Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Brown Dean Out

Texas based law firm Brown Dean has decided to drop all 35 of its former SSH student clients and urge them to immediately seek legal counsel elsewhere. The majority of these former Brown Dean clients have already committed to joining our SSH client group. We welcome them, and wish a full and speedy recovery to Charles Mitchell, the attorney who formerly was handling this matter for the Brown Dean firm. Mr. Mitchell is the father of two former SSH students. He is recovering from a heart attack that he suffered in March and quadruple bypass surgery.

AES Changes Course

This week, many our our clients received letters from AES stating that they do not have to begin making any payments to AES. This is a 100% reversal of the position taken by AES in late March when it issued payments demands to most of its SSH student borrowers. Here is an exact quote of one of these new letters from AES:

"On March 25, 2008, we sent you a letter regarding your outstanding loan and your repayment schedule. Please disregard that letter. It was sent to you in error.

We are in the process of reviewing the current situation and options, and, until you receive further information from us, your outstanding loan will be treated as it it is still in the grace period. During that time, interest on your outstanding loand will accrue, but you will not be required to make any payments.

If you have any other concerns please contact at the address or telephone number shown above. Our office hours are Monday though Friday 7:30 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Time

American Education Services"

Who or what is responsible for this 100% change in AES' position? When AES says that it is "reviewing the current situation and options," does that include the fact that we now represent 999 former SSH students and have unequivocally proclaimed our intent to sue AES to void these bad loans? Gail and Georgeann believe that we are what caused AES' change of position. I can only say that we welcome AES's change of position. Our advice not to make payments on these loans while they are in dispute is now easier for everyone to take.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Final Deadline: April 18, 2008

The final deadline for all SSH students to hire me and my law firm to represent them in the SSH case is April 18, 2008. Any retainer fees and contracts must be postmarked and in the mail on or before April 18, 2008. There will be no further extensions of time. There will be no exceptions. We will be filing our Request for Special Notice listing all of our SSH clients later this month. Our lawsuit against the lenders will be filed in late April or early May and you will either be with us or be left out. This is NOT a class action lawsuit. We are seeking relief only for our clients. If you are still unrepresented in this case, I urge you to consider hiring the attorneys that you feel are most qualified to represent you. As of today, we represent 901 former SSH students -- more than twice the number of former SSH students represented by all of the other attorneys in the country put together. While I am proud that so many SSH students have chosen us, I am concerned about the many SSH students that are not represented by any legal counsel. It is my belief that most of these students will end up being sued by the lenders and found liable for the entire balance of their student loans plus interest and attorneys fees. So please, if you know any of these unrepresented students, tell them about us.

New Deadline For Filing Proofs of Claim in the SSH Case

Trustee James F. Lisowski filed and served a Trustee's Notice of Finding Assets, Notice to File Proof of Claim and Notice of Time Limitation on March 31, 2008. Many of our clients have asked us about this Notice. Here is what you need to know: (1) The trustee has found assets in the estate from which a payment of dividends to creditors appears possible; (2) The deadline for creditors to file a proof of claim has been extended from the former date of June 9 to July 7, 2008; and (3) If you are our client, we will file the Proof of Claim for you. We will be filing the proofs of claim for you in April and May, long before the July 7 deadline. We will contact our clients one by one if and when we need additional information from you to prepare the proof of claim. We will notify each and every one of our clients by e-mail when his or her proof of claim has been filed.

There is a typo in the Notice sent out by the Trustee. The Case Number refers to the Silver State Helicopters, LLC bankruptcy, but the caption says "Silver Helicopters." This is not a third Silver State case, it is simply the Silver State Helicopters, LLC bankruptcy case.

