What made you decide to pursue a career in bankruptcy law?
I really enjoy helping people and bankruptcy is an area where you can definitely do exactly that. We get to see people on their worst day; they come in concerned and upset and worried, and afterwards, once the process is complete, they always look and sound a lot better. It is a life-changing event for the better.
In your opinion, what sets your firm apart from the rest?
We really do care about our clients and always meet with them personally. We are also open 7 days a week, so we can meet clients when they are not working. Most of our clients are wage earners and cannot miss work.
How do you help clients decide whether or not to file for bankruptcy?
We are totally honest with our clients. I have been practicing bankruptcy law for over 10 years, so we know when it is a good case or if bankruptcy would not be a good idea.
Do you only represent clients who live in Chicago, IL?
We represent clients in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. We also practice in Lake, Rockford, DuPage, Kane and Will County as well. I have also filed cases in the Central District of Illinois and in the Southern District of Illinois.
Name some of the most common misconceptions about bankruptcy:
Your credit report will suffer by filing a bankruptcy.
Usually your credit score increases when you file since you are discharging debt.
You will never be able to buy a car or a home or reestablish new credit.
Not true. For better or for worse, once you file a bankruptcy, you do receive new car offers and some credit card offers right away. We advise our clients to wait at least 2 years before purchasing a "big ticket" item like a car in order to increase the credit score beyond a 660 in order to save money on interest rate.
Your employer will be informed that you have filed for bankruptcy.
Not true. Your employer does not receive a letter from bankruptcy court informing them that you filed for a bankruptcy.
How do you help clients prepare for a debt-free future?
We advise clients to wait and increase their credit score before making any large purchases, start small with like a $350 - $500 credit limit and only have 1 credit card moving forward. Use it month in and month out and pay it off in full in order to demonstrate to future creditors that you can take on new debt and pay it off in full each month.
If the creditor increases your credit limit, call them up and tell them to reduce it back down to the $500 range so that way you don't fall into the credit card trap. I explain to them it's a lot like having a car payment and most cars usually cost less than $500 a month because the car creditor knows that after you pay your mortgage/rent and pay your utilities and living expenses you will only have a few hundred dollars left over to make a car payment so how could a credit card be any different.
What is the first thing that you do when you take on a new case?
We will put them into our computer system so they can start referring their creditors over to us right away.
What advice do you most often give your clients?
That their worries stay here with us, and that they no longer have to fear that they are alone struggling with their debt issues.