Nick's Journal
2008-09-21 06:00:06 (UTC)

The Bankruptcy Clinic

fuck i have been busy. part-time work and full-time school
is too much, couple that with the potential of getting a dog
and i am just neck deep in stuff. but there is just one
experience (or rather collection of experiences) i've been
through lately that i just had to write about. that is the
bankruptcy clinic.

my third year in law school requires that i complete a
"clinical course." i chose bankruptcy clinic for the client
contact and because i find it fascinating. well i'm getting
all the client contact i could hope for and am finding out
that bankruptcy is far more than the abstract intricacy that
i normally view it as. the people who come to this clinic
are the poor (which in and of itself is kind of odd to me
because it would seem that, if you are filing for
bankruptcy, you are by definition, not in a good financial
position). poor people can be assholes. one of the lawyers
i worked for finally gave it to me straight and said he
hated volunteering because poor people never appreciate the
help and rather deride you as they have the mentality of,
"well if he's doing this for free he can't be any good."

yes and no. in fact i have been stuck with such a dichotomy
i can only rejoice. one of my clients is a lady. she is
really sick with cancer, so sick that she racked up over
$100,000 in medical debt. you may be asking yourself, "how
the fuck do you rack up that much medical debt?" but, after
having just recently undergone surgery myself, i can see how
easy it is. i fractured my thumb and had a 2 hour surgery
putting some pins and screws to straighten me back out.
final cost?
somewhere around $20,000
for one hand.

so 100K for cancer almost seems reasonable. anyhow, this
lady, i just felt so badly for her. she was at that
horrible state where she cared deeply but couldn't do
anything about her situation. she wasn't despondent
although i almost wished she was. at least if she had been
her pain wouldn't have been amplified. anyhow, her primary
goal was to stop the harrassing phone calls, she played me a
tape of one of them...i mean oh my god. and what bothers me
is that these private "entrprenuers" who buy these debts for
10 cents on the dollar know who they can bully. ugh.

so after listening to her sobbing, wringing her hands, i got
the exact opposite. some hairy, fat asshole, telling me how
he had bought plasma screen tvs and continuously asked me
(what he thought were)surreptitious questions on how he
could "gift" his assets to keep them from chapter 7
liquidation. christ. he was such an ass, not only was he
constantly denigrating me, "so you're not even a lawyer, why
am i talking to you?"
well you are talking to me because that's the only way your
broke ass can get legal counsel.
i mean some people purposefully take advantage of
bankruptcy, doing as this guy, purchasing all they can and
then hoping to insulate themselves with the shield of the
law. fuckers make me sick.