Laid off, filing Bankruptcy in New York, and still rolling with the punches….

I just wanted to share this short blog because of how inspirational I have found some of my clients (always, but in particular the last few days). Prior to the “feared” Meeting of the Creditors, we always prepare our clients for the questions that will be asked. Sometimes we do the preparation on the phone, but if the clients schedule permits, we do it in person. First, it makes you the client, feel 100% more comfortable with actually going in and facing the questions of the Trustee. More importantly, its a relaxed way to get to know the concerns our clients have. Almost inevitably, we chat about life during the meeting. Its not intentional, but it always happens. The stories that I hear day in and day out is one of the reasons I know I will never turn into a jaded lawyer. As odd as it sounds, its cathartic both for the client….and for the attorney.

In the past few days I’ve been floored by the stories of financial issues my clients have expressed to me. I wont go into details but I will just say whoever thinks that people who file for Bankruptcy are quitters is completely incorrect. They are fighters. They had no desire to do this, yet they feel great because a debt burden has been lifted off of them. People working 3 or 4 jobs just to put some food on the table. People who have degrees (many of them advanced) and have been caught in one of the most tumultuous economic periods of our time. Each one of these individuals has clawed, has scraped by, has done everything they could do to financially survive. Some of the stories make you realize how lucky many of us are in comparison.

The most common statement I get in my office is: “I never thought I would end up filing Bankruptcy”. The most common question I get is “Do other people like ‘me’ file?” The answer is yes. Someone you know likely has filed. Theres no getting around it. And while it may not be your first resort (even though I argue that in the majority of cases it should be), it nevertheless feels good to know you don’t have to worry about all that debt anymore. It’s a hard, hard thing sometimes being an attorney. These clients that I have day in and day out remind me that its absolutely worth it.

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