A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

A couple of months ago, I took a job in a law office.

I wasn’t looking for that type of work, but something in their keywords and my keywords must have matched and the job post popped up on ZipRecruiter.

It took me five days and a lot of research before I finally submitted my resume and cover letter. “I doubt I’ll even get a call.”

That was on a Tuesday.

I started working on Thursday.

When I started to share my news, a few friends asked me, “A law office? That can be intense. And you have to talk to people? Are you sure you want to do this?”

The law firm I work at specializes in bankruptcies. My role as the Client Relations Coordinator (receptionist, if you are old school) means I am the first point of contact when a client calls. I am the person that greets the clients when they arrive.

One of the benefits of working in this role is my ability to hear everything, from people talking in the office to one of the dozens of phone calls I receive. While I had done my research on bankruptcy in this state, it’s nothing compared to actually seeing it live and in action.

A few weeks ago, a vendor was talking to the practice owner near my desk. I hear this person say, “I don’t know how you make money off poor people.”

The air in the office seemingly went still. My jaw dropped, and I glanced over to the attorney, a man who is highly respected in this area and been in practice for over thirty years. He takes no punches and doesn’t mind putting a person in his or her place when needed. He is firm and matter-of-fact.

He paused, let out a small laugh and says, “Well, we seem to do all right.”

In my prior research, I had found a lot of information I’ve since learned are misconceptions.

Spoiler alert: Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true.

Let me bust another myth believed apparently of many people, not just the aforementioned:

  1. Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean a person is poor.
  2. Filing for bankruptcy isn’t free.

No two cases are the same. There are people who only receive social security benefits each month. There are people who bring home five-figures each month. There are people who are out there hustling, working two and three jobs and can’t seem to get ahead.

While no two cases are the same, one theme seems to ring true for most: life happened. They have exhausted all other options and are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I hear the phrase, “This is my last resort,” all day every day.

It’s heartbreaking and sobering. I make it my mission each day to give comfort and hope to someone who feels like all is lost.

They may have to take off work to come to the office and go to their court dates. They do the things asked of them by the paralegal and attorney. They do the work required by federal law.

So no, they aren’t poor. The clients we serve are all hoping for a fresh start. A do-over, if you will. It’s not easy. And again, it’s not free.