Bankruptcy Practice
Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

All New York Bankruptcy Attorneys File Bankruptcy Petitions ElectronicallyWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
Since 2003, the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court has required all Long Island bankruptcy attorneys to file their clients’ bankruptcy petitions electronically — that means by computer over the internet.
Known as Electronic Case Filing, or E.C.F., this has made the filing process extremely efficient.  After my client signs his or her bankruptcy petition, one of my paralegals makes an electronic file copy of it (called a PDF copy) which we then send to the bankruptcy court’s computer right from our desk.
Not all attorneys are permitted to file electronically.  Attorneys must register with the bankruptcy court and take a seminar that the court offers before being allowed to use this filing system.
With electronic case filing, in an emergency, a bankruptcy petition can be filed in minutes without leaving the office.
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How Are Long Island Bankruptcy Judges Appointed?

Posted on Sunday (July 5, 2009) at 9:30 am to Central Islip Bankruptcy Court & Judges
Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

Long Island Bankruptcy Judges are selected by the Second Circuit Court of AppealsWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
There are three bankruptcy judges in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court and four bankruptcy judges in the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court.  Each of these judges has been appointed for a 14-year term.  Here’s how they got there.
Bankruptcy court judges are federal judges.  They are considered judicial officers of the U.S. District Court.  Congress determines the number of bankruptcy judges in any jurisdiction.  I previously wrote that this country’s bankruptcy judges are overwhelmed with cases because Congress has not designated any new bankruptcy judgeships since 1992 — see Are Bankruptcy Judges Overworked? .
When there is a vacancy to an existing bankruptcy judgeship, as there was in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court two years ago when Judge Cyganowski and Judge Bernstein retired, the Court of Appeals for our jurisdiction, which is the Second Circuit, advertises public notice and solicits applications on a national level.  Applicants, who are typically bankruptcy attorneys, can then submit applications to become a bankruptcy judge. 
A screening committee which is set up by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals then reviews the applications and makes recommendations based on those individuals best qualified to serve as a bankruptcy judge.  This committee consists of a panel of circuit judges and district court judges from our district. 
The screening committee will then make its final recommendations to a committee of judges in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  A majority of judges in the Circuit Court then appoints the new judge.
Several weeks thereafter, the chief circuit court judge will administer an oath to the candidate and swear in the new bankruptcy court judge.
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Are Bankruptcy Judges Overworked?

Posted on Tuesday (June 16, 2009) at 2:47 pm to Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

Bankruptcy judges are currently overworkedWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
These days bankruptcy judges are very overworked.  The number of bankruptcy filings in recent years has skyrocketed; yet, Congress has not added any new bankruptcy judges since 1992.
In addition, the Bankruptcy Amendment Act of 2005 made bankruptcy law much more complex and created numerous issues that continue to be actively litigated today, taking up the court’s valuable time.  The new bankruptcy laws not only make the filing experience more time consuming for debtors, but they also require the court to spend more time ensuring compliance as a result of the increased complexity of the new laws.
One of the organizations that I am a member of is the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA).  They are the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.
This morning, NACBA President Carey Ebert testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the need for additional bankruptcy judgeships.  She advised Congress that the number of bankruptcy cases are increasing, but the number of judges has remained the same.  The bulging bankruptcy caseloads from consumers seeking financial relief in these recessionary times will soon start putting a serious strain on the bankruptcy courts.
Judicial resources such as having a sufficient number of bankruptcy judges are necessary to effectively and efficiently adjudicate the rights and responsibilities of parties in bankruptcy cases and proceedings.
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Brooklyn Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees

Posted on Thursday (June 4, 2009) at 11:15 am to Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

Brooklyn Chapter 7 Bankruptcy TrusteesWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
I previously provided details on the panel of Chapter 7 trustees for the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court. (Long Island Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees )
The other bankruptcy court in the Eastern District of New York is the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court.
Below is a list of the active Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees on the panel for the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of New York, which covers bankruptcies for residents of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees – Brooklyn
• David J. Doyaga, Esq.
• Robert L. Geltzer, Esq.
• Lori Lapin Jones, Esq.
• Debra Kramer, Esq.
• Paul Krohn, Esq.
• Richard McCord, Esq.
• Gregory Messer, Esq.
• Robert Musso, Esq.
• Alan Nisselson, Esq.
• Richard O’Connell, Esq.
• John S. Pereira, Esq.
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How Much Do Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees Get Paid?

