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TMA Florida 2023 Annual Conference: Insight from the Bench and the U.S. Trustee Program


The TMA Florida 2023 Annual Conference is certified for 6.5 CLE & CTP Credits

Two active United States Bankruptcy Judges and an assistant U.S. Trustee for the Middle District of Florida will discuss hot topics and recent developments in the world of bankruptcy and insolvency. Turnaround professionals, lenders, attorneys, and other service providers will all take something away from this excellent panel covering a wide range of topics.

Matthew B. Hale, Shareholder, Stichter, Riedel, Blain and Postler, P.A.
Matthew Hale deals regularly in all aspects of complex commercial insolvency matters, primarily representing debtors, creditors, and other interested parties in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.  Mr. Hale also represents parties in connection with fraudulent transfer actions, preference actions, and litigation against directors and officers. Outside of bankruptcy, Mr. Hale has been involved in state court assignment for the benefit of creditors proceedings, receivership proceedings, real estate litigation, fraudulent transfer litigation, and other general commercial litigation.  He also has transactional experience in workouts and distressed sale transactions.

Matthew Hale joined Stichter, Riedel, Blain & Postler, P.A. in 2015 after serving two years as law clerk to the Honorable Karen S. Jennemann, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Florida.  Mr. Hale received his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Florida State University College of Law, where he served as an editor of the Florida State University Law Review and earned invitation to the Order of the Coif. He received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Economics, from the University of Florida. While in law school, Mr. Hale served as a judicial intern for both Chief Judge Jennemann and the Honorable Arthur B. Briskman, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Florida. He also earned book awards in Federal Jurisdiction, Taxation, Law and Economics, and Supreme Court Opinion Writing.


Guy A. Van Baalen, Assistant United States Trustee - Tampa Office 
Guy A. Van Baalen is the Assistant U.S. Trustee for the Tampa Office, effective August 19, 2019. He succeeds T. Patrick (“Pat”) Tinker, who served as Acting Assistant U.S. Trustee for the Tampa Office since February 2018 and continues to serve as the Assistant U.S. Trustee in Wilmington, Delaware. As a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Trustee Program, Mr. Van Baalen served as a trial attorney and as the Assistant U.S. Trustee for Utica, New York from September 1996 until August 2019. He also served at varying times as the Acting Assistant U.S. Trustee for Brooklyn, New York and Central Islip, New York. Before joining the U.S. Trustee Program, Mr. Van Baalen was in private practice in Buffalo, New York for seven years. 

Mr. Van Baalen received his J.D. from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1982, after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany in 1979. He began his practice with a small commercial law firm where he learned bankruptcy from a senior partner who was also a chapter 7 panel trustee. 

Mr. Van Baalen is active in numerous professional associations and is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy and related topics for various bar associations and at the National Advocacy Center for the United States Trustee Program. 

Mr. Van Baalen is also active in his community, volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations, including the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, New York, where he assumed the role of President of the Board of Directors. He also served as President of the Board for the Clinton (New York) School Board of Education. Mr. Van Baalen is also a current member and Major with the New York Guard, a state militia force, serving as Chief of Operations. He is the father of two grown children and two grandchildren. He loves the outdoors, athletic activities, motorcycle riding and spending time with his grandchildren.


Judge Jacob A. Brown, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida
Judge Jacob Brown received his J.D. from Samford University Cumberland School of Law and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Pulp & Paper Science & Technology from North Carolina State University. Prior to law school, Judge Brown worked as a chemical engineer in manufacturing facilities throughout the southeast and in Alaska.

Judge Brown started his legal career by clerking for Judge Jerry A. Funk in the Jacksonville Division. Before joining the bench, Judge Brown was a partner with Akerman LLLP in Jacksonville, where for over 20 years, he represented secured and unsecured creditors, committees, trustees, and debtors in bankruptcy, and handled commercial litigation and business law matters. Chambers USA, an independent research company that provides detailed rankings and insight into the world’s leading lawyers, noted he is “a deal-maker and an excellent advocate.”
In addition, Judge Brown is active in bar activities. He is a former chair of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar and a past-president of the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association.


Judge Paul W. Bonapfel, United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia
Honorable Paul W. Bonapfel has been a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Georgia since 2002. Prior to his appointment, he practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, with the law firm of Lamberth, Bonapfel, Cifelli & Stokes, P.A., now known as Lamberth, Cifelli, Stokes, Ellis & Nason, P.A. As an attorney, Judge Bonapfel represented all types of parties in both business and consumer bankruptcy cases, including consumer and business debtors in liquidation cases, business debtors in reorganization cases, chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy trustees, creditors' committees, and creditors in both consumer and business cases.

Judge Bonapfel received his B.A. cum laude in government from Florida State University in 1972 and his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1975, where he was Notes Editor of the Georgia Law Review. He was a judicial law clerk for United States District Judge Wilbur D. Owens, Jr., in Macon, Georgia. A fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, Judge Bonapfel has served as chairperson of the Bankruptcy Sections of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. He was also a director, and is a former president, of the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, a non-profit organization, which presents an annual seminar on bankruptcy law and procedure. Judge Bonapfel has lectured at numerous continuing legal education seminars. He is a co- author, with Judge W. Homer Drake, Jr., and Adam Goodman, of Chapter 13 Practice and Procedure (Thomson/West).