The Lawyer Debt Settlement Model: What Consumers Need to Look for in a Debt Settlement Company and Why a Law Firm is Different

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“Persels & Associates was the first law firm to move to this structure, developing representation that was in the best interest if the clients.”

We are the only law firm offering this service directly to consumers

Some clients working their way out of debt wonder about the difference between using a traditional debt settlement company and a law firm. Persels & Associates, a national law firm that works with consumers to settle debts, is different from traditional debt settlement companies in some very specific and important ways.

Persels & Associates provides representation for over 50,000 clients with a staff of over 25 in the Persels central office and 160 field attorneys licensed in 48 states.

Persels & Associates and its predecessors have been working with clients to restructure debt payments for over 10 years. The law firm bridges the "gap" that can exist between the consumers and creditors. The firm’s ability to provide legal advice and negotiate payments consumers can afford can be essential to people working their way out of debt.

“We are the only law firm offering this service directly to consumers,” said Neil Ruther, founder of Persels & Associates. “We hear stories every day about the devastating impact consumer debt has on a family. We want to help people find a debt payment structure they can manage while protecting their legal rights.”

Unlike traditional debt management programs where consumers can pay up to 100% of the debt balance plus interest and penalties, the Persels & Associates approach has clients with severe debt burden pay a very small set-up fee, then a nominal monthly administrative fee while the payments are being negotiated with the creditors. Only after successful compromise of the clients’ debts does the firm realize its fee as a percentage of the saving achieved for the client.

Other companies will try and negotiate debt but not with legal representation. With Persels representation, clients can effectively assert all the rights afforded them by federal and state consumer protection laws while the law firm helps them develop and execute a plan to pay their debt.

An example of legal representation needed during the debt settlement process is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that provides guidelines for third party debt collectors who are seeking to collect legitimate debts. Persels & Associates has the resources to enforce clients’ rights under FDCPA. If a third party collector violated the FDCPA, Persels & Associates, LLC, will prepare and, with other firms, file a federal claim against the collector. If a violation is found, the Act entitles the consumer to damages.

What's more, Persels & Associates clients are not at risk for issues faced by consumers from debt settlement companies.
Here’s why:

Some Debt Settlement Companies Charge upfront fees to settle debts. Persels & Associates does not.

  • Unlike traditional debt management programs, where consumers can pay up to 115% of the debt balance plus interest and penalties, the Persels & Associates fee structure has clients pay a very small set-up fee, then a nominal monthly administrative fee while the payments are being negotiated with the creditors.
  • For a small initial set-up fee and an administrative fee of $50 per month Persels & Associates will negotiate with consumers’ creditors to reduce payments to something they can afford. Persels & Associates will also assist the consumer if legal issues arise.
  • Persels & Associates was the first law firm to move to this structure, developing representation that was in the best interest if the clients of the law firm.

Persels & Associates is a Law Firm. Representation by a law firm for purposes of negotiation of Clients debt provides Clients with many benefits that other debt settlement companies cannot offer customers.
For example:

  • Lawyers have been negotiating debt settlements for clients for hundreds of years;
  • Clients are assigned to an attorney in their state who fully understands state law and analyzes the client’s situation to form a solid legal strategy;
  • Clients have full access to the assigned attorney to answer legal questions as they arise throughout the representation;
  • Once a third-party collection agent receives notice that Clients are represented by the law firm, the collector must cease attempts to contact Clients;
  • If one or more of client’s creditors become aggressive, the law firm will be there to advise clients of all of their legal options and to assist Clients in asserting their rights.

Persels & Associates WILL NOT KEEP CLIENTS MONEY if clients terminate the debt settlement arrangement with the Law Firm.

  • Persels & Associates is a law firm and clients have the right to terminate their representation at any time.
  • Any funds remaining in the client’s trust account will be returned to them within 10 days of the firm receiving notification of their desire to terminate. Proper management of a lawyer's IOLTA (also commonly referred to as a "Trust Account") is highly regulated by each respective State Bar, affording clients additional protection.

Persels & Associates have been in business a long time

  • P&A has been supporting people struggling with debt since 1997. Our attorneys carefully review each and every client's file to verify the client's status, as opposed to other firms who may only review a client's file if they are having problems.

The Persels & Associates Process

  • Most firms do not begin negotiations until enough balance has built up in a client’s account, which can often take months. This initial length of time, often referred to as the "quiet period", actually increases the risk of creditors taking legal action.
  • Persels offers settlements that suit individual client situations, with standard terms for Debt Representation of 36, 48, or 60 months long.
  • Persels also offers a customized term for clients who require a more personalized payment option. Persels goal is to find the right term for each client, so that they can achieve success in their debt representation.

Persels & Associates programs go a long way to help clients keep their heads above water in these difficult economic times. Last December, revolving debt — an estimated 95 percent from credit cards — reached a record high of $943.5 billion, according to the Federal Reserve. The annual growth rate of this debt increased steadily, reaching 9.3 percent. The US unemployment numbers continue to hover around 10%, causing more and more people to use their credit cards for household and medical bills.

The amount of debt that is delinquent — in which minimum payments are late but the accounts is still open — also appears to be on the rise. The Federal Reserve found that 4.34 percent of the credit card portfolios of the 100 largest banks that issue cards were delinquent in the third quarter of last year, up from 4.07 percent in the previous quarter. Charge-offs — accounts closed for nonpayment — also grew in that period, and banks expect charge-offs to keep rising.

For a small initial set-up fee and an administrative fee of $50 per month, Persels & Associates lawyers will represent clients with the goal of negotiating affordable settlements with their creditors. Persels & Associates will also assist the client if legal issues arise during the course of the representation Only when the firm has been successful in negotiating a compromise the client can afford will it take its fee as a percentage of the savings realized by the effort.

About Persels & Associates
Persels & Associates, LLC, and its entities are pioneers in the field of offering "unbundled" legal services to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. As Americans credit debt rose, Persels & Associates bridged the "gap" between consumers and their debtors. Today, Persels & Associates employs over 160 lawyers in the 48 states and has 25 central office staff attorneys with over 50,000. For more information please visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com

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Karen McGagh
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