As Seen On TV

The local ABC affiliate Channel 7 will air a story about the SSH bankruptcy on Thursday, April 10 @ 5:00 pm. on its ABC7 Eyewitness News program. This story features former SSH student Christian Shaffer and attorneys Michael Berger and Gail Higgins. Rick Romero is the on air reporter and Elaine Hogue is the reporter who interviewed all of us for the story.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Road Show

Geo and Gail hit the road this weekend to spread the word about what we are doing for SSH students. Georgeann is in St. Louis, Missouri where she will meet with SSH students today, April 5, at 3:00 pm at Culpeppers Restaurant in O'Fallon, Missouri 4401 Hwy K. To relax on Sunday, Geo will run the St. Louis Marathon.

Gail is in Melbourne Florida where she will meet with SSH students today, April 5 at 1:00 pm at the Atlantic Jet Center, 1401 General Aviation Drive in Melbourne, Florida 32935. Gail will lead an additional meeting with Florida SSH students at Bennigan's Grill & Tavern on Monday, April 7 at 6pm. Bennigan's is located at 900 S Apollo Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Why You Should Hire Me And My Law Firm To Represent You

Here are the highlights of why you should hire me and my law firm to represent you in the SSH matter:

1. We are Certified Specialists in Bankruptcy Law and this is a bankruptcy matter. I am Certified as a Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. My Senior Associate Attorney Gail Higgins is Certified as a Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification. To see my resume, follow this link:

2. We have substantial experience in bankruptcy law (26 years of experience for me). This includes handling major fraud cases and suing lenders to discharge student loans.

3. We are top rated attorneys. Martindale-Hubbell publishes peer review ratings regarding an attorney’s legal ability and ethics. I have been awarded their highest rating, "AV," A for excellent legal ability and V for very high ethics. My firm and I have had this rating for more than 15 years. This can be independently verified by you by going to or go directly to the webpage with my profile or the web page with my law firm's profile

Here is more information about the Martindale-Hubbell pier review process as posted on the website:
"For over a century, lawyers have relied on the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory for authoritative information on the worldwide legal profession. The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ play an integral role in this service to the legal community.
Buyers of legal services, as well as those making referrals, consider Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings invaluable when evaluating a lawyer. Whether choosing between two equally qualified candidates or looking for counsel in another jurisdiction, lawyers and consumers need to have confidence in the individual under consideration. Using ratings, they can select counsel with superior ethics, as well as the desired level of professional experience.
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics, and reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary. They appear in all formats of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, in the online listings on, on the LexisNexis® services, on CD-ROM, and in print.
An objective way to assess a lawyerA Martindale-Hubbell rating guides buyers of legal services and those referring business in making faster, smarter decisions. A rating's third party validation of ethics and legal ability provides that extra level of confidence that the right lawyer or firm has been selected. By combining a rating with a review of other data in a lawyer's Professional Biography - such as practice areas, bar memberships, professional affiliations, education and clients - a person can be certain he or she has made the right choice for that particular legal matter.
A cooperative effort with the legal professionMartindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are established by lawyers. The legal community respects the accuracy of ratings because it knows that its own members — the people best suited to assess their peers — are directly involved in the process"

4. Our clients consistently give us 5 star ratings and tell the world about how we have helped them. To verify this, go to the City Search Los Angeles website and look up Michael Berger in Los Angeles, or go directly to this link:
These reviews are independent reviews and are posted on an independent website.

5. We are geniuses. Both Gail Higgins and I are members of Mensa, the International High IQ Society.

6. We are compassionate. We enjoy helping people. This is why I chose to be a bankruptcy lawyer. This is why my Senior Associate Attorney Georgeann Nicol does the AIDS ride every year, riding her bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles and raising tens of thousands of dollars to fight AIDS in the process.

7. We are high energy people, and we put that energy into helping our clients. I am a 17 time Marathon finisher with a Boston qualifying personal best time of 3:24:18 set at the St. George Marathon on October 7, 2006. I will be going back to Boston this April 21 for my 5th Boston Marathon. Senior Associate Georgeann Nicol paces others in Marathons, teaches spin, and is an Ironman Triathlete.