Posted on Wednesday (May 27, 2009) at 10:25 am to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

How Much Do Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees Get Paid?Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
Anyone filing bankruptcy will wonder, “how does a bankruptcy trustee get compensated for the work that he does,” and “who pays the trustee.”
Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees are compensated in several ways.
First, they receive a portion of the Chapter 7 filing fee that is paid to the court.  The filing fee is $299.  The trustee receives $60 of that.  Most cases are “no-asset” cases, meaning that the trustee will not seek to liquidate any assets.  In those cases, the only compensation the trustee will receive will be the $60.
In addition, if the bankruptcy trustee does liquidate an asset in the bankruptcy proceeding, the trustee will receive a “trustee commission” based on a sliding scale statutory formula which is set forth in Bankruptcy Code section 326.  The commission compensation is based on how much income the trustee brings into the bankruptcy estate.
According to the statutory bankruptcy commission formula, the Chapter 7 trustee will receive:
25% of the first $5,000;
10% of the next $45,000;
5% of the next $950,000; and
3% of the balance.
Finally, the trustee is entitled to be paid for any legal services that he performs in order to collect and liquidate assets.  Some trustees will hire other law firms to do this work, whereas other trustees will basically hire themselves.
A trustee cannot be paid a commission or legal fees unless he makes an application to the court and receives approval from the bankruptcy judge. Commissions and trustee legal fees are paid out of the funds raised by the trustee for the bankruptcy estate.
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How Much Do Long Island Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustees Earn? 2008 Statistics for Trustees Michael J. Macco and Marianne DeRosa

Posted on Sunday (May 3, 2009) at 10:26 pm to Bankruptcy Statistics
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Info on Bankruptcy and the Court
Lawyer to Lawyer

 2008 Statistics for Long Island Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustees Michael J. Macco and Marianne DeRosa
Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
How much do the Long Island Chapter 13 trustees earn each year?
How many cases to they have?
What are their expenses?
Here are the answers
The United States Trustee Program, which is administered by the United States Department of Justice, requires all Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees to report detailed figures about their office finances, as well as the distribution of funds collected through Chapter 13 plans.
There are only two Chapter 13 trustees on Long Island
On Long Island, there are only two standing Chapter 13 trustees: Long Island bankruptcy lawyer Michael Macco, who also maintains a private bankruptcy practice in Melville (Macco & Stern), and Marianne DeRosa, who limits her practice of law to Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee matters.  These two chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees carry the entire Chapter 13 caseload for all of the bankruptcy courts in the Eastern District of New York, which include Central Islip and Brooklyn.
Audited report reveals interesting data
According to the audited report covering 2008, which was just released last week, here are some of the more interesting details:
 How much do the trustees earn?
Both Michael Macco and Marianne DeRosa each earned a salary of $177,526.  This figure is the maximum possible salary that a Chapter 13 trustee can earn in this country, and it is set by statute.
Which trustee is more generous with salaries?
Marianne DeRosa paid employee salaries of $512,826, whereas Michael Macco paid salaries of $363,600.
Which trustee had more cases in 2008?
If Marianne DeRosa paid out much greater salaries, did this mean she had a much busier office?  At the end of 2008 she had 1,639 Chapter 13 cases, whereas Michael Macco had a hundred less – 1,568 cases. 
During the year, Marianne DeRosa received 1,924 new cases while Michael Macco received 1,786.
Which trustee talks more and sends out more mail?
As we all know, Michael Macco talks a lot and probably sends out more motions to dismiss.  His phone bill and postage expense was much more: $35,456 compared to Marianne DeRosa’s at $22,647.
The total cost to run Marianne DeRosa’s office in 2008 was $1,007,605, whereas the office cost for Michael Macco was $760,525.
 Which trustee had the most cases dismissed in 2008?
Chapter 13 trustees bring many motions to dismiss, and many of them are successful.  In 2008, Marianne DeRosa had 1,275 of her cases dismissed prior to confirmation and 219 dismissed post-confirmation.  Michael Macco had 1,131 cases dismissed prior to confirmation and 260 dismissed post-confirmation.
How many debtors actually completed their plans? 
With Michael Macco as trustee, there were 170 cases with completed plans in 2008.  However, Marianne DeRosa had a much higher success rate for the year – 250 cases.
How much money did the trustees take in?
During 2008, Marianne DeRosa took in a total of $13,108,881, whereas Michael Macco took in $11,449,324.
How much did the trustees pay out in attorney’s fees?
This may come as a surprise to many.  Michael Macco paid out the higher amount – $946,588 to Marianne DeRosa’s 715,265.
What was the actual commission amount?
Although all plans provide for a 10% commission to the trustee, the actual amount is based on what the trustee’s expenses actually were.  With both trustees, this amount was 9.7%.
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Long Island Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees

