Steven Miles Glerum
- State Bar of Florida, Admitted October 1982
- U.S. Federal District Court, Southern District of Florida, March 1983
- United States Supreme Court 1991
- Nova University Center for the Study of Law (Now Shepard Broad law Center), Juris Doctor Degree, Conferred August 1982
- Florida Atlantic University, Bachelor of Business Administration (Finance), Conferred 1979 (Student Government, Chief Justice Student Court)
- Broward College, Associates Degree, Conferred 1977
- Internship Broward County Public Defender’s Office 1981-1982
- Clerkship, Associate then Partner with Honorable Howard M. Zeidwig 1982-1985
- Partner Tepps & Glerum 1985-1987
- Sole Practitioner, Steve M. Glerum, P.A. 1987-Present
- Consumer Law Award- Legal Aid Service of Broward County 2010
- Criminal Defense (Federal & State Courts)
- DUI & Traffic Infractions Defense
- Divorce & Family Law
- Landlord & Tenant Law
- General Civil Law
A few questions with
STEVE GLERUM, BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
Q: Why do you enjoy Bankruptcy Law?
A: I am able to really help people. I’ve been practicing for over 30 years and have experience in all types of law, but no area of the law gives me more satisfaction than assisting clients who are usually so far in debt, without the bankruptcy process they would never get out from under their financial burden.
Q: Shouldn’t people have to pay the bills they incur?
A: I’ve heard and I understand that assertion. But simply put: stuff happens. Job loss. Divorce. Bad investments. Illness and medical bills. Just too much debt. The bankruptcy law was enacted by Congress to help people swamped in debt. I tell my clients: it’s not a moral decision, it’s an economic decision. It will be the difference between years of scraping by to try and pay creditors, as opposed to after bankruptcy, being able to provide for your dependents and have a life. The bankruptcy law realizes too much debt means you are unable to provide for your family and be a productive citizen. It allows people to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start, a new financial beginning. The load is off their shoulders. That’s what gives me satisfaction in what I do and what I mean by helping people out.
Q: What about the debt settlement companies you hear ads for as alternatives?
A: Not to be flippant, but, there just is no free lunch. The fact is debt settlement firms have no power or leverage to make creditos do or accept anything, despite promises to the contrary. You pay and you pay, but if something happens and you suddenly can’t pay and “default”, it will all be for naught, as in your money has literally gone down the drain and the debt remains. Absent a bankruptcy any creditor is in the driver’s seat.
Q: What are the requirements and restrictions for filing bankruptcy?
A: There are important and fairly complicated rules that must be followed. Transparency is paramount; you must disclose all assets, but many, if not all assets such as a homestead and retirement accounts are “exempt” in the bankruptcy process, which means you keep them. There are many, many other exemptions and by far most of my clients do not have to give up any assets. My clients are able to discharge 100% of their unsecured debt (credit cards and medical bills) and it’s the best of both worlds: they can retain their second assets (mortgages and car loans but they must keep paying) or just walk away without the lender seeking a deficiency claim.
Q: Did the Great Recession give your business a boost?
A: Surprisingly, not really. But the recession demonstrated the best intended and smart people can make financial mistakes. Donald Trump, Burt Reynolds, Detroit, even Walt Disney once filed bankruptcy.
Q: Does a person in bankruptcy have to go to court?
A: No. I should mention bankruptcy is not an adversarial proceeding like other areas of law. My clients have a brief meeting with the trustee assigned to administer their case and I am present with them; everything else is handled by and through me. It’s another aspect my clients like; No muss, no fuss.
Q: What advice do you give to someone with so much debt they just cannot keep up?
A: Explore the option of filing bankruptcy. I offer a confidential, free consultation and will explain the process. It’s all hot air unless and until we actually file. As with most things today, there is plenty of information online. I’ve been advising clients for years that if you’re more than $10,000 in debt and unable to keep up, you’ll just never get out from under it. You will end up paying your creditors more than is actually owed in the form of high interest and penalties. It pains me to see good people who have tried and paid over time, only to have something unexpected, falter and default. Then the hammer comes down in the form of collections, lawsuits, etc. The client finally throws his or her hands and comes to me. And the sad part is we could have saved all that money months or years earlier. At least be informed before embarking on a payback plan, because in the end, if you default, your good faith and honest intentions will fall on the deaf ears of your creditors.
Helping People Have a Life Again
Who: Being an attorney in South Florida for more than 30 years. Steve Glerum has experience in most areas of the law. Over time, he found the more he handled bankruptcy cases, the greater his professional satisfaction grew. He has become passionate about this area of law in helping people extinguish overwhelming debt and allowing his clients to get on with their lives.
Community: Consumer Law Award from Broward Legal Aid for pro bono work; presently handling pro bono cases for Mission United Veterans Project.
Myth Busting: Many of the people who come to me have suffered unfortunate life events such as unemployment, divorce or medical issues, resulting in severe financial distress. Others have just accumulated too many bills over time and cannot keep up, just too much debt. Honest people feel badly about not paying their bills. But the truth is that, absent hitting the lotto, often there is just no foreseeable way out.
I counsel people that filing bankruptcy is not a moral decision, it’s an economic decision. No one wants to file bankruptcy. But the Great Recession demonstrated the best intended and smartest people can make financial mistakes. Burt Reynolds, the city of Detroit, even Walt Disney once filed bankruptcy. In a recent GOP debate, Donald Trump stated that in filing bankruptcy he “used the laws of the country to my benefit.”
Too much debt means a person is unable to provide for themselves and their dependents. The bankruptcy law is a lifeline that allows a person to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start. It gives me great satisfaction to see the worry and stress of that financial burden lifted off a client’s shoulders so they again have the means to live a life. I rescue people, help them recover, and move on.
Industry Wisdom: In my experience bankruptcy alternatives, such as debt settlement firs, are a slippery slope, because things change over time. You must still pay back all or most of the debt, including interests and penalties, which just continues the financial struggle. If something happens and you can no longer pay, you remain liable. It pains me when a person has paid money in good faith trying to settle their debts, only to have something happen, and then they finally come see me. That money could have been in their pocket.
The Take-Away: It is inevitable that in the course of a lifetime some unfortunate events will befall us. Congress enacted the bankruptcy law to help people. From my perspective, it’s good to see my clients have a life again.