How would you answer if asked, “Tell us something interesting or unusual that debt collection work has taught you”? Or, “What do you enjoy most about your job in the industry?” In order to gather information about our 52 authors for the blogs published on InsideARM simultaneously with their white papers, we sent each one a questionnaire that included those questions. We thought the responses were so interesting that we want to share a few of them with you.
Lee C. Rogers, from Sessons & Rogers, P.A. in North Carolina, has been working in the debt collection industry for almost 25 years. Ninety-nine percent of his law practice is dedicated to debt collection. Lee told us, “I don’t think anyone sets out to be a debt collector or a collection attorney, and it seems like it could be a very dry practice. But I have found that every day brings something new and interesting and real opportunities for learning and development. It is an area of law where you are providing a tangible, measurable service to your client, helping them to achieve the goal of increasing their collections and remaining compliant with the law. I have the ability to assure that consumers are treated fairly and with dignity.”
Brent Yarborough, from Zarzaur & Schwartz, P.C. in Alabama, is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to collections and consumer law. He wrote, “At some point or another, we are all buyers and sellers. And despite the sage advice of Polonius, most of us are borrowers and lenders, as well. I find it interesting to work with the laws that govern those simple, every day transactions.”
Morgan Doughty, from Hood & Stacy, P.A. in Arkansas, enjoys negotiating with opposing counsel and the challenge of getting the best outcome for her clients. She told NL, “Interestingly enough, debt collection has taught me to be more compassionate towards people, and that there truly are people out there that have experienced unforeseen, devastating events that resulted in them being in overwhelming debt. I’ve learned to treat every interaction with a debtor or his or her counsel with no preconceived notions. Every case is unique and as such, must be handled in a unique way.”
Mark Moore, from Lazega & Johanson, LLC in Georgia, answered, “Over the years, I have found that, for the most part, debtors truly want to pay the money they owe. I enjoy finding unique ways to locate and collect money for my clients from debtors who refuse to work with the creditors amicably.”
Marvin Dang, from the Law Offices of Marvin S.C. Dang in Hawaii, recounts that, “Occasionally, I have gone to local stores where the cashiers, after learning my name, have told me that they had owed money on an account that my law firm was handling, and that they were satisfied with how the situation was resolved. I tell this story to my law firm team to emphasize that we must always treat the debtors in a civil and professional manner, and we must ensure that any resolution of their accounts is done on a ‘win-win’ basis.”
Sam Fratantoni, from Arthur B. Adler & Associates in Illinois says, ““The variety is what I enjoy the most about my job. I deal with clients, office and litigation procedures and strategies, together with account resolution.” He adds, “Some of the best attorneys I’ve met are the most humble. [I’ve learned to] treat others as you wish to be treated.”
Chris Couch, from Couch, Conville & Blitt, with offices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee states, “Many people want to satisfy their obligations with my clients. Working with my clients to make that happen is extremely rewarding. I love getting a thank you note from the opposing party stating how glad they are to have satisfied their obligation with my client and thanking me or a member of my firm for treating them with respect.”
Jeremy Cohen is founder of Cohen & Associates, PC, in Massachusetts. A lifelong Bostonian, Jeremy has some interesting observations on the business of debt collection: “Everyone from the Witches of Salem to representatives in government are owed money and owe money,” and “Judges love pleasing a crowd of debtors.” Regarding his work, he says, “I am most energized and happy when I am in the middle of negotiations on a matter.”
David DuBoard, from Gosselin & Dubord, PA. in Maine, says that After 32 years of working in the debt collection industry, he has learned, “Most people are honest and sincerely want to repay their debts. Given the wide variety of creditors we represent, I am always learning something new about how businesses operate in this country.”
Jay Niederman, from Niederman, Stanzel & Lindsey in New Hampshire, thinks that, “Years ago, the best part of the job was going to Court. Lately, my partners cover that part, and I try to stay in the office and troubleshoot the processes that keep things going. Regardless of whether I am working on the office computers and processes or trying to resolve a difficult case, problem solving is what I like most about my job. The other aspect that I enjoy most is teaching. Through the New Hampshire Bar Association, I have been presenting a debtor/creditor seminar to newly-admitted lawyers since 1978. I continue to do this twice each year.”
Scott Wortman, Partner at Mel S. Harris & Associates, LLC in New York said,”What I enjoy most about my job is having the pleasure to work in a truly innovative and vibrant environment, where creativity is rewarded, and where teamwork amongst all is encouraged, notwithstanding capacity. It’s wonderful to have a job where I can honestly state that I have a true passion and zeal for what I do.”
Peter Kubin, with Dominion Law Associates in Virginia, told us, “When I entered the field, I assumed I would need to leave my empathy at the door and focus on being hard-nosed. However, actual experience has taught me that empathy is key to doing the best job for the client. The best resolutions are ones where the customers feel like they were listened to and treated professionally. I really enjoy finding creative solutions to problems. The best scenarios are ones where you make a recovery for your client, but the customer also feels satisfied and often even thanks you for your help.”
We would like to hear from more of you regarding what working in debt collection has taught you and what you like about your job. Either comment on this blog, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we get enough responses, we will do a blog like this again.
By Marti Lythgoe, NL Editor