Greg Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC primarily focuses his work on assisting clients with precarious financial situations. As Greg explains, the work he does on behalf of his clients can be both challenging and rewarding. After spending part of his early practice focusing on general practice areas, Greg’s specific focus on consumer debt protection has enabled him to dedicate all of his resources to make Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC California’s premier consumer protection law firm.
Lawyer Minds: What types of cases do you handle?
Greg: Our practice areas are: Debt Settlement, Collection Lawsuit Defense, Judgment Settlement, Bankruptcy, and Collection Harassment (FDCPA).
Lawyer Minds: How did you end up handling these types of cases?
Greg: I started as a consumer lawyer doing the classic “Big 3”: PI, Criminal Defense, and Debt Relief. However, I ran into some serious debt issues personally after I bought a pub (huge mistake) several years ago. I worked myself out of that, came up with a business model, and now focus exclusively on debt relief for consumers and small businesses.
Lawyer Minds: What constitutes success in your mind regarding a case outcome?
Greg: When the client’s total out of pocket (amount paid in attorney fees and the amount they paid their creditor in settlement) is less than what they owed when they walked in the door.
Lawyer Minds: When you are deciding about whether to take a case, what factors are you evaluating?
Greg: Is the client genuinely interested in getting their finances on track? Can I help them? Do they have the ability to resolve their debts outside of bankruptcy? What is the fastest and least expensive way for them to resolve their debts? Do they admit they have some responsibility for their current situation (although sometimes it was outside their control)?
Lawyer Minds: What are some things you look for when first meeting with a client?
Greg: Honesty. Do we communicate well? Are their expectations realistic? Are they going to suck up an inordinate amount of my staff time? Will I ever be able to make them happy?
Lawyer Minds: What would you say to a prospective client who believes they cannot afford an attorney?
Greg: I will usually save them far more money than I cost (in real measurable amounts). It will cost them more without me.
Their time is valuable. I explain they have a debt problem which is really an income problem. They need to focus on generating income rather than dealing with creditors which can be very exhausting. They need to get up tomorrow thinking “How am I going to make more money” rather than: “How am I going to pay these bills”. That is how you crawl out of debt.
Lawyer Minds: What sort of fulfillment do you get from being a lawyer?
Greg: More now than ever, helping people traverse the legal system with some measurable way, especially when they really need it and appreciate it, is very gratifying. Saving a family from financial ruin is far more satisfying than getting the drunk off or a fat check for someone barely hurt in an accident.
Lawyer Minds: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a new practice?
Greg: Know your niche. Develop great systems and processes.
Hire the right people. It’s not going to be easy at all. Make sure you’re up for it. Being a good lawyer is only a small part of a successful law practice.
Lawyer Minds: Where do you see your law firm 10 years from now?
Greg: Annual revenues approaching 10M and me working part time, essentially making business decisions from data provided from staff.
Thanks again to Greg for interviewing with Lawyer Minds!