It’s no secret that bankruptcy law wasn’t exactly what I set out to do. With that said, it’s been a much more enjoyable road than I had imagined. In the last couple weeks there have been several events that make me enjoy my job more than I thought I would. I hadn’t realized that practicing bankruptcy law had some similarities with the general public interest job I wanted to do: you can help people. I know some have issues with the idea that people can even file bankruptcy, especially when people max out their credit cards and then can have their debt wiped away and not be held responsible for their actions. I agree there are people who take advantage of the system. But I also think there are many people who are in need of this system in order to get things back on track, and who had never though they would ever be filing for bankruptcy.
A lot of times when people come into my office to sign their petitions, you can tell they’re not happy to be sitting across from me. It’s nothing personal, it’s just slightly embarrassing to be signing documents where you’re basically saying you have failed in the financial aspect of your life. Many of them explain the situation they’re in, and tell me they never thought they would ever be filing for bankruptcy.
Needless to say, people aren’t necessarily happy when they’re in my office, but lately it’s been nice to see that I can make a small difference in people’s lives just by the way I treat them.
Case in point: a couple came in to sign their petition, and the wife looked like she wanted to bite my head off. It turned out that she was a little weary about our office. As I’ve mentioned before, my firm handles mostly Spanish-speaking clients, most of whom are not familiar with legal issues, attorneys, 50-page documents, etc. They know about notario fraud, and they know that a lot of people these days are getting cheated out of their money by attorneys who promise to modify their loan and then never hear from them again. So I think it’s justified when a client wants to see my California bar number to make sure I’m really an attorney. And I think this wife was justified in being weary of what her and her husband were getting into. By the end of our meeting, the wife and I were chatting away, she felt comfortable with who she had hired, and she left with a smile on her face. I love that.
I also had a great moment when a client and his wife came back and told Rama and I that he talked about us to his son the night before: he told his son how happy he was that there were still honest people out there who cared. This guy is one of our (Rama and I) favorites: he’ s the sweetest, nicest, older man you can imagine! So him and his wife have offered to take us out to lunch, and I think we may just have to take them up on it so we can see them again!