It has been some time since I have sat down and written an “end of the year” blog. But the end of 2020 is a reason in itself to stop and think through what we all have been through. In previous year recaps, I have discussed topics like our new locations or new hires, but in 2020 we did not expand our staff or our geographic reach. 2020 brought unprecedented times to every person and business around the world – and Sadek and Cooper was not immune from what the pandemic had in store.
Our philosophy had long been for our lawyers to meet clients in person in one of our many convenient locations. Although we still prefer face-to-face interaction, we have not held an in-person client meeting since mid-March. I remember that Monday the 16th all too well. I went to court that morning and that afternoon our world changed. How long will this last? When will we be back in the office? Can we still help our clients through this? These and many more questions surfaced quickly with the announcement of the quarantine. My “new” office became a corner of our attic. Although it was quiet, it was dark and extremely cold. But soon, it came abuzz with calls and video chats. Our entire dedicated team spent 5 consecutive months working from home before phasing back to working from the offices on a full-time basis. Whether debt relief or family law, our clients needed us more than ever for advice, advocacy, and counseling. Our new normal took shape relatively quickly.
Although many courts shut down for a period of time, the Federal Bankruptcy Courts remained open across the country. Many of our clients needed the many benefits that a Bankruptcy offered more than ever due to increased financial instability caused by the pandemic. With our remote technology and security already in place, our firm was able to assist current and new clients without missing a beat. The CARES act helped many of our existing clients and we have been able to modify Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans making ongoing financial obligations easier during these times.
Additionally, in 2020 we saw an entirely new client base. It is no secret that most people seek bankruptcy assistance once a foreclosure or collection lawsuit has been filed against them, I refer to this strategy as the “loudest knock at the door approach.” However, with all the negative that 2020 brought, one positive that people generally had was the gift of time itself. I have talked about this topic frequently on our radio show and many people were proactive with their time. The most common theme we found between our 2020 client base is that people who finally sat down to look at their finances and budget rather than wait for the “loudest knock at the door” became proactive. Through our consultations, we were able to further educate people regarding their savings potential through debt relief.
Using Bankruptcy, Debt Negotiation, Debt Consolidation, and State Court Defense we have been able to lower – or even eliminate – our clients’ monthly debt burdens. Thus, our clients have the potential for more future savings and, equally important, keeping themselves out of debt. With prices of everyday necessities juping higher and higher (for example, beef has increased 25% in 2020 and eggs 12%) it is now more than ever most important that consumers allocate as little as possible towards debt; and monies are earmarked for everyday necessities which are costing more or savings to lean on through the remainder of the pandemic.
In sum, I have heard thousands of situations that were born directly from Covid-19 or related to Covid-19. The aftermath and the economic turmoil of the pandemic will last far beyond 2020, however, looking back from my point of view there are fewer questions left to be answered and more hope to be had since quarantine in March. We will hang in there together and, if you need me, I am and will continue to be here for anyone needing a legal advocate.