Press Releases


Bernstein joins national panel to examine scope of municipal bankruptcy


Plunkett Cooney bankruptcy attorney Douglas C. Bernstein will be among a distinguished panel of municipal leaders, educators and attorneys on Nov. 21 at Wayne State University examining municipal bankruptcies across the country and what they portend for the City of Detroit.

“This is certainly an exciting program, and I’m very happy to be among the panelists,” said Bernstein, who is the managing partner of Plunkett Cooney’s Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group. “Wayne State has done a great job assembling some of the leading voices on municipal bankruptcy, including some of the leaders who have lived through it.”

The program, titled: “Bankruptcy – What Could it Mean for Detroit? Voices From Other Places,” will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Law School Building Auditorium, which is located at 471 Palmer, Detroit, MI 48202. The session is part of the university’s Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS) program, which is directed by Dr. Irvin D. Reid, president emeritus of Wayne State.

The first panel discussion will feature elected public officials and educators, who have participated in the municipal bankruptcy process, including:

• Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, Rhode Island
• Mayor Linda Thompson of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
• Deputy City Solicitor Matthew Jerzyk of Providence, Rhode Island
• Adjunct Professor Robert Benedetti, Center for California Studies, CSU Sacramento and professor emeritus, University of the Pacific

The second panel discussion will feature Bernstein and other noted attorneys from across the country, who have represented petitioners, pensioners, retirees, bondholders and their representatives in municipal and other forms of bankruptcy. The panelists will include: 

• Mark Kaufman, partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
• James Spiotto, partner, Chapman and Cutler LLP
• Sean Werdlow, managing director, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC

The FOCIS panel program is complimentary and open to the public. However, attendance is limited to 300 people and pre-registration is required online by clicking here. Continental breakfast will be provided.

Bernstein, who has been a frequent commentator to the media on issues related to the City of Detroit’s ongoing financial problems and subsequent Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, leads Plunkett Cooney’s Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, he was employed by Michigan National Corporation as an attorney for over 20 years and later joined the Standard Federal Bank Legal Department when the bank merged with Michigan National Corporation in 2001.

Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year. With more than 160 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana, the firm provides a range of transactional and litigation services and has received numerous honors for service and expertise, including an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms.

For more information about Plunkett Cooney attorney Douglas C. Bernstein’s participation in the Nov. 21 Wayne State University FOCIS panel discussion, contact the firm’s Practice Development Manager John E. Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or

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