Posted on Monday (February 2, 2009) at 11:22 am to Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

Chapter 7 Long Island Bankruptcy Trustees (Central Islip)Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.

Chapter 7 trustees are generally bankruptcy attorneys who have applied to the Office of the United States Trustee to become a trustee. There are currently only nine active Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees on all of Long Island. This is much less than the 17 trustees we had for most of the 1990’s.

The Chapter 7 trustees are assigned to a “panel of trustees.” When a Long Island debtor files a chapter 7 petition in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court, the clerk’s office randomly assigns one of the trustees on the panel to the case.

Even though the term for a Chapter 7 trustee is just one year, the Office of the United States Trustee has not created any new openings for trustees in over 17 years. Trustees can seek to have their terms rolled over for successive one-year periods. During the past 17 years, several trustees retired or sought removal from the panel.

 Below is a list of the active Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees on the panel of trustees for the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of New York, which covers bankruptcies filed on Long Island.

  • Neil H. Ackerman, Esq
  • R. Kenneth Barnard, Esq.
  • Kenneth Kirschenbaum, Esq.
  • Allan B. Mendelsohn, Esq.
  • Marc Allen Pergament, Esq.
  • Robert L. Pryor, Esq.
  • Kenneth P. Silverman, Esq.
  • Richard L. Stern, Esq.
  • Andrew M. Thaler, Esq.

 Here are some former trustees who are no longer on the panel.

  • Bonita R. Bequet, Esq. (removed from panel. Moved out of state)
  • Marilyn A. Frier, Esq. (retired)
  • C. Steven Hackeling, Esq. (removed from panel. Now a state court judge)
  • Robert Lifson, Esq. (removed from panel. Now a state court judge)
  • Ronald Lipshie, Esq. (deceased)
  • Richard J. McCord, Esq. (removed from panel for Long Island. On panel for Brooklyn)
  • Gregory Messer, Esq. (removed from panel for Long Island. On panel for Brooklyn)
  • Ed Zinker, Esq. (removed from panel)
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New Bankruptcy Judges Meet Bankruptcy Bar

Posted on Thursday (June 12, 2008) at 6:20 pm to Info on Bankruptcy and the Court
Suffolk Lawyer

New Bankruptcy Court Judges in Central Islip Bankruptcy Court, Long IslandWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.

In my column last month, I provided some background information on Judge Alan S. Trust, who was sworn in on April 2, 2008. Two weeks later, Robert E. Grossman was sworn in as our other new bankruptcy judge. He began sitting on the bench on May 1, 2008. These judges replace Judge Melanie Cyganowski and Judge Stan Bernstein, who both retired from the bench last year.

Association Hosts Meet and Greet

The Suffolk County Bar Association sponsored a “meet and greet” event last month to introduce our two new bankruptcy judges to the bankruptcy bar. Several dozen bankruptcy practitioners attended, eager to meet and greet the new judges.

Judge Grossman Just Sworn In

Judge Grossman, like Judge Trust, hails from a practice that concentrates in commercial and corporate bankruptcy matters.

Before ascending to the bench, Judge Grossman was a partner at Duane Morris LLP, a large, national, business-oriented firm with about 650 attorneys. There he practiced in the area of corporate law, business reorganization, financial restructuring and litigation. A significant part of his practice focused on providing advice to troubled or newly restructured companies and investors, with respect to their financing needs.

He began his legal career as a government lawyer at the Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. enforcing laws pertaining to corporate finance. Before joining Duane Morris, Judge Grossman was chair of the restructuring practice group at Arent Fox, another large national firm. A graduate of Rider University, he earned his J.D. in 1973 from Brooklyn Law School.

