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 firms, 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 and 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.