8. We are the overwhelming choice of the Silver State Helicopter Students. As of today, more than 700 SSH students have hired us to represent them in the SSH case. This is far more than every other law firm combined. The combination of our experience, intelligence, compassion, hard work and reasonable fee has made us the choice of SSH students from every location across the Country. Again and again, students who have done their research and consulted their attorney friends have chosen us.

9. Attorney Peter Lown of Jonesboro, Georgia has given us his unqualified endorsement and referred his SSH clients to us. Mr Lown represented approximately 40 SSH clients, making him the attorney with the third largest group of SSH clients, behind the Law Offices of Michael Berger and the Dan Reed/Harward & Associates firm. On Tuesday, March 18, Mr. Lown sent the following e-mail to all of his SSH clients:"Folks:I have been continuing my investigation and research on the evolving situation with Silver State post bankruptcy. In this vein, I have reviewed and spoken to two other law firms stepping up to represent former Silver State students, the Brown, Dean law firm in Texas and the Berger law firm in California. At this point I feel you will be better represented by one of the other firms and it is my recommendation that you all sign-up with the Berger Law firm without delay. I have reviewed Mr. Berger’s qualifications and discussed his litigation plan with him. I believe Mr. Berger is eminently qualified to handle this litigation and he has now signed up over 400 other students. There is considerable strength in numbers, and Mr. Berger has already made a considerable investment in the case. I also met two of his attorneys at the bankruptcy 341 hearing and they were very aggressive and on target in their questioning. I will be refunding any remaining trust funds and I plan to have the meeting with you scheduled for April 6th at the usual location in Casa Grande.Pete Peter Charles LownHARRINGTON & LOWN9425 South Main StreetJonesboro, GA 30236-6023Tel.: 404-520-0171Fax: 404-506-9149"Earlier that same day, Mr. Lown sent me the following e-mail:"Michael:Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. With the information you have provided regarding your plan for litigation against the various parties involved the Silver State operation and your substantial client base, I am convinced that you are best positioned to represent former Silver State students in attempting to make them whole. I will be recommending that the 40 clients Randall Stone and I represent in Arizona retain your firm to continue their litigation with Silver State. I am very pleased that someone of your ability and determination has come forward to help these people.I am looking forward to working with you.PetePeter Charles LownHARRINGTON & LOWN”

Attorney Steven Sayler of San Diego, with approximately 20 SSH students, has followed suit and has referred all of his SSH clients to us.

10. Our flat fee of $800/SSH client is the only flat fee being offered by any law firm, and is by far the most reasonable fee. There is no hourly fee, no contingent fee, and no chance of us asking you for any more money on this matter, ever.

11. We have already been highly active on this case. For example, when other attorneys stayed home, we sent our 2 Senior Associates to the First Meeting of Creditors in this case, and took a leading role in the questioning of the debtor. For more information about this and our other work on this case, check out my blog

12. Our 4 part plan of attack makes sense:

A. Assisting with filing a proof of claims and assisting the Trustee and Office of the United States Trustee in actions to recover fraudulent and preferential transfers so that assets can be brought into the SSH bankruptcy estate for the benefit of creditors.

B. Negotiating with AES, Student Loan Xpress, KeyBank and Citibank re discharge/voiding of loans made to our SSH student clients and the filing of one or more Adversary Proceedings in the SSH bankruptcy to accomplish this.

C. Cooperate with all governmental authorities interested in criminally prosecuting and fining all individuals and entities criminally responsible for the disappearance of tens of millions of dollars in student loan funds.

D. Investigating every government program, state and federal, that may provide relief to our clients.

13. We take the time to answer every phone call and every e-mail.

There is much, much more to say, but I think that is enough for now. We are the law firm that is best qualified to represent SSH students.