Judge Grossman was also a recent vice chair of the International Secured Transactions and Insolvency Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of International law.

Judge Grossman Entertains Crowd

Engaging in informal discussions with the attorneys at the meet and greet, Judge Grossman told stories about his some of his cases, attorneys he had dealt with, and his children.

In discussing his bankruptcy practice, Judge Grossman commented that he truly liked bankruptcy matters and felt totally content working in this field. His practice involved cases primarily in the Southern District, and he believed that “crossing the border” meant going to court in New Jersey.

Addressing some of his philosophies about practicing law, he commented on the importance of treating counsel and adversaries with respect and emphasized that he would expect no less from attorneys appearing before him. “I will treat litigants and those who come before me as I would like to be treated,” he said.

He also emphasized that lawyers should be prepared, that they should succinctly explain their case, and that they should keep things moving, noting that “delay doesn’t do any good.”

He also shared some information about his family – he has twin daughters, one who married five years ago and one who just got married. One of them had twins herself. He joked that he was glad his daughters got married and was now looking forward to spending more time with his large-screen TV.

So Does Judge Trust

Judge Trust also held court with those eager to learn more about him. However, contrary to Judge Grossman, Judge Trust was slightly more reserved about his personal life, but joked about it saying, “the rest of the info about me is still sealed. You’ll have to file a FOIL request to get anything.”

A native of Texas since 1984, Judge Trust explained that it was proper protocol in Texas courts for counsel to ask the judge, “may I be excused,” at the conclusion of their case. When asked if he expected counsel here to do so, he joked, “it depends how much you want to brownnose.”

Judge Trust highlighted his desire to develop a more efficient way of running the Courthouse and how cases there are processed. Citing an example, he said, “we’ve all paid attention to consumer practitioners by scheduling lift stay motions on dates when we anticipate you’ll be in the Courthouse.”

He also noted that he posted some very specific chambers rules, which can be viewed on the Court’s official website. He drew attention to a new rule that telephone calls to chambers are now prohibited. Saying that, “some people will call and some will not, I want to eliminate the perception that there will be some advantage to calling chambers.” He also thought that chamber’s staff is too busy to have to deal with calls and would be better off spending time dedicated to moving calendars along. He said that if counsel wanted to make a request, they could do so by e-mail.

Judge Trust also commented that he was hoping to create an open dialogue with the bankruptcy bar and hoped to get around to creating a forum to do so in the near future.

Update on Judge Cyganowski

This past week, Former Chief Bankruptcy Judge Melanie Cyganowski joined the law firm of Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C. as a partner. When she left the bench last year, she had joined the firm Greenberg Traurig . She has now jumped firms to become a member of Otterbourg’s creditors’ rights and insolvency practice group.

In a statement, Judge Cyganowski remarked, “After being on the bench for fourteen years, I have seen just about every creditors’ rights issue from every viewpoint and understand how cases can take different twists and turns. It’s a unique perspective that I believe translates well into private practice.”

Of her new firm, Cyganowski noted, “Otterbourg has experience and expertise that rivals any large financial law firm and surpasses many. Its focus on the creditors’ rights field meant it has been part of most major bankruptcies, whether representing a creditors’ committee, secured or unsecured creditors, a lender or a potential buyer of assets. I am greatly looking forward to being able to contribute to the practice.”

Incidentally, Judge Cyganowski’s predecessor, Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein, chaired Otterbourg’s creditors’ rights and insolvency department before moving to the bench, about twenty-five years ago.

About the Author.  Long Island Bankruptcy Attorney Craig D. Robins, Esq., is a regular columnist for the Suffolk Lawyer, the official publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association in New York. This article appeared in the June 2008 issue of the Suffolk Lawyer. Mr. Robins is a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented thousands of consumer and business clients during the past twenty years. He has offices in Medford, Commack, Woodbury and Valley Stream. (516) 496-0800. For information about filing bankruptcy on Long Island, please visit his Bankruptcy web site: http://www.BankruptcyCanHelp.com.

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Craig D. Robins, Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, who is focused primarily on helping individuals and families, find solutions to their debt problems. Read more »


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Craig D. Robins, Esq.
35 Pinelawn Road, Suite 218E, Melville, NY 11747.

Tel : 516 - 496 - 0800