An article in Rochelle’s Daily Wire features Jenner & Block’s pro bono efforts to assist a “hapless debtor” who endured a trial, two appeals and a remand proceeding to discharge $112,000 in student loans. Thanks to Partner Catherine L. Steege and Special Counsel Carl N. Wedoff, along with firm alum and retired bankruptcy judge Eugene Wedoff, the debtor is on the brink of discharging her loans. “Without pro bono counsel, this debtor never would have discharged her student loans... This writer submits that something is wrong with a system that requires a debtor to go through so much for so long and with no chance of success were it not for the generosity of distinguished lawyers from the top ranks of the bankruptcy bar,” reads the article.
Our Pro Bono Commitment
Jenner & Block Partner Vincent E. Lazar served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Joint Part 190 Rules Subcommittee, a group of lawyers, market participants and regulators who worked to rewrite the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulations governing commodity broker bankruptcy cases.
The ABA subcommittee started its work in 2015, formally submitted a new set of proposed rules to the CFTC in 2017, and continued to work with the CFTC thereafter to refine the proposal. On April 14, 2020, the full commission unanimously approved the proposed rules for public comment, with final approval slated for later this summer. Several commissioners and CFTC leadership recognized the pro bono work of the ABA subcommittee at the April 14 public commission meeting.
To learn more, see the CFTC’s press release here.
Students of the for-profit chain would have nearly $600 million wiped out under a preliminary settlement approved by a federal bankruptcy judge on January 24, 2018. The settlement acknowledges that students who attended the college between 2006 and 2016 have a $1.5 billion claim against ITT, which closed abruptly in 2016. The settlement is expected to be finalized in June.
The team representing the student class in this pro bono matter includes Partners Melissa M. Root, Catherine L. Steege and Brian Hauck; they are serving with Harvard University’s Project on Predatory Student Lending.
“ITT perpetrated a massive fraud on students, lying to them about everything from tuition costs to their own accreditation status, and left thousands of students in massive debt that they never should have had,” said Eileen Connor, a director of litigation at the Project on Predatory Student Lending, in a press release. “This landmark settlement provides important and necessary relief to those students. ITT’s estate has now cancelled the debts of its students because of ITT’s fraudulent actions, and it’s time for the Department of Education and all private holders of ITT debt to do the same.”