When I graduated from law school with a six-figure student loan debt, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to pay it back. I just knew I was going to be a hot shot entertainment attorney and pay it off in no time. I dreamed of red carpet events, Grammy parties and hanging with my clients at Diddy’s house in the Hamptons. You couldn’t tell me nothing! (*Kanye voice*) I never ever dreamed I’d end up in bankruptcy court, let alone become an expert on bankruptcy and student loan law and start a student loan counseling service but here I am.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an attorney. I remember watching The Cosby Show thinking “I’m gonna be just like Claire Huxtable when I grow up”. After getting my Bachelor’s in Communications, I enrolled in law school determined to achieve the goal I’d set for myself before I knew what a FAFSA Form or a promissory note was. My folks were hardworking middle class people. I didn’t have a college fund or a trust fund put away for me. I had to borrow money to pay for my education and I didn’t think twice about it because I had been conditioned to believe that taking out loans to pay for school is not a bad thing, it’s “good debt” I was told. I learned the hard way that there’s no such thing.
Because the field of entertainment law is super competitive, I accepted quasi-legal positions right out of law school in order to get my foot in the door in hopes that I would move up the ranks and earn the high salary that I expected after having graduated from law school and passing the bar exam. After nearly a decade of “paying my dues”, struggling with my finances and facing some serious health challenges, it was time to take drastic measures. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I needed a fresh start. Bankruptcy was my answer. I filed for bankruptcy pro se, not because I had any experience in bankruptcy law (I hadn’t even take one bankruptcy class in law school) but because I simply couldn’t afford to hire an attorney. I gave myself a crash course in bankruptcy law, reading everything I could get my hands on and attending CLE (Continuing Legal Education) courses on the subject. During the course of my studies I learned about the undue hardship exception for student loans and became even more determined to get my consumer debt and student loan debt discharged.
I filed my Chapter 7 Petition and commenced an adversary proceeding to have my $200,000 student loan declared dischargeable under the undue hardship exception of the Bankruptcy Code. Only then did I learn about the variety of repayment options and forgiveness programs available to student loan borrowers who are struggling with their debt. The debt collectors certainly never breathed a word of it to me. I am preparing for trial to determine the dischargeability of my private student loan debt but I settled my $156,000 federal student loan debt for $36,000, which is a huge victory. While going through my battle, I developed a passion for helping other people struggling with debt. I started my own practice where I have a focus in bankruptcy and consumer rights and a student loan counseling service to assist student loan borrowers in finding the best solution for managing their debt.
I believe you shouldn’t have to end up in bankruptcy court to learn what your options are with respect to your student loan debt. My mission is to empower you with the information and tools you need to get a handle on your student loan debt so that you can have the freedom and peace of mind to live a life you love! Education should not be a debt sentence. I wish you health. I wish you love. I wish you prosperity. I wish you peace.