Legal Dramas: How Accurate are Your Favorite TV Shows?

If you’re one of the millions of fans who have consistently tuned in to television’s many legal dramas, you may have questioned how closely these entertaining shows portray the reality of the daily life of attorneys. Whether you caught one (or all) of the Law & Order series, fell in love with Denny Crane on Boston Legal, met the soon-to-be-royal Meghan Markle on Suits, or devoured your weekly popcorn while watching the tense How to Get Away With Murder, you may have walked away from your favorite legal drama having formed quite a negative impression of attorneys.

Unfortunately, it’s probable that the show you watched portrayed most of its attorneys, whether they represented individuals or corporations, as self-centered, amoral liars. While it’s true that—as in all professions—there will be the occasional awful attorney who deserves to be sanctioned, the reality of most lawyers bears little resemblance to the antics TV lawyers get up to.

While we could spend hours listing the discrepancies between legal dramas and the more average day-to-day reality of financial legal work, but these are our Top TV Legal Drama Inaccuracies:

  • Real life attorneys never have the luxury of focusing on one case at a time. While no 40-minute show could cover this without severely confusing the viewers, the reality is that even moderately successful financial lawyers carry a huge case load that divides their attention in several directions at once.
  • Attorneys tend to be honest individuals. Television shows about honest, hard-working lawyers are unlikely to exert a huge draw, so networks and producers instead tell stories about lawyers who lie constantly. The truth is less exciting, but we hope it’s reassuring: real-life attorneys are more likely to be good, civic-minded people who are passionate about our intricate legal system. While our delicately-balanced legal system relies on us to do our absolute best for our clients, this simply does not extend to lying.
  • Attorneys are here to help. TV dramas would have their audience believe that attorneys are somehow delighted when clients come to them in distress, that they don’t have any human empathy. In fact, when an attorney chooses a specialty like bankruptcy, credit reapair, or real estate law, it’s almost always because they want to ease their clients through highly stressful, troubling times. It’s highly rewarding to connect with people who need someone to protect the financial fabric of their lives; this aspect of financial law never loses its appeal.
  • Attorneys cannot read minds. While television dramas tend to portray lawyers as keenly insightful, worldly individuals who possess uncanny abilities to size up their clients and deduce whether or not their clients are good or bad, and then wrestle with whether or not they should take them on as clients, the truth is that any good attorney withholds judgment on such things. We’re here to assist our clients in their time of need, period. The law in our country cannot function unless everyone has the right to an attorney to represent them in any legal proceedings.
  • Lawyers have personal lives. Sure, grocery shopping and going for a run just isn’t interesting, but even the most extremely overburdened lawyers have fulfilling lives outside of the courtroom. They didn’t choose the law the way a monk or nun chooses a religious life; many have partners, children, warm homes, and the occasional family spat just like anyone else. While the stress of a busy career can exacerbate existing tensions, lawyers are no less functional in their families or communities than those who have similarly busy careers—doctors, nurses, or firefighters, for example.

 

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Choose a NJ Bankruptcy Attorney Who can Offer Personalized, Caring Representation

Are you hesitating to call an attorney because you are experiencing financial hardship and think you may soon be facing bankruptcy? Are you involved in a complex legal case involving a large amount of money or debt? In the case of bankruptcy, hindsight is not better than foresight, so act in a timely manner and choose a bankruptcy attorney who can provide you with personalized, compassionate representation. Taking this action is both very personal and intimidating at the same time.


At Veitengruber Law, we want to provide you with advice on your financial needs and help put your mind at ease to regain control of your life.


Financial strain can hit anyone at any time. Dedicated, hard working individuals may lose their job or get laid off. Health insurance costs may skyrocket. Divorce can affect both parties financially. A medical emergency, sudden sickness, or unexpected hospitalization may cause never-ending medical bills. You may face a complex legal action with a hefty amount of debt. Each one of these or any combination can lead to financial worries, causing great stress and making you feel as if you’re losing control of your life.

A good bankruptcy attorney will analyze your income and expenses/debts along with real estate assets to determine if bankruptcy is the path you should take, or recommend other alternatives such as loan consolidation, short sale, debt negotiations, debt forgiveness, etc. If filing for bankruptcy is the only option, you want to make sure your attorney completes the filing timely and accurately. They will guide you through the process and lead you back to financial recovery through a tailor-made plan specifically for you. They also need to ensure that in the aftermath of filing for bankruptcy, they minimize any adverse consequences for you.

Many myths surround bankruptcy, with the most common involving losing everything or losing a home to foreclosure. Many times, filing bankruptcy can ease your financial burdens by assisting with late mortgage payments, giving you the chance to catch up on payments, providing an avenue for safe wage garnishments, halting the repossession process, and erasing your debt.

Most assets are retained in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and individuals and families with a steady income can preserve their assets through a Chapter 13 payment plan. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may require you to liquidate assets to pay creditors, however all property is exempt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to adjust your debt by making regular payments based on your income.

Veitengruber Law has team members who specialize in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our team also expertly handles real estate law and transactions, short sales, deed in lieu of, and quit claim matters. We can provide housing and urban development (low-income) counseling and specialize in loan modifications, foreclosure defense and home retention.

