Fighting for Debtor Rights


Reprinted from NACBA’s website.

NACBA Member of the Month: September, 2006

From: Topeka, Kansas, Jill Michaux, is the NACBA Member of the Month for September 2006. Jill joined NACBA as a charter member in 1992 and served on our Board of Directors from 1992-1999. Jill and her husband, Mark W. Neis, have practiced law together in the firm Neis & Michaux, P.A. in Topeka, Kansas since July 1, 1984, when they founded their firm. Both partners are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification, and have served so many thousands of clients, they have stopped keeping a count. Prior to founding their firm, Jill was a solo practitioner in Topeka. After receiving her B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas, Jill attended Washburn University Law School in Topeka. When Jill completed her J. D. in 1982, she was recognized as the Outstanding Legal Clinic Intern. Of the many cases she has tried, Jill refers to In Re Sparks, 96-43110-7, Adv. 97-7047, cited as Baer v. Montgomery, 224 F.3rd 1193 (10th Circuit 2000) as one of the most notable. I represented Sparks, the debtor in bankruptcy. At issue was whether or not a debtor would be allowed to keep his Earned Income Credit or whether that money was property of the estate that must be turned over to the Trustee for the benefit of the creditors. The debtor prevailed in bankruptcy court before the Hon. James A. Pusateri, now retired. That ruling was reversed by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The reversal was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit. I personally argued this case before the three-judge circuit panel in Denver. This was a pro bono effort to help low-income debtors retain funds desperately needed for the support of their families and an attempt to make new law. The debtors’ position was supported by a small minority of the Courts in the country. Unfortunately, the Tenth Circuit adopted the majority approach. Jill Michaux’s service to NACBA and other organizations is committed and exemplary. She was a charter member and former President of the Topeka Area Bankruptcy Council as well as a charter member and former President of the Kansas Bar Assoc. Bankruptcy and Insolvency Section. Jill is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy and a member of the board of the American Board of Certification and the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka. She is also a Master of the Hon. Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court. In addition to charter membership and the NACBA Board, Jill served as NACBA’s newsletter editor from 1993-1997, was the Document Bank Coordinator in 2002-2003 and currently serves on NACBA’s Web Site/CWE Committee. Citing her many years of NACBA service, Jill says, “We have come such a long way since 1992. It is great to see the collaboration of NACBA members fighting for our clients. We are able to defend much more effectively, collectively, than we can individually. Being a member of the “firm” is a tremendous benefit to our members!” Jill and her spouse/law partner, Mark Neis are parents to Michelle Neis, now eighteen years old.
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