What we do:
At Cohen & Cohen, P.C., we will act as attorneys and negotiate on your behalf with your creditors with the goal of settling your debt for a reduced amount. We open up a case file and treat it like any other legal matter we handle. We will work with our clients to develop an individual strategy and offer advice along the way. Depending on the clients’ specific requirements, we will draft settlement agreements and releases of liability prior to the disbursement of any funds for settlement purposes. Bottom line, debt settlement is a legal matter and we treat it as one.
How we do it:
We first meet with our clients face to face in our office for a free initial consultation (arrangements can be made for telephonic meetings for non-Denver Metro clients). If we decide to take your case we will provide a short punch list of information to gather and return to our office. After review, we will then begin crafting a debt settlement strategy and begin settling your debts after you have the opportunity to provide input. We are not so arrogant to assume we can foresee every possible client scenario. After all, the client may have already done some negotiations, may know the contact person, and generally have an idea of the direction and current case posture.
Our clients are often very surprised at the depth and scope information which is weighed when settling debt. There are so many unique circumstances and considerations which arise unexpectedly or are generally unanticipated. For example, length of the debt, bankruptcy, consumer litigation, availability of funds, timing issues, and so on.
One of the things which sets us apart from the traditional debt settlement company is that we are lawyers and we treat your case as such. For some it may be hard to believe, but attorneys have very stringent ethical requirements, especially accounting and bookkeeping, which they are required to adhere to otherwise they face strict discipline including the loss of a law license. Given this we provide a comprehensive debt analysis which includes your legal and non-legal options. For example, we can advise our clients what steps to take in the event litigation is needed. We are comfortable negotiating with law firms (indeed this is oftentimes preferred so we do not have to educate the collectors as to what they can and cannot do per Colorado law).
We can advise our clients to take appropriate measures to protect their assets just in case they need to file bankruptcy. Oftentimes we can assist our clients in pre & post-divorce planning and debt negotiations. Moreover we are knowledgeable about consumer litigation which helps us leverage our client’s position. Indeed, sometimes it is not in our clients best interests to settle the debt when litigation is the more appropriate remedy. When we talk bankruptcy or litigation we are not bluffing as we have the means and ability to pursue both.
With regards to the funding of the debt settlement, our clients can either provide to us a lump sum or build up a war chest with monthly payments. We hold all of the unearned client money in a trust account until the sooner of the debt settlement, earning our fees, or the client requesting a refund. We even send out a monthly statement of the amount left in the trust account, a description of the services performed that month, and our charges. Once you have accumulated the required amount (depends on each case) then we will begin the debt settlement process.
One of the biggest questions we get is, how do you make money? The answer is that our fees are earned on a combination of hourly rate and a percent of what we save our clients. The normal business model for this industry is a straight contingency as a percent of what is saved. The normal sales line is something along the lines of we don’t make money unless we save you money. At first impression this sounds like a good deal, but it has been our experience that it ends up harming the client. The primary reason for this is that some unscrupulous attorneys and non-attorney debt settlement agencies will do as little work possible on your file because they will make more money that way. The result is generally a worse result for the client and negative consequences.
Our system is set up to balance the two out. We have created a business model where yes, we have an incentive to save our clients as much possible but at the same time if extra work needs to be done to get to that point then we will also have no reason not to perform those services. Thus although we charge less on the savings side of the equation, the result is better for the client and we are still able to operate profitably.
Ultimately, once we have negotiated the debt we will abide by the clients instructions and either require a legally binding settlement agreement (i.e., contract) before re release the funds or other accord and satisfaction. Although nothing is bulletproof (run, don’t walk from those who guarantee results) we will do our best to ensure that the matter is put to rest once and for all and you have legal remedies if the creditor breaches.
We encourage you to check out our FAQ section on Attorney Debt Settlement for a list of the common questions and answers.
To schedule your initial consultation at our convenient central Denver location call 303-933-4529.
Bruce Robertson Cohen,
Robertson B. Cohen,