The Emotional Ties to Debt

My perception of debt and human nature has been forever changed by representing the plight of those who society has forgotten: the debtor.  There is such a stigma against someone who owes money and typically it is the debtor, himself (or herself) who applies the stigma.  It is this very stigma that keeps debtors from taking action against those who break the law.  They feel that they do not deserve help or that the problem is one of their own making.  Guilt takes over.  Many times even when the debtor is sued, they do nothing because they feel that they deserve some sort of punishment because they were unable to pay their bills.

I have seen over the years, that debt is not created out of frivolity but rather out of necessity.  In an overwhelming amount of cases that I see, the debt was created because of  bad event: illness, job loss, divorce, etc.  Moreover, people defaulted on the debt because of another bad event.  As a result, the debt bears a baggage of the emotional situations that created the debt and then defaulted the debt. Every phone call and every letter reminds a person of the emotional situation that started this cycle.  It is for this reason, that laws exist to protect consumers from harassment.

I am constantly asked by other lawyers about how I sustain financially a dedicated consumer practice that focuses so predominately on defending people when they are sued over a debt. My response is simply that somebody needs to.  These types of cases have grown more difficult over the years, requiring more work and more risk. My clients have taught me so much about how there are good people in this world and those good people are just trying to make it from point A to point B.  My cases are not about getting someone out of there debt, but rather about moving someone down this roller coaster in such a way that no matter the outcome, they don’t harbor any additional regret.

I strongly believe that our judicial system should be available to the individual and that the system should not apply different standards for a debt case than it would over companies battling over millions.  The evidence rules are the same.  The procedure rules are the same.  The law is the same. Therefore, the attention and justice should be the same. Yes, my clients owe money but that does not mean that a creditor is automatically entitled to the judgment.