For Everything, There is a Time…

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.

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  1. Wondering What a Bankruptcy Attorney Really Does?
  2. Pro Se Perils

2 Responses to “For Everything, There is a Time…”

  1. David Galiel says:

    Bill,

    This is actually wonderful news – having someone with your depth of knowledge, your compassion, patience and understanding, and your integrity and commitment to making a difference in the Court system in such a critical position can only benefit those in need and the whole state of Massachusetts.

    Transitions can be challenging and even scary. at the same time–speaking as someone who made the jump last year to a paid executive position in the nonprofit world after 20 wonderful years of consulting for mostly nonprofit clients–transitions can also be tremendously energizing, refreshing and enlightening. It is particularly interesting (and sometimes humbling) to be serving the same constituency from a different perspective (in your case, metaphorically–I not only switched roles, I switched Coasts as well!)

    Having had the privilege of having you as a client as well as a friend, I can’t think of a more qualified or better person for this role, and I think you’ll love it.

    Peace,

    David Galiel
    Executive Director, Beyond War

  2. Long-term bankruptcy lawyer to leave the practice, wow! I don’t know you Mr. McLeod, but it is surprising to see someone obviously so engrossed in practice for many years make this kind of leap. I wish you all the best and hope to meet you in your new role out here in western Massachusetts. I will miss reading your blogs, that is for sure.

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