One of the most difficult things any of us is likely to experience is the day you are asked to provide a letter of reference. You puzzle over just who to ask. You finally pick your prospect. You work up the nerve to ask, and what do they say? “Just write something up, and I’ll sign it.” What? This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
That is where I am today. This is my reference letter. I have to write it myself for you.
In May, 1978 I was in a garden behind the Episcopal Church at E. 22nd Street in downtown Cleveland. Me, a newly minted grad of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law. I was posing for pictures with my wonderful, lovely wife Janet. Check out the picture. Can’t believe this is the same guy on the home page can you? I am pleased to say we have now been married almost 39 years. As I write this, my oldest son is 28 today, the same age I was when he was born. Talk about things that make you feel old!
After passing the bar exam in November, 1978, I began the march to become an Elyria bankruptcy attorney. I started out working in Cleveland, first in big law, that’s lawyer speak for big law firms, to an office sharing arrangement with three other attorneys. I was active in the Cuyahoga County Bar Association. I always believed that a small town, suburban practice was where I was meant to be.
In 1981, George Ferguson hired me to be a full time prosecutor for the City of Elyria, Ohio. He still brags that I am the first lawyer he ever hired who had experience. This is where I learned to be a trial lawyer. The city sent me to the best trial practice schools in the country. I found that I loved the courtroom and I thrived in front of a jury. I knew government work was not for me.
Three years later I went to work for a law firm in Elyria as their criminal litigator. From that point I moved through a number of firms, sometimes as an associate, other times as a partner, all the while honing my skills as a trial lawyer, moving eventually to a drunk driving defense practice. It was good and financially rewarding, but it left me empty.
In 1995, after decisively winning a 10 day murder trial in Cleveland, I opened the law firm which I have today. I was still a criminal and drunk driving lawyer. I needed something different. Change was in the offing. In 1996 I read an article that said bankruptcy was the niche of the future for the small firm lawyer. I don’t think they had any idea what was about to hit the economy.
I started looking for seminars on bankruptcy law. That was when I discovered that bankruptcy law is a real specialty. I started slow attending Ohio State Bar Association seminars, quickly graduating to nationally based programs. I filed my first Chapter 7 case for a friend in 1997. Bankruptcy quickly began to take up a larger and larger portion of my time. Today about 95% of my cases are split between chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. The remaining portion is misdemeanor criminal cases in Elyria Municipal Court to keep my edge as a trial lawyer.
Why did I choose to be a bankruptcy attorney over a criminal defense lawyer? There are a few reasons. Most of them have to do with you!
- Bankruptcy clients are hard working people just trying to do what’s right
- Normally your situation may have been created by you, but other circumstances beyond your control made it so bad you need my help. Taking this step is very uncomfortable for you.
- You are looking to the future
- Honestly, I like my bankruptcy clients
- Bankruptcy practice gives me great personal satisfaction.
I am involved with a creative group of attorneys nationwide who are working to develop easier, faster, and better ways to connect with you and to deliver you more value for your money than traditional bankruptcy attorneys.
Stay tuned to ohiobankruptcysource.com for more information about the issues my clients, and I regularly face, and just maybe you can find some free information that will help you on your journey to personal debt freedom.
Picture by Bill Balena.