Interview with Shawn McClure, Partner and Collection Practice Manager
In business for over four decades, the law firm of Bernstein-Burkley, P.C., also has been a National List Member for 40+ years. During an informative interview with Partner Shawn McClure, manager of the firm’s commercial collection practice, it was easy to see why The National List is happy to refer and highly recommend clients to this successful firm. The numbers speak for themselves—100,000 creditors’ rights cases in the past 10 years and more than $20 million collected for clients in just the past 5 years—but Shawn says there’s much more to why 98 percent of their cases are repeat clients or referrals.
Focus on the Results
When asked what he thinks causes clients to keep coming back, Shawn said, “The number one thing is that we focus on the result. We don’t just go through the litigation steps. We always have the end in sight. Other litigators might lose sight of the bottom line, but we know that the reason why we do what we do is to meet the client’s goal to get paid or to tell them that their case is a lost cause. We might end up advising a client to let a case go, to move on, when it’s in their best interest.” He continued, “It’s always flattering when a former debtor says, ‘I’ve got a collection issue. Will you do what you did to me for the collection issue I have?’ They call us because we made it tough on them, so they want us to do the same thing for their debtors.”
Balance Business Interests with Legal Needs
Shawn has worked for Bernstein-Burkley since his graduation from Duquesne Law School in 2007. He made Partner in 2012, and since then he has been managing the firm’s collection practice. He says that the biggest reason he enjoys his job is the variety in the areas of law and types of businesses he works with. He likes getting to know the clients and how their businesses operate. “We pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ businesses and helping them make smart business decisions. I totally agree with what it says on our website:
‘When Joe Bernstein started his law practice more than 40 years ago, he knew what clients needed: the best possible advice. An established businessman before entering the legal profession and a hand-picked member of President Lyndon Johnson’s task force on minority small businesses, Joe Bernstein and his son Bob made it their priority to balance a client’s business interests with their legal needs. When Kirk Burkley joined the firm in 2002, his views aligned with those of Bob and Joe and he quickly became a leader in the firm. That tradition of tending to business AND legal opportunities is at the heart of Bernstein-Burkley, P.C.’”
Perform as a Team
When asked if there was anything personal he would like to add about Bernstein-Burkley’s mission, Shawn replied, “One of the things I appreciate is the freedom and flexibility of having a 40-year history behind me. I know the same practices are going to continue. My personality is a good match with the other members of the team. We all get along. Everyone is hard-working and performs as a team. Clients have the resources of the team; someone is always available and keeps things moving. We also have the flexibility to assist clients with creative fee structures.”
Handle Clients of All Sizes Efficiently
Bernstein-Burkley’s clients run the gamut from large companies with hundreds of accounts to local individuals, including small contractors and mom and pop shops. “We try to give a single claim the same treatment as a company that sends us lots of claims. There is no waiting list. Potential clients can pick up the phone and give me a call. I’m available all the time. Clients just need to get all the necessary information and documentation to us electronically, if possible. We pride ourselves on being a paperless office. Bob, our Managing Partner, always has been on the forefront of technology. Being paperless enables us to handle more clients efficiently. If clients don’t have the necessary documentation, they have to realize there are legal limitations.”
Rely on National List Membership Benefits
Shawn believes that The National List provides a great service to both credit professionals and attorneys. “The National List creates a relationship with clients who know they can place claims that are protected. The National List provides a list of vetted attorneys who are the best in the industry.
”The National List provides marketing advantages for attorneys that are invaluable. They enable us to cast a wider net nationwide. We’re not limited to practicing in one state. They can recommend an attorney in another state if we don’t know anyone there. I’m licensed in PA, OH and WV, but our firm practices throughout the country. We coordinate legal efforts in other states. The majority of states are covered for our larger clients. If a case is in a state where we don’t know anyone, we call The National List, because we know they will recommend a good attorney there. We like to rely on their recommendations.”
Participate in Industry Organizations
Bernstein-Burkley is active in all of the major industry organizations. Robert S. Bernstein is the President of the CLLA for 2015-2016, making him only the third two-term president since the League was founded in 1895. He also wrote a book called Get P.A.I.D: A Guide to Getting Paid Faster. It explores a new way for businesses to view credit policy that can improve both the bottom line and relationships with customers. They give the book to all new employees to study. You can find more information about the book on www.getpaidsystem.com.
Collect Where Others Might Fail
When I asked Shawn what else he would like to add about Bernstein-Burkley and why National List clients should consider requesting the firm for their legal collection needs, he replied, “We are not just a collection machine. We focus on being aggressive with collection techniques, on being the firm that a creditor can come to and know we will collect where others might fail. We get some cases from other attorneys who haven’t had results and we succeed.”
The National List is pleased and honored to have Bernstein-Burkley, P.C., as a 40-year member of our list of esteemed collection attorneys. If you would like to use their services, register your claims through National List so they can be insured, and you can have both teams behind your collection needs.