Arizona Bankruptcy American Inn of Court

Collaboration with sister bar organizations serves a dual purpose: It raises an Inn’s profile, creating interest for potential new members, and it provides Inn members with exciting opportunities to interact with a wider audience.

Since its inception in 2011, the Arizona Bankruptcy American Inn of Court in Phoenix has collaborated with the Arizona State Bar Bankruptcy Section to present a one-and-a-half-hour ethics program at the State Bar’s annual convention in June. The format changes every year to ensure that the audience is not sitting through another panel of talking heads, and the Inn always adds some levity to the proceedings. The Inn recruits six to eight associate members from different pupillage groups to present.

This experience fosters teamwork, introduces associates to their non-Inn colleagues, and develops their presentation skills. The participants report that creating, researching, and presenting in front of the bankruptcy bar is a rewarding inter-pupillage bonding experience. The associates are mentored and coached by two masters of the Inn, and more often than not, honorary member Judge Daniel P. Collins serves as master of ceremonies.

Presentations have run the gamut from game shows, videos followed by audience discussion, head-to-head oral arguments, and most recently a takeoff on the TV show “The Office,” complete with one presenter standing up and shouting “I declare bankruptcy!” Coach Joseph Cotterman commented on how the convention ethics panel furthers the Inn’s mission: “The project was only a little more work, but a lot more fun, than I expected it would be. Working with colleagues new and old in this setting was immensely fulfilling in a unique way that will enhance and improve both the working relationships among bench and bar, and by extension, the effective and professional operation and function of the Arizona bankruptcy court and cases.”

Photo caption: The Arizona Bankruptcy American Inn of Court Ethics Team, from left to right, is Judge Daniel P. Collins (master of ceremonies and coordinator); Cody Vandewerker, Esq.; Helen Santilli, Esq.; Hilary L. Barnes, Esq. (coach); Joseph E. Cotterman, Esq. (coach); Jillian Hindo, Esq.; Michael Rolland, Esq.; Michael Galen, Esq.; and Parham Hakimi, Esq.