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Jeanne Serrano
Charter Member
Bankruptcy Law

2103 redwood street, Suite 206, Vallejo, CA 94590


Paul Shankman
Featured Lawyer
Bankruptcy Law

650 Town Center Drive, Suite 1530, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Paul Shankman is Of Counsel at Fortis LLP. Mr. Shankman represents clients in a broad range of business litigation matters in bankruptcy, federal, and state courts. These matters include actions involving several areas of law regarding disputed contracts, alleged fraud, partnership disputes, preferential and fraudulent transfer actions, federal and state court receiverships, prominent bankruptcy trustees, commercial, institutional and private lenders, and hedge funds, among numerous diverse businesses and their owners in debt collection, restructuring, liquidations, trials, arbitrations, and mediations. While attending law school, Mr. Shankman was privileged to serve as a Legal Extern Clerk to the Honorable Calvin K. Ashland, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California, who ultimately served as Presiding Judge for the Central District of California and on the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. Mr. Shankman prepared hundreds of disputed and litigated matters before the Court for judicial review and determination. He was mentored directly by Judge Ashland and by the Judge’s esteemed Career Law Clerk, Kathleen Thompson, who was subsequently appointed to serve as a Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California for 23 years and who also was appointed to serve on the Bankruptcy Appellate for the Ninth Circuit. Upon Judge Ashland’s recommendation and positive reference, Mr. Shankman practiced for nearly nine years with the prestigious bankruptcy and commercial collections law firm of SulmeyerKupetz (formerly Sulmeyer, Kupetz, Baumann and Rothman) in Los Angeles. Mr. Shankman immediately became heavily involved in representing Arnold Kupetz, Trustee in a complex real estate Ponzi Scheme case involving over ten thousands fraud victims who invested in concocted fractionalized interests in deeds of trust secured by several real properties. The owner of the company in fact personally stole most of the funds invested and was ultimately incarcerated on related Federal Charges. Mr. Shankman was instrumental in assisting the Trustee in recovering millions of dollars for the defrauded creditors, as well as for the Trustee and his firm for legal fees and costs. This was the beginning of a very exciting career where Mr. Shankman also successfully represented Trustees Irving Sulmeyer and Max Rush (who co-authored many provisions of the 1978 United States Bankruptcy Code and Rules enacted by Congress), as well as Mr. Kupetz, in many more complex contested matters to recover assets totaling several millions of dollars for the benefit of creditors. In addition, Mr. Shankman represented numerous business clients in chapter 11 cases in various industries to restructure their debts through plans of reorganization and asset sales. Mr. Shankman was responsible for conducting and responding to voluminous written and deposition discovery, evidentiary hearings, and co-chairing trials before the Bankruptcy, Federal, and State Courts. Mr. Shankman also represented several creditors in commercial collection matters before the State Court. He was also then and to date deputized to conduct Examinations of several hundred chapter 7 debtors on behalf of Trustees by the United States Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee. Concurrently, Mr. Shankman successfully completed a rigorous Certification Examination in Business Bankruptcy and related Litigation and is certified in same by the American Board of Certification of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Subsequently, Mr. Shankman shifted his practice to representing numerous local, regional, and national businesses institutional lenders in several trials over distressed debt secured by real and personal property, in addition to complex contract and disputed fraud issues in Los Angeles with the late Hugh Biele through his retirement. Mr. Shankman continued representing national lenders through several contested matters during his association with Miede Sexton in Irvine (until its dissolution). Mr. Shankman practiced complex Trustee and Business Reorganization and litigation representation in San Bernardino and Riverside with the highly respected Firm of Hanover and Schnitzer and withWeinstein, Eisen and Levine in Century City, before joining forces with James Andrew Hinds, Jr. for a successful career of over twenty years in the same complex areas of financial law and litigation before numerous state, bankruptcy, and Federal courts. Mr. Shankman has spoken frequently on Panels and in Presentations at several prominent law and accounting firms, the California Association of CPA’s, and at many Provisors Group Meetings regarding many topical issues related to financial law and litigation. He currently serves on the Executive Committees of the Newport Beach Group and LGBT Affinity Group of Provisors. He is also an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, American Bar Association, Financial Lawyers Conference, California Bankruptcy Forum, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, Orange County Bar Association, Association for Corporate Growth-Orange County, Orange County Transactional Network, and the Foreign Trade Association. Mr. Shankman is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Paul Shankman
Charter Member
Bankruptcy Law

650 Town Center Drive, Suite 1530, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Frances Smith
Featured Lawyer
Bankruptcy Law

700 N. Pearl Street, Suite 1610, Dallas, TX 75201


Frances Smith represents a variety of clients in U.S. Bankruptcy Courts located in Texas and throughout the country. Her extensive legal experience includes work for debtors, secured lenders, unsecured creditor committees, trustees and asset purchasers, including representing such clients as real estate developers, a popular fast casual restaurant chain, a Texas-based shortline railroad, and several regional and national banks. In addition to her bankruptcy work, Ms. Smith consults with companies and individuals on out-of-court restructurings and the best practices for avoiding lawsuits related to debt-collection laws. A sought-after expert on bankruptcy and credit matters, Ms. Smith is frequently called on by members of the media for her insightful legal perspectives, including prior interviews with news outlets such as Dallas? KTVT CBS 11 News, KDFW Fox 4 News, The Dallas Morning News and others. In 2011, the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas presented Ms. Smith with the Romina L. Mulloy-Bossio Achievement Award, which is presented annually to the state?s top young bankruptcy lawyer. From August 2001 through September 2002, Ms. Smith served as a judicial clerk for the Hon. Barbara J. Houser, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for Northern District of Texas. Ms. Smith is a contributing legal expert for, an online collaboration dedicated to providing in-depth firsthand knowledge to consumers. Topics she?s addressed on include how creditors can protect their rights and minimize risks in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Ms. Smith?s legal accomplishments include: Working on behalf of a Plano-based real estate development company to resolve liabilities with various creditors as part of the company?s Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. Advocating for a bank that was a secured creditor in a trucking company?s Chapter 11 reorganization. On behalf of her bank client, Ms. Smith negotiated the return of extensive collateral and secured a schedule of monthly adequate protection payments from the trucking company. Representing an international brokerage firm in several bankruptcy cases across the country, including negotiating with bankruptcy trustees to obtain favorable settlements in various U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Assisting an individual in acquiring the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (brewer of Iron City Beer) through Chapter 11 reorganization. Ms. Smith was responsible for managing the case, drafting a reorganization plan and related disclosure statement, working with local counsel, and negotiating claims with various creditors. Working on behalf of an Austin-based owner and franchisor of more than 500 casual dining restaurants, in its Chapter 11 reorganization. Ms. Smith was responsible for managing the case, which included overseeing the work of fellow lawyers; drafting substantive motions, legal memoranda and briefs; and negotiating and litigating claims, including the winning a contested hearing on administrative expense claims. Representing Link Energy in its pre-negotiated Chapter 11 proceedings, including a lead role in arguing hearings and handling post-confirmation matters. Ms. Smith was responsible for settling, litigating and negotiating more than 12,000 individual claims in the case. Defending a capital management firm in preference litigation related to the Brook Mays Music Company bankruptcy reorganization. Ms. Smith?s work resulted in the court dismissing the lawsuit against her client with prejudice and its decision to award zero damages to the plaintiff.

Joseph Steinfeld, Jr.
Charter Member
Bankruptcy Law

2600 Eagan Woods Drive, Suite 400, St. Paul, MN 55121