I haven’t blogged in a while. And this one will be my last for now.
I’ll tell you where I’m going and I tell you why.
McLeod Law Offices, PC is closing the practice. I’ll say “for now.” But it is closing. I’m leaving private practice and assuming a new responsibility: Pro Se Law Clerk for the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. I’ll be working out of all three courthouses in Massachusetts.
A few years ago, I was introduced to the outgoing Pro Se Clerk – who was the first in the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court (at least in my memory) and one of only a few in the country. She asked me a fairly straight forward question: “why can’t I get a panel of attorneys together to help debtors who can be helped on an emergency basis?”
“I dunno,” I replied.
Seemed to me like a straight forward question. Seemed to me like a pretty easy project to put together. So I stepped up and offered to help. It actually required a ton of planning and careful thought. But after months of developing criteria for not only the debtors who could benefit from the panel, but also the attorneys who were going to participate on the panel, it gelled. How? By spending time talking to scores of debtors who thought they could file bankruptcy all by themselves. All of whom had different issues; all of whom had their own story. Eventually, the Emergency Panel fell under the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service where it still operates today. Mission accomplished. But that experience lead me to more.
The Pro Se Clerk has clinics across the state to educate debtors on what it takes to get a successful discharge and what the bankruptcy process is about. I pulled together a fictitious debtor – by the name of Joe Sample – who had a boatload of issues. He had exemption problems. He had property issues. He had an insider preference payment. Mr. Sample thought he could do bankruptcy himself… and ended up with a lot of mistakes. The goal: make debtors more aware of what they need to do to get that discharge they need… and in many cases, what they need to do is get competent legal advice. That mission is ongoing.
And now, that mission will be mine.
For the last 20 years I have been an attorney in private practice. I cannot kid you – it feels a little weird to be leaving that behind, but I do so knowing I am still going to be helping people just as I have these past 20 years.
For the last 5, I’ve blogged. You know my opinions. You can sense what kind of an attorney I am, and what kind of an attorney I am not. You know perhaps little more about bankruptcy. And above all, you have supported me. Never did I imagine that so many people from parts I’ve never even been to read this blog. I thank you all for your support, your feed back, your retweets and your likes on Facebook.
I know in my heart that this position is a good fit. I am struck by the number of people who I have told the news to who quickly reply “you’re perfect for it.” Time will tell if that is true… I have big shoes to fill. But for now, I must end this blog. In the coming days, a page will be up formalizing the closing of the practice with links and additional information. The blog will be gone. Just writing that sentence made me well up a bit.
To all of my former clients, thank you. Each new case and each new issue made me a better attorney, and frankly, that’s all any conscientious attorney can hope to be.
To all of my followers and friends, thank you. There sure is more on this journey than I expected. I do look forward to the challenges ahead and I do hope to one day share it with you. I will miss you.
Be well. Be happy. Stay in touch.