National Updates and Insights
Saturday, May 21st, 8:15 am – 9:15 am
Henry J. Sommer is Supervising Attorney at the pro bono Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project in Philadelphia. He has litigated many major cases involving bankruptcy, consumer law, civil rights and other issues. Previously, he was the head of the Consumer Law Project at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where he worked for over 21 years. Mr. Sommer has also served as a Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and is an Adjunct Professor at Temple University School of Law. He received his A.B. degree from Harvard College, magna cum laude and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude.
Mr. Sommer is Editor in Chief of Collier on Bankruptcy and the entire Collier line of bankruptcy publications. He is the author of Collier Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Guide (Matthew Bender); Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, (9th Ed. 2009) published by the National Consumer Law Center, Boston, Ma., and Consumer Bankruptcy: The Complete Guide to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy (John Wiley & Sons 1994) as well as numerous articles on bankruptcy law. He is the co-author of Collier Family Law and the Bankruptcy Code (Matthew Bender).
Mr. Sommer is a former President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), a former member of the Federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules (appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) and a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference. He is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, a member of the American Law Institute, and a former member of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council. He is also President of the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center and a former Chairman of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference.
He has been asked to testify many times before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, on bankruptcy and consumer law issues. He has served on the faculty of numerous continuing legal education programs including those presented by the Federal Judicial Center, NYU Law School, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, the Executive Office of U.S. Trustees, the ABA Family Law Section, NACBA, ALI-ABA and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Mr. Sommer was the first recipient of the National Consumer Law Center’s Vern Countryman Consumer Law Award.
Maureen Thompson is a senior principal of The Hastings Group LLC, a 20-year-old strategic communications consulting firm that has handled a wide range of Hill, coalition management, investor education, public relations and Web campaigns for a variety of financial-related issues and organizations. For more than adecade, Ms. Thompson has served as NACBA’s legislative director. In that capacity, she has helped build a strong coalition of organizations that support the work of bankruptcy attorneys in seeking a fair bankruptcy code that recognizes the importance of a ‘fresh start” for individuals and families facing extreme financial difficulties. Thompson works with NACBA Board and its Legislative Committee to develop and implement a legislative strategy for each Congress.
Jonathan Yarowsky provides strategic advice to clients in an array of areas including antitrust, telecommunications policy, intellectual property, and administrative practice and procedure. Mr. Yarowsky also maintains a robust practice in congressional investigations as well as in antitrust representation. He joined WilmerHale after holding a number of senior-level positions in federal government, including Special Counsel to former President Clinton, General Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law.
Mr. Yarowsky joined private practice in 1998 after serving as a Special Counsel to former President Clinton, where he advised on legislative and policy matters, including telecommunications, antitrust and crime policy matters. In his work at the White House, among other policy duties, Yarowsky directed the selection and confirmation of federal judicial nominees.
Prior to his position at the White House, Mr. Yarowsky served as General Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary. During his five-year tenure there, he supervised a staff of 40 lawyers and was responsible for developing legislative policy agenda and overseeing the work of six subcommittees in the areas of: administrative law; constitutional law and civil rights; crime and criminal justice; economic and commercial law; intellectual property and judicial administration; and international law and immigration. In addition, during this period Mr. Yarowsky also developed a series of antitrust bills that were enacted into law, and developed other legislative initiatives in the areas of telecommunications, financial services, insurance, banking, civil justice and international trade.
Prior to serving in the House, Mr. Yarowsky was Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, where he gained extensive experience in antitrust and competition policy, and worked closely with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Yarowsky is a 1977 graduate of UCLA Law School. In 1974, he received an MS from Cornell University. He received an AB from the University of Michigan, summa cum laude, in 1971.