Updated: Nov. 7, 2018

Creditor Debtor Rights Section

The Creditor Debtor Rights Section offers its members numerous opportunities to stay current on relevant legal issues, comment on legislation, and participate in pro bono activities.

Section members represent a diverse array of individuals and businesses working as debtors, debtors-in-possession, secured and unsecured creditors, creditors' committees, receivers, trustees, asset purchasers, and examiners in all facets of creditor-debtor law.

On this site you will find links to additional information concerning the Section, including administration and governance; seminars, such as The Annual Northwest Bankruptcy Institute and the Pacific Northwest's premier seminar for insolvency counsel (cosponsored with the Oregon State Bar); Section projects, such as the annual grant award to associations that promote the mission of the Section; and legislative updates and news.

Annual Report



Section Info Sheet


Section Newsletter

Spring 2018 │ Summer 2017  │  Fall 2016  │  Fall 2015

The 2017 Northwest Bankruptcy Institute

Three familiar bankruptcy institute presenters and a new face highlighted last year's event, which was held in April. Professor Nancy Rapoport returned with more ethics, Professor Laurie Levenson brought her interactive and engaging evidence session to the institute, and Eric Brunstad shared U.S. Supreme Court cases every bankruptcy attorney should know. Newcomer Patrick Maxcy joined a panel that included retired bankruptcy judge Elizabeth Perris for a session on insurance in bankruptcy. Four breakout sessions offered the latest on ethics, means testing, receiverships, and the Chapter 13 national plan. University of Oregon School of Law professor Erik Girvan provided insight about implicit bias at Friday’s lunch presentation, and last year’s institute welcomed Oregon and Washington’s two newest bankruptcy judges to the Judges Panel. The full program schedule and faculty are available here.

Cosponsored by the Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section and the Washington State Bar Association Creditor Debtor Rights Section.

Legislative Updates

The only institution with a statewide membership involved in creditor-debtor practice, the Creditor Debtor Rights Section routinely provides consultation for comment on proposed legislation, court rules, and administration of the courts. Members have been active in drafting and proposing legislation in areas such as garnishment, exemptions, and receiverships.

Updated Washington Receivership Amendments as of Aug. 10, 2016

2018-2019 Grant Program 

Application Process Open

Members of the WSBA Creditor Debtor Rights Section recognize the importance for all individuals to have access to legal services. Many Section members are actively involved in providing expertise to legal services for low-income individuals, both through direct representation and/or educational programs. 

The Section's grant program, which was established in 2004, financially assists in the ongoing operation of community-service programs which provide access to legal services for individuals who face financial constraints and/or other limitations. The program is targeted to Washington state nonprofit organization operating programs which offer legal services addressing creditor-debtor issues, either through direct representation and/or financial education programs. A total of up to $20,000 in grant funds is available annually. See the list of prior grant recipients.

The WSBA Creditor Debtor Rights Grant Application 2018-2019 is available now, and it is due to be completed and submitted on or before Dec. 1, 2018.  

Executive Committee

Officers serve two-year terms.

ChairKevin O'Rourke


RecorderWilliam Malaier, Jr.

Immediate Past ChairThomas S. Linde

Young Lawyer LiaisonEli Enger*

Board of Governors Liaison: Paul Swegle*

Pos. 1 Eastern District
Rebecca Sheppard (2018-2019)

Pos. 2 Eastern District
Melissa Williams (2018-2019)

Pos. 3 Northern Division of Western District
Thomas Neeleman (2018-2019)

Pos. 4 King County

Todd Tracy (2018-2019)

Pos. 5 King County
Ruth Nelson (2017-2019)

Pos. 6 Southern Division of Western District
Alexander Kleinberg (2018-2019)

Pos. 7 Southern Division of Western District
Megan Rue (2017-2019)

Pos. 8 Eastern Division At-Large
David Kazemba (2017-2019)

Pos. 9 Western District At-Large
John Kaplan (2017-2019)

Newsletter Editor
Mark Northrup

*Non-voting member

Please contact subcommittee member for details on their upcoming meeting dates and locations.

To join the Section list serve and for general questions, please contact sections@wsba.org. For questions about the Section and to get involved, please contact Section Chair Kevin O'Rourke.