The Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference was born of necessity. With the enactment of the Bankruptcy Code in 1978 and the looming effective date of October 1, 1979, bankruptcy practice was on the verge of dramatic change. Leading up to the effective date, practitioners needed and desired information and education as to the changes coming with the code. It was against this background that the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference was formed.

In light of seminars occurring nationwide to address the Bankruptcy Code, James W. O’Mara and then-judge Hon. Barney E. Eaton, III, met to discuss the organization and presentation of a similar seminar in Mississippi. Both were in favor of such a seminar and began working toward that goal, which included deciding who would oversee the presentation of the seminar. It was at that time that the need for an organization to sponsor the seminar became clear. The Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference was created with the purpose of providing an annual seminar through which bankruptcy practitioners could receive continued education about bankruptcy and stay abreast of changes and trends in that area of law.

The Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference was established as a not-for-profit corporation, with Mr. O’Mara serving as its first president. The other officers for that first year were Richard Thomas Bennett, Vice President, and J.C. Bell, Secretary. According to the initial by-laws, the officers served a term of one year in a succession format whereby the current vice president would be elevated to president.

One notable requirement for the seminar, beginning with its first year, was that at least one featured speaker be from outside of the state of Mississippi. It was the goal of the conference to bring a nationally recognized leader in the field to the seminar who could offer the attendees useful information from a different perspective. The remainder of the presentations was generally rounded out with Mississippi practitioners or other local experts.

The first seminar featured Kenneth Klee, the primary author of the Bankruptcy Code. Mr. Klee was the first in of a line of nationally recognized speakers that have been a part of the annual seminar presented by the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference. The commitment of the conference to sponsor a quality seminar continues to grow each year with highly qualified, recognizable presenters from both Mississippi and around the country.

2024 Officers, Directors, Committee Chairs


President: Will Fava
Vice President/President Elect: Derek A. Henderson
Secretary/Treasurer/Executive Director: Stephen Smith

Board of Directors:

Stacey Moore Buchanan
Jason Graeber
Christopher Meredith
Rachel Coxwell

Committee Chairs and Co-chairs:

Seminar Committee: Jack Schultz and Tiffany Pharr
Technology Committee: Christopher Meredith
Duberstein Chair: Jace Ferraez