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9th Circuit Appoints 3 New Bankruptcy Judges

(CN) - Three California attorneys will take the bench early next year, replacing retiring bankruptcy judges in California's Northern, Central and Eastern Districts, the 9th Circuit said.

Mary Elaine Hammond, 41, will fill the Oakland seat being vacated by Judge Edward Jellen on Feb. 2, 2012. Mark Houle, 45, will replace the retiring Judge Ellen Carroll in Riverside on Feb. 17, 2012. Fredrick Clement, 51, will take over the Fresno bench on March 16, replacing the outgoing Judge Whitney Rimel.

"Ms. Hammond is an experienced and highly capable attorney," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said in a statement. "We are pleased to have her join the bankruptcy bench. Mr. Houle is an experienced practitioner who comes to the bench with a thorough understanding of bankruptcy court operations.

He called Clement "a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner who will be an asset to the 9th Circuit."

Hammond's background includes a lengthy stint at the San Francisco-based law firm Friedman, Dumas & Springwater, where she has worked since 2003. In 2010, she became partner in the firm, focusing on the representation of business debtors, trustees, and secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy cases. Hammond received her law degree in 1998 from the University of North Carolina.

Houle has been of counsel since 2000 with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, with offices in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles. He primarily represented secured and unsecured creditors, asset purchasers and other parties in bankruptcy cases, adversary proceedings, pre-bankruptcy workouts, and related state and federal litigation. The Lowell, Mass., native graduated from Boston College Law School in 1996.

Clement, a solo practitioner in Redding since 1993, is active in the bankruptcy legal community and founded the Redding-Chico Bankruptcy Forum in 2003. He graduated from University of California, Hastings College of Law, in 1987.

Bankruptcy judges serve a 14-year renewable term and handle all bankruptcy-related matters.

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