Changes at the Bankruptcy Court

Author: FCBA President-Elect Joann Sternheimer

With admiration and gratitude, we say goodbye to the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York, Kim F. Lefebvre, after nearly 40 years of public service. Kim began his career at Basloe, Basloe & Gallagher, a general practice law firm in Herkimer, New York. In 1981, he was appointed Estate Administrator for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York and then Attorney Advisor for the Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee for the Northern District of New York and the District of Vermont. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant United States Trustee by then-Attorney General Edwin Meese. As Assistant United States Trustee, Kim was a fixture in the bankruptcy courthouse. He was not only a consummate administrator, but also a “lawyer’s lawyer,” taking an active role in litigating cases, always looking for a practical solution while protecting the interests of the U.S. Trustee.

He served in that capacity until his appointment as Clerk of the Court in February 2010. “The best decision that I made during my tenure as Chief Judge was hiring Kim as Clerk of the Court,” noted United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Littlefield. As Clerk, Kim oversaw three regional clerk’s offices through challenging economic times. Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz added, “As Chief for the past three years, I have had the pleasure of working with Kim on a number of projects. He has always been a pleasure to work with, with his quiet leadership style and even-tempered manner, he’s beloved by all of our staff.”

Kim is looking forward to spending more time with family, volunteering and traveling with his wife, Linda. He leaves the Clerk’s office in good hands, stating, “I have worked with Cindy [Platt] since she was an associate in a private law firm and then for 14 years as Clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Littlefield. She is perfectly suited to this job, having gained substantive, procedural and management experience in her various roles. She will be an excellent Clerk of the Court.”

Cynthia Platt

NDNY Bankruptcy Court Clerk Cynthia Platt

In August 2018, Cynthia Platt was appointed Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. As United States Bankruptcy Judge Diane Davis noted, “While Kim is already missed, he will be remembered for so wisely selecting Cynthia as his Chief Deputy and grooming her for her new role as Clerk of Court.” Cindy began her career at D’Agostino, Hoblock & Siegal, P.C., a general commercial law firm in Albany, New York. In 1995, she joined O’Connor, O’Connor, Breese & First, P.C., where she focused her practice on representing debtors in bankruptcy cases. In 2003, she joined the Bankruptcy Court as then-Chief Judge Littlefield’s career law clerk. Cindy served in that capacity for 14 years, helping the Court and practitioners navigate the extensive revisions to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 and corresponding rule changes until her appointment as Deputy Clerk of the Court in May 2017. She assisted the Court through some of its busiest days during the economic downturn in 2008 and beyond.

During this time, Cindy also served on the Rules Committee for the Bankruptcy Court. She has been an active member of the legal community, serving as past president of the Capital Region Bankruptcy Bar Association (CRBBA) from 2001-2002 and chairing the annual Bench/Bar Conference in 1998, 2010 and 2014. In 2013, she received CRBBA’s Nicholas Priore Advocacy and Professionalism Award. She is also a past president of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association and longtime Membership Committee Chair for the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. She serves on the Advisory Council for Camp Chingachgook and is a board member of the Capital District YMCA.

Dawn Simmons

NDNY Bankruptcy Court Deputy Clerk Dawn Simmons

We also welcome Dawn Simmons as the new Deputy Clerk of Court. For more than 11 years, Dawn served as career law clerk to Chief Judge Cangilos-Ruiz. Previously, she was a partner at Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., where she focused exclusively on restructuring, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Dawn is a past president of the Central New York Bankruptcy Bar Association, a standing member of the Planning Committee for the Annual Bankruptcy Conference, and co-chair of the Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee. Dawn has been committed to pro bono projects throughout her career and is proud of the Court’s advancement of pro bono projects in the district. Chief Judge Cangilos-Ruiz noted, “We know that the Northern District will be well-served by our new Clerk and Deputy Clerk of Court.”

The FCBA thanks Kim for his long service, and congratulates Cindy and Dawn on their recent appointments.