An older attorney once told me, only half-joking, “debtors’ attorneys primarily dodge rocks while creditors’ attorneys throw them.” While there is a lot of truth his observation, I’ve found that the rewards far outweigh the negatives when it comes to representing consumer clients.
My path to this realization, like much in life, was not a direct one. For five years I prosecuted consumer fraud claims for the State of Missouri as an Assistant Attorney General. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my work for the state, the financial rewards of such work were not enough to support my growing family. I eventually landed a job at a creditors’ rights firm where, for six years, I handled residential mortgage issues in Missouri and Kansas on the state and federal level which included district and bankruptcy court. The work was interesting as I had never worked in the areas of bankruptcy, mechanic’s liens, real estate, or secured transactions prior to my job with the creditor’s rights firm. Of all the new practice areas, I enjoyed bankruptcy the most due to its tight-knit community of attorneys and the wide array of legal issues that come up in bankruptcy which can simultaneously touch on state and federal law.
Eventually, an opportunity came up to practice bankruptcy at The Sader Law Firm which primarily represents consumer debtors. The experience I gained at my prior firm has been a great benefit to my current practice as a debtors’ attorney as it allows me to identify defective mortgage claims or questionable billing practices by mortgage servicers and lenders. My prior experience also benefits consumer clients that are facing foreclosure and are unsure how to contest or even avoid same. Being able to help real people save their homes and get a fresh start financially is very rewarding and more than makes up for the rocks you have to dodge as a debtors’ attorney. Moreover, as a former creditors’ rights attorney that defended everything from FDCPA, wrongful foreclosure, consumer fraud, and mechanic’s lien claims, to name a few, I know first-hand that creditors and their attorneys have plenty of rocks to dodge as well.
By Michael Wambolt