Silver State Update

To our Silver State clients:


Yesterday, March 31, 2008 we received almost 150 calls about a billing memo from AES. Each student wanted reassurance and an explanation. It took up most of the day for 3 of our 4 lawyers. It also taught me a valuable lesson. When we are besieged by dozens of SSH clients all asking the same question, we will immediately post an answer to the question on our bankruptcy blog, We are putting our explanation of the AES letter on our blog, We will follow the same procedure for common questions in the future. We want students with questions to look to our blog first, then email their questions to us. When the same question comes in many times, we will compose an answer and cover that question quickly and then concentrate on the unique problems.

Most of the happenings are things we have previously explained or warned about but this is a good time to go over the issues.

AES is the present servicing company for several of the banks that made loans for Silver State Students. Many of you signed original documents with US Bank, KeyBank, or Student Loan Express and now are getting letters from AES. AES now owns the notes; AES is the company expecting payment.

Many of the Students have paperwork stating that their repayments were not to start until June or ‘09 or later. Unfortunately, the small print says – ‘or when you are no longer a student’. Well, Silver State closed; you are no longer a student (and yes, I know it was through no fault of your own) – so AES accelerated all the loans and wants payment in June 08.

Most of the loans are scheduled out in 3 groups – from when they supposedly paid the money to Silver State – so the letter says $200 something on loan disbursement #1 and $200 something on loan disbursement #2 and so on… - for a total of over $600 per month - starting June 2008.

This loan is what we are trying to get eradicated in the bankruptcy court. (I chose that word carefully – there are tax ramifications of getting a loan forgiven; we want it nullified as to you and your cosigner.

To Pay Or Not To Pay?

The students are asking: should we pay it? We think that the loans are fraudulent and that we will prove it up in Court. We don’t want you to pay anything. However, if you don’t pay, AES may place negative entries on your credit reports. We are contacting the 3 major credit bureaus to give them a heads up and maybe forestall some of that problem, but we anticipate that your lender will place negative entries on your credit reports if you do not pay your lenders what they want when they want it. You could get sued. You could get a nasty phone call. (Oh, please let that happen, because you will all tell them to contact your lawyers: us).

So, what do you do? Wait a bit. Give us time to do the ’lawyer stuff’. We are working on our Adversary Proceeding Complaint and will be filing it in May, 2008.

The Proofs of Claim must be in by July 7, 2008. We will do them for you and will be contacting you all through May to see that they are done.

One piece of good news: those students who were ‘inadvertently’ filed in the wrong case when they sent in their Proofs to the Debtor’s attorney, are in the right case now. The Trustee listened to us when we complained about her and merged the cases.

AES / Xpress Loans Request for Hardship Forbearance

Don’t sign the Xpress Loans Request for Hardship Forbearance form being sent by AES to SSH students. This form contains language such as “I intend to repay my loan(s)” that is not true and that can be used against you later in Court. The AES form is not appropriate for SSH students who are planning on suing AES and their lender.

Time Extension

To accommodate clients referred to us by attorney Peter Lown of Jonesboro, Georgia and attorney Steve Sayler of San Diego, to accommodate clients who had difficulty raising our $800.00 fee, and to further increase the size and strength of our group, we are today announcing a final extension of time for SSH students to hire us to represent their interests in the SSH matter to postmarked by April 18, 2008. Due to the need to commence legal action against the SSH lenders, there will be no further extensions of this deadline.

The Winner Is

I am proud to announce that as of today, we have signed up more than 700 SSH students. This is far more than every other law firm combined. The combination of our experience, intelligence, compassion, hard work and reasonable fee has made us the choice of SSH students from every location across the Country. Again and again, students who have done their research and consulted their attorney friends have chosen us. We thank you for your trust. We will continue to use our best efforts on your behalf. We are passionate about helping you.

Road Show

Georgeann and Gail, my two Senior Associates, are hitting the road again to meet with SSH students, to tell them about our work on their behalf, and to answer all of their questions in person.

Georgeann will be in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, April 5 @ 3 pm. For more information about this meeting, send an e-mail directly to

Gail will be in Melbourne Florida on Sunday, April 6. For more information about this meeting, send an e-mail directly to