Q. What is it you enjoy most about being a lawyer?
A. For me, it's always been about solving a problem. Not simply saying "no, that can't be done", but rather finding a way to legally do it.
Q. Why do you like solving problems so much?
A. It’s satisfying and often fun. Everyone can follow a “routine”, but not everyone can be creative in finding solutions. For instance, most people still don’t think you can do anything about student loan debt. Even many, if not most, attorneys still think that. But that is not reflected in our practice. In our student loan practice for instance, we are seeing terrific results – 20%-30% settlements over time, without interest, on private student loan debt. Tell me that isn’t a life changing event for our clients when they are given the news. All of a sudden they are able to do things they never thought they could do: move out of their parents’ house, buy a house, have kids, retire, or simply live.When you’re not busy being a lawyer, what do you do?
Q. What is your favorite activity?
A. Outside the house, I’d have to say bike riding, or if I can travel, definitely hiking or kayaking in Acadia National Park and eating lobster in Maine. Snow skiing is another favorite. I’m not exactly sure why we live in Florida. I don’t dive, golf, nor do I own a boat.
Inside the house, definitely gaming. I’ve always been a fan of strategy and RPG games on the PC, Xbox and Play Station. You know the ones that take tens or hundreds of hours. Some of my favorites right now are Witcher 3, Stellaris, Crusader Kings II and Rimworld. Usually games of exploration or strategy particularly as my reflexes are no longer competitive with 12 year olds. My inner child is and will always be a gamer at heart. My nephew is staying with us this summer for a clerkship at the 2nd DCA during law school and you’ll find us battling it out in the evenings as much as we can. His “rent” is to be my gaming buddy.
Q. What is your favorite tv show?
A. I have to pick only one? Big Bang Theory. Practically everything on Netflix is second. Some of our favorite shows right now are: Silicon Valley, Fargo, Stranger Things, Turn and House of Cards.
Q. Family life?
A. Happily married for over 25 years now, no children. We lean toward enjoying our time with our “rentals” – nephews and cousins along with a few strays over the years.How do I do it:
I don’t care if no one else is doing it. Until I’m proven wrong, I’m going to see if it can be done. Usually whatever I’m trying to accomplish can be done. It takes confidence to be a good lawyer. Sometimes it’s a bluff, but more often it is just good lawyering and being the most knowledgeable attorney in the room.
When we first started defending foreclosures a few years ago, there was no such thing as foreclosure defense. There was very little case law on the topic, and virtually no one applied consumer law protections in foreclosure cases. Several years later, now there is a ton of case law and very clear lines have been drawn in the sand regarding default letters, statute of limitations, assignment of mortgages and proof of ownership that did not exist before the real estate bubble burst. We were able to save hundreds of people’s homes or otherwise find a solution for them that made the most sense.
Now we are faced with $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, more than vehicle and credit card debt combined. When I tell fellow attorneys that I practice student loan law, they almost always respond “I didn’t know there was anything you could do with student loans.” I explain some of what we are doing and the light goes off and they start to “get it”.
If you are curious about how we can address student loans, or you know others with student loan debt, please have them download our e-book, “How to Take Your Life Back From Your Student Loans” for a look behind the otherwise non-transparent student loan system.
Lastly, please take a minute and scan some of our reviews to see what our clients are saying about us and the results we often obtain for our clients. What they say is far more important than me blabbing on.Bio:
Now for the serious stuff. I have been a Florida licensed attorney for more than 25 years since graduation from Stetson College of Law in 1992 with honors. In addition to Law Review, I gained practical experience by an internship with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office and a clerkship with the Florida Bar. Thereafter, I worked in commercial litigation for three years for private law firms until I started my own practice in 1995.
I have always taken education very seriously and have always tried to be on the cutting edge of new legal developments in my field. I have taken every opportunity to learn from the best, such as the prestigious Max Gardner's Bankruptcy Boot Camp which has been featured in Business Week magazine and on ABC's Nightline. This has helped to arm the law firm with the knowledge and resources to fight mortgage companies in foreclosure actions as well as adversary proceedings in bankruptcies. I also attended a specialized training bootcamp offered in Minneapolis by Pete Barry, Esq. Mr. Barry is a well known consumer rights attorney having represented thousands of clients who were victims of unscrupulous debt collectors. I also attended a Student Loan Bootcamp by Josh Cohen and many other CLEs specifically directed toward representing consumers aggressively for premium results.
Networking with fellow attorneys is always good to ensure you stay on top of your game. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association.
I am a frequent speaker myself at various consumer oriented continuing legal education seminars for other attorneys before the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association (the “TBBBA”). I also write a quarterly column for the TBBBA, Student Loan Sidebar, about recent student loan related laws, regulations and developments nationwide. Whenever possible, I take the opportunity to share my knowledge about student loans gained from my prior work as trial counsel for Sallie Mae, ECMC and other student loan servicers or guarantors, and from my practice now on the consumer side of things.