By Samuel B. Weissman, Esq.
I often try to go back and think about what I thought of the law before I went to law school. Specifically, what did I think of bankruptcy? I think this is an important exercise because it helps me to effectively address my clients' concerns about the process and perceived stigma of bankruptcy. If I think hard enough I would have to say that I probably had the same preconceived notions about bankruptcy that many of my clients express to me when we first meet. Many clients explain to me the circumstances that led them to consult with me about filing a bankruptcy. I think that many clients believe that I will judge them for thinking about filing a bankruptcy. I do my best to assure them that I don't judge my clients, which is the absolute truth.
My personal feelings on bankruptcy are that often creditors are practically challenging consumers to file. Interest rates on credit cards are considered “legal loan sharking” by many people, including myself. Sometimes bankruptcy is the only thing that makes sense. It is amazing that our governments allow such things to be done to the people. Bankruptcy is the counter-balance. Further, because I practice foreclosure defense I see the damage done in the real estate markets. Our country was sitting on a financial time-bomb built by investment bankers. The crash of the housing market created a domino effect which caused many to lose jobs and small business owners unable to find loans to prop up their company in times of slower business. The ripple effect on the economy as a whole was and is like a boulder being dropped into a bathtub. Essentially, most of us could never have planned for the financial times and thus the personal financial woes.
It simply wouldn’t make sense for me to blame or judge a person for something they couldn’t control or see coming.