I went down to Nashville recently for an intensive course in effective leadership using Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership principles. Dave Ramsey has devoted his career to Debtor Education the way I have to practicing bankruptcy law. Dave has quite a company, and his methods of operation are almost identical to Geraci Law. In fact, except for the obvious Christian background of Dave’s company, the guiding principles of Geraci Law are almost identical to Dave’s: honesty, integrity, and helping others come first. We even like the same Bible passages! And remember, Bankruptcy is a biblical law, Old Testament: Deutoronomy 15: 15 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release”.
Dave believes, as do I, that everything else follows if you do the right thing and help others. Dave Ramsey has a large meeting room where his 400 or so employees gather each week to share reports on the business operations. Geraci Law only has about 130 staff, but the Geraci Law teams also meet weekly, in person or electronically, and each team leader shares their reports. In that way, the organization is able to communicate and improve service to their clients. It was quite a thrill to meet Dave Ramsey in person, and we had a great time and learned a lot, although I think my Debtor Education Course at http://www.pfged.com is better than Dave’s!!
(his is pretty good, though, and his new book is great!)
We at Geraci Law strive to have “happy clients”. Why? Our clients are almost always under stress, and our mission is to take as much of that away for them as possible. Here is what one recent client took the time to say in a thank you card to me:
“I want to extend a warm thank you to you and all the lawyers at your firm. You have a wonderful group of lawyers and you have helped me get out of debt and start my life once again. I especially want to thank your lawyer at your Berwyn office because they personally helped with my case. I want to thank Frank Hernandez. He helped me understand the whole case, and always answered by questions. He is so generous he even shared his dinner with me once. I had never tried Italian Beef before then. I also want to thank Belfor. He always greeted me and welcomed me into the office. I have recommended your office to my friends, who also need help with their bills. Thank you Mr. Geraci for everything your firm has helped me with. The little things you do mean so very much. Thank you.
I am the 4th generation of lawyer in my family, going back to my great-great grandfather, Francis Albert Hoffmann, who was lieutenant governor of Illinois during the Civil War, a founder of the Republican Party and staunch abolitionist, my great-grandfather Francis A. Hoffmann, who was corporation counsel of Chicago in the 1880’s, and my grandfather Francis A. Hoffmann, who went to North Division High School in 1905 (now Lincoln Park High School), Knox College and Univ. of Michigan Law School. My mother unfortunately was unable to go to law school, but my sister is an attorney, and so am I. I am quite proud of my family, and my profession. So it pains me when ignorant people make lawyer jokes, or take a line from Shakespeare like “Let’s kill all the lawyers” out of context and spout it with an ignorant laugh.
This line is from (2 Henry VI, 4.2.59), Dick the Butcher to Jack Cade “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” If we read the play, we see that Dick the Butcher and Jack Cade are low characters plotting the overthrow of the government for their own ends, and his “ragged multitude…rude and merciless… of want to “first kill all the lawyers” and educated persons so that they may destroy the kingdom. Not exactly the kind of people that you would want to imitate, much less repeat their disgusting plot to murder anyone with education. So, read the play, respect the law, and stay out of jail. (what happened to Dick the Butcher and Jack Cade anyway?)
Many of our clients are elderly, and we file their Chapter 13s to protect their paid off home and repay creditors with lower interest and no late payments. Occasionally, a husband or wife will pass away during the case. In this case, the wife passed at the end of the case, after they completed the payments, but before completing the requirement of certifying that she had no outstanding Domestic Support Obligations. You would think that it would “go without saying” that a 78 year old grandmother was not under any court order to pay support, but that is the law. Since the wife was deceased, Geraci Law attorney Megan Hayes obtained an affidavit from the surviving spouse, and when the Clerk marked it a “non-conforming document”, the kindly bankruptcy judge issued an order on the Clerk to make it conform, and both the surviving spouse and the deceased debtor received their discharge. I am very proud of all the 76+ Geraci Law attorneys, not to mention our fine paralegals, for this kind of service to our clients. As Shakespeare put over 400 years ago in in Measure for Measure, which was all about lawyers, “Good counselors lack no clients”!
Your politicians made changes to the bankruptcy laws years ago to protect car finance companies. They seem to think that making it hard for consumers will help their finance companies. Although the politicians must have gotten some big contributions from GM’s captive finance company, GMAC, it didn’t stop General Motors from filing bankruptcy, did it? No!! So even though your Senators and Congress people try to make it hard on us, you can still get help as a working person if you are overwhelmed with debt because of job loss, illness or whatever life brings. Car loans are now going 60 to even 84 months. Used car rates can be 21%. So if you have a high interest car loan, and the car is worth less than you owe on it, here’s the deal in Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
1. If your bought the vehicle more than 910 days (2.5 years ago), you can offer to pay the actual value at prime rate plus 2%.
2. If you bought the vehicle less than 910 days, you have to pay the remaining loan on it, no reduction in value, but can still pay less interest.
Either way, you get a better deal, and still get to handle your other debt, and pay your vehicle ahead of other debts, so the car gets paid off faster, while the other creditors wait. Have a co-signer? Only way to protect the co-signer is pay the loan as written, either inside your bankruptcy, or “outside”. Geraci Law restructured or discharged over $1.5 billion in debt last year. Visit us at http://www.elimadebt.com