At Veitengruber Law, we have confident, highly educated and qualified attorneys, paralegals and other legal aides to assist you in overcoming your financial struggles. Our professionals will translate legal jargon into “layman’s terms” so that you understand completely what you’re facing and what your recovery plan will be. We understand what you’re going through, not only because are we experts in our field, but most importantly, we are people. We want to help you be financially healthy and fiscally fit. Call us today for a free consultation to put you on the path towards financial fitnesss.

Veitengruber Law: Reviews

We can talk about our experience until we’re blue in the face, but you’ll still want to know what our former clients have to say, right? It’s only natural! Everyone here at Veitengruber Law looks for reviews on professionals we’re considering working with (whether privately or professionally) as well.

Here’s what some of Veitengruber Law’s online reviews say. Names have been abbreviated to initials for client privacy.

“George is that rare species of professional possessing a fierce intelligence and a generous heart. He really does act as a “cornerstone for financial justice” in the lives of his clients. Couple this with impeccable integrity and you have an idea of George’s value to his clients. He is the complete package in legal representation.” – E.A.

“I first hired George to help with some collections for my business. After he handled that with such great results, he reviewed our billing procedures. He made some changes to the invoices which helped to minimize future problems. He is very thorough and [I] highly recommend George. He has reasonable fees and a high level of integrity.” – M.H.

“George is a very experienced collections attorney. He is a cool negotiator and gives me consistently solid advice on our collections issues. Many times, based on his advice, we are able to settle even without having to retain him. When we do retain him he applies the same negotiation skill plus his vast legal experience to get us a positive outcome. I highly recommend him.” – D.G.

“George is someone who performs beyond the level expected of him. He is self-motivated, inquisitive, and goal-oriented. While working for me, he demonstrated a strong work ethic, met tight deadlines and was very resourceful in the manner in which he managed client expectations.” – V.O.

“George has advised me on several business organizing efforts and was also the determining force in collecting a delinquent account for my company within 90 minutes of my retaining him. Yes…90 minutes. Not 90 days. He recouped several thousand dollars. George is my go-to guy!” – K.C.

“George took a bad situation […], and within days had all of the details worked out and problems solved. All during this process he communicated with me, eased my worries and assured me all would be well. He delivered outstanding service and I will most certainly call on George again should the need arise.” – K.D.

“Great mortgage lawyer. Down to earth and to the point.” R.G.

I am an attorney in Arizona, and from time to time I have needed information regarding New Jersey law. I have found Mr. Veitengruber to be very knowledgeable, and still friendly and approachable. I am glad that I will never have to try a case against him.” T.C., Esq.

Want to read more what our clients are saying? Visit our Testimonials page for more reviews.

 

3rd Annual Leadership Summit – Monmouth County, NJ

How to Respond to a Frivolous Lawsuit

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ve probably heard reports of at least one frivolous lawsuit in your lifetime. Some people today are quick to sue, even when a lawsuit is not warranted. If you have found yourself on the receiving end of a frivolous lawsuit and/or a litigious friend – you’re not the first. It has happened to many people before you. Although this may not bring you great comfort, just know that you are not alone, and you are not the first to be wrongfully sued.

If you have been sued for something that you ultimately didn’t do or aren’t responsible for, your first reaction may be to panic. Luckily, you can relax. It can be shocking and upsetting at first, especially if the plaintiff is (was?) a friend of yours. Once the initial shock wears off, you probably want to know what you should do.

First things first: It’s important for you to understand that if you’ve only been threatened with a lawsuit, the majority of these type of threats go unfounded and it’s likely that you will not end up being sued. If a lawsuit has been brought against you, it does not mean that you’re guilty of doing anything wrong.

What is a Litigious Person?

Litigious people react to situations that make them mad or upset by taking the offensive position. They are more likely to initiate lawsuits than the average person. Oftentimes, these people are found to be insecure and unsure of themselves. They may feel easily wronged or targeted. Conversely, some litigious people are full-grown versions of the bully that we all knew and avoided in elementary school.

As long as it remains simply a threat, you have nothing to worry about (legally), and the best advice would be to steer clear of this person indefinitely (if not permanently). However, if they have taken action and filed a lawsuit against you, it’s time for you to do something about it.

Again, remember to remain calm, especially if this is a lawsuit that you know developed out of frustration or desperation. Remind yourself that the person you’re dealing with is likely lonely and possibly deserves your sympathy. Make an attempt to settle out of court (if there is anything to settle); show this person that you regret any misunderstanding. That may be all it takes for them to drop the case.

What are my Options? I’ve Done Nothing Wrong!

On the other hand, if the person you’re dealing with is acting out in anger, aggression or vindication, it is probably a good idea to consult with a local attorney. If you know a NJ attorney who can give you some advice, ask to drop by his office one day soon for a consultation. Most NJ lawyers will give you a free one-time consultation.

If you don’t know any lawyers in New Jersey personally, perhaps a friend can refer you to an attorney they trust. Run the details of the lawsuit by the lawyer you decide to meet with. It is almost certain that you’ll be advised that this is a frivolous lawsuit. This means that it has no legal merit. Believe us when we say that no New Jersey court likes or caters to frivolous litigation.

Your attorney can help you get the case settled (with the help of mediation) or dismissed (via Motion to Dismiss). If the lawsuit truly has no legal basis, it will more than likely be dismissed by the court without the need for you to even file an Answer.

 

Announcing the Opening of our Bordentown, NJ Real Estate Law Office!

At Veitengruber Law, our client success rates have continued to climb every year since our inception in 2010. Helping people is what motivates us, so we are always thinking about how to help even more clients. Our current office is located along the Jersey Shore in Wall, New Jersey. This location allows us to assist clients in Union, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Camden and (parts of) Burlington counties. We’ve known for awhile that we wanted to expand our reach via a second office, situated on the western side of the state. Introducing Veitengruber Law’s second location:

33 Third Street
2nd Floor
Suite 3
Bordentown, NJ 08505

The founder of Veitengruber Law, George Veitengruber III, Esq., lives in Bordentown, NJ with his wife and two sons. Bordentown is a beautiful small town that sits along the Delaware River in north Burlington County. Just a few miles south of Trenton, our new office location will make our services more readily available to those who live in Mercer, northern Burlington, northern Camden, western Ocean and western Monmouth counties.

In addition to assisting you with all of your NJ real estate needs, Veitengruber Law: Bordentown will continue to represent clients in matters of: bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, debt negotiation, credit repair, asset protection, estate planning and collections.

By maintaining a limited number of practice areas, our attorneys and legal staff have been able to gain immeasurable experience regarding New Jersey real estate, foreclosure defense, bankruptcy and other financial matters, making our firm hard to beat in terms of expertise. In fact, we feel confident in saying that our NJ legal knowledge base and success rate cannot be beaten.

Our Bordentown office hours are by appointment only. Please call 856-318-2759 OR 609-297-5226 to set up your initial consultation in Bordentown. Also, if you have been seeing us in our Wall office but feel that our Bordentown location would be more convenient for you, do not hesitate to let us know!

 

Veitengruber Law Opens NJ Foreclosure Defense Office in Bordentown

Veitengruber Law has proudly served New Jersey residents in the counties of Union, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Camden and (parts of) Burlington since 2010. While we are very happy with and proud of the number of clients we’ve been able to help each year, we always want to do more. This got us thinking about making our services more accessible to those who need our help in western parts of New Jersey.

The entire Veitengruber Law team has poured our hearts and souls into helping our Wall, NJ clients with their foreclosure defense cases. Our other practice areas include: New Jersey credit repair and debt negotiation, real estate transactions, asset protection, estate planning and collections. 2017 is the year that everything fell perfectly into place to allow for the opening of a second Veitengruber Law office. Without further ado, the address of our second location is:

33 Third Street
2nd Floor
Suite 3
Bordentown, NJ 08505

Located in northern Burlington County along the Delaware River, Bordentown is a mere 6 miles south of New Jersey’s capital city of Trenton, making our services more accessible to Mercer County residents. George Veitengruber, our firm’s founder, has always dreamed of expanding his law practice to enable him to help his neighbors and, consequently, his hometown of Bordentown itself. Additionally, our new office is more accessible to those who live in: northern Camden, northern Burlington, western Monmouth and western Ocean counties.

Our representation will continue to be unparalleled because we focus on a limited number of practice areas. This means that our attornyes and support personnel are virtual experts in our areas of the NJ law. We’ve helped so many people save their homes through NJ foreclosure defense that we would challenge you to find another New Jersey foreclosure defense attorney who knows the process better than our legal team.

At present, consultations in our Bordentown office are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment in Bordentown, call: 856-318-2759 OR 609-297-5226.

 

Veitengruber Law Opens NJ Bankruptcy Office in Bordentown

Since 2010, Veitengruber Law has been providing comprehensive debt relief solutions to New Jersey residents in Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic Counties as well as part of South Burlington County. As we achieved successful outcomes for more and more clients each year, we started thinking about expanding our reach. What if we could help even more struggling debtors in additional areas of New Jersey?

Our founding attorney, George Veitengruber III, Esq., has always dreamed of expanding the practice into his hometown of Bordentown, NJ. Located along the western side of Burlington County, Bordentown is located approximately 6 miles south of Trenton and 25 miles northeast of Philadelphia.

After putting everything he had into the Wall, NJ office, everything came together this year to facilitate the opening of a second Veitengruber Law office. We are thrilled to be able to announce our new location:

33 Third Street
2nd Floor
Suite 3
Bordentown, NJ 08505

We will be offering NJ legal services in all of the areas of the law that we currently practice, including: NJ bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, debt negotiation, credit repair, real estate transactions, asset protection, estate planning and collections.

As always, we plan to continue our high caliber representation by keeping our focus on a limited number of practice areas. This allows our attorneys and legal staff to become literal experts in our fields. We’ve helped so many clients to get a new financial lease on life via bankruptcy that you would be hard-pressed to find another New Jersey bankruptcy