The recession has provided debt collection law firms with seemingly endless opportunities to make money recouping debts that banks or debt buyers claim are due to them. Where naturally you might assume that the demand for consumer lawyers has increased, I am inclined to say no, not such much. The reason? I think there is way more money to be made being on the Plaintiff side of these debt colleciton lawsuit than on the denfending side for these lawyers. There are some really good consumer attorneys out there and I do believe that overall, people are more successful in court with an attorney than without an attorney. It creates a level playing field.
Perhaps most people think they can’t afford any attorney. What you may not know is that federal consumer laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides for an award of up to $1000 for violations of the act to the consumer and for attorneys fees if the consumer is ultimately successful. This creates a monetary incentive for attorneys to take on these somewhat “small” cases. It’s smart to at least consult with an attorney or two to find out if you have been a victim of the abusive debt collection conduct that violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
One of the best places to find a consumer attorney is NACA, National Association of Consumer Advocates, whose members are carefully screened consumer attorneys practicing in various areas of consumer law. It’s important to pick an attorney that is familiar with your specific situation. For example, although both a gynecologist and a dentist are medical doctors, you wouldn’t go see a gynecologist for a tooth ache. Get my point? If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit, find an attorney who regularly defends these lawsuits. If you are facing an abusive debt collector, perhaps find an attorney who has a reputation for holding those big debt collection firms accountable.
One good way to research attorneys, is to do somewhat of a reverse search on online dockets. For example, you can search the Gwinnett County Georgia’s online site by attorney’s name or even their bar number if you have it. An attorney bar number is basically their identification number issued to them by the bar (attorney regulatory organization). You can find information on attorneys practicing law in Georgia attorneys through the State Bar of Georgia. For example, let’s say you are being sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates in Georgia. First, see if your county has online access to court dockets. You may be able to look up Portfolio Recovery Associates in the docket search and find out if any attorneys represented the defendant and then research that attorney. Might seem cumbersome but it’s a heck of a lot easier than going through the phone book and randomly calling lawyers to ask them if they deal with this kind of thing. Or, find out when your local smalls claims court has a debt collection calendar and go see who appears for defendants. Besides, what better of a learning opportunity than to sit in court and watch how the process works!
I have researched many consumer attorneys around the country and found a few that stuck out to me for one reason or another and I’ve shared them with you on this site. No matter what attorney you choose, it is important that you do the research on the attorney/firm before you make your decision. Also, take advantage of free consultations. You should be “Interviewing” the lawyer as much as he is interviewing you as a prospective client. Trust is an important element of the attorney-client relationship and it just makes sense that you should feel comfortable with your lawyer.
Lyngklip & Associates Consumer Law Center, PLC
Whether filing class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers or testifying in front of congress about consumer issues, attorney Ian Lyngklip of Southfield, Michigan is on the front line of not only defending consuming rights but also working toward educating legislators and the public about current needs in consumer protection and what others can do about it.
Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC
For several years now, attorney Daniel Edelman of Chicago Illinois has been publishing e-books about debt collection lawsuits and debt buyer issues publishing them freely on the web. It is difficult to find many attorneys willing to share so much valuable information and insight about the issues in debt collection litigation today and to even have the time to do it.
Watts & Herring, LLC
The Alabama attorneys of Watts & Herring, LLC provide excellent online resources for Alabama residents facing debt collection lawsuits.