"Why I love Bankruptcy Law" by Patrick Semrad
DebtStoppers, where I proudly serve as the managing partner, stands as the country’s largest consumer bankruptcy law firm. We represent individuals and families through the processes of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. In partnering with our clients, we focus on establishing the best pathway to financial relief. As their attorney, we draft their bankruptcy pleadings and documents, represent them against creditors and Trustees, monitor their case, and attend court proceedings on their behalf. We do all of this for a flat fee with minimal upfront charges, ensuring everyone has equitable access to legal representation and the courts.
A Biographical Touch
Growing up, bankruptcy law wasn't on my radar. My dad was an antitrust lawyer who, after his early years on Wall Street, worked for Beatrice Foods, one of the world's biggest corporations. He did things like negotiating deals to purchase Coca-Cola bottling plants and selling Tropicana. He often wore this Dannon Yogurt belt buckle, a gift from the company's president, marking some invaluable assistance he offered them. In my eyes, he epitomized the epitome of 'cool' in the legal profession and I wanted to be just like him.
Just like my dad, I excelled in law school, made it to the Law Review, and graduated at the top of my class. I even interviewed at some of the firms where he had worked. However, my journey was different. A major law firm in Chicago had recently dissolved, saturating the market with hundreds of newly unemployed lawyers. Worse yet, it soon became apparent that interviews were not my forte. A particular harsh memory at Chapman and Cutler stands out where I was candidly informed that my answer to an interview was woefully inadequate.
In this uncertain phase of my life, my brother Rob offered a lifeline: joining his budding consumer bankruptcy firm. Although I joined him with the initial intent of it being a temporary arrangement, the experience was transformative. I discovered a passion for advocating for my clients, enjoyed the courtroom experience, and reveled in the opportunities to challenge the status quo of bankruptcy law. Soon, every other job offer began to lose its allure.
So, why do I find so much fulfillment as a bankruptcy lawyer?
More about Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy law is the only area of law that I know of where a lawyer can transform a client's situation instantly.
It’s true. Unlike several legal areas characterized by prolonged processes and ambiguous outcomes, the automatic stay in bankruptcy law bestows instant respite from relentless creditors. Homes on the brink of foreclosure are saved, repossessed cars are returned, and ongoing wage garnishments are halted. Witnessing the palpable shift in clients' demeanor, from initial despair to newfound hope, is profoundly rewarding.
Another source of inspiration is hiring and training the next generation of lawyers. Watching them transform from fresh graduates to passionate advocates for families, is a privilege. By teaching them the essence of true representation and the importance of affordable justice, we're shaping a brighter future.
All due respect to my dad and corporate law, I'm grateful for my less-than-stellar interview skills. The allure of corporate law or any other, for that matter, pales in comparison to the gratification derived from assisting a family in keeping their home and securing their future.