Today’s Spotlight Interview is with Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer, Olga Zlotnik of Olga Zlotnik, PLLC in Scottsdale, AZ. Visit Olga’s  Google + Profile

ALN: Olga, I know you have quite a diverse background, growing up in Russia and then studying abroad in Kyoto, Japan. Tell us how this diversity has helped you with your bankruptcy law practice.

OZ:  Diversity has helped me become a more compassionate and empathetic person.  I have gone through the struggles of being “different,” when I immigrated to the United States from Russia.  I could not speak any English at all.  Same thing happened when I studied abroad in Japan.  I could barely communicate my feelings.  This adversity helped me to work harder to succeed in learning new languages and overcoming obstacles.  When a client is considering bankruptcy, he/she may be experiencing very similar feelings.  These experiences helped me learn the importance of being empathetic to others’ needs and not casting any judgment on someone else.  Until you go through the struggles of that person, you have no right to cast judgment.  I apply this approach to my clients as well.  Anyone can get caught in a financial rut, i.e. medical bills, the bad economy, and so forth.  It’s important to be empathetic and lend a listening ear.  That is what I do with every client.

ALN: You’ve also worked with creditors in the past. How is that experience now helping you represent those on the other side?

OZ: Having worked with creditors in the past gives me better guidance on how to protect my clients from creditors, especially when dealing with car loans.  There is a complicated structure that you have to follow as a debtor in Arizona when it comes to car loans.  Having held debtors to the high standard of following this complicated structure when I worked for creditors, I now help my clients meet these rigorous requirements.  This helps me to better protect my clients’ assets.

ALN:    I’ve heard it said many times that bankruptcy lawyers can make their clients feel like they’re just part of a bankruptcy mill. I know you’re passionate about advocating for your clients’ rights and holding their hand through the process. What approach does your firm take?

OZ:  When I decide to work with a client, that client becomes a part of my family.  I go above and beyond to advocate for that client, protect him/her, hold his/her hand through the process, and give him/her peace of mind.  He/she can call me anytime and can rest assured that I will be there to answer questions and reassure him/her that everything will be okay.  I am here to help.

ALN:  While the entire country has been hit hard in matters of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcy, it seems that the State of Arizona was one of those hit the hardest. What is your response to that?

OZ: I try to focus on the results side of it.  What can I do to help my clients?  If a client is considering bankruptcy, I analyze his/her situation and figure out whether he/she needs a bankruptcy.  If bankruptcy can be avoided, I would advise that first.  If bankruptcy cannot be avoided, it is a great source of peace of mind and relief for those candidates needing it.

ALN:       Lastly, what advice would you give someone who is considering bankruptcy?

OZ: First, try to stay calm.  I would advise doing some research on a good bankruptcy law firm to get some guidance.  In addition, ask around for advice.  I would not go to a “debt restructuring” company until you speak to a bankruptcy attorney, as these companies can push you even closer to bankruptcy by forcing you to spend thousands of dollars only to learn that you are no closer to financial freedom than when you started.  Meet with a few different bankruptcy attorneys; you may not mesh with everyone.  Go with your gut about picking your bankruptcy attorney.  If you have a bad feeling about it, don’t do it.  Bankruptcy is probably one of the hardest things you will ever have to do.  You will be stuck with this attorney for 6 or more months, if you go with the wrong one, it may be an even worse experience.  Keep meeting with bankruptcy attorneys until you find the right one.  I am a Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyer serving the entire Phoenix Valley, and I offer a free initial consultation for those considering bankruptcy.  Please call me at 480.788.7011 or 928.978.2896 if you are being hounded by creditors and you need to discuss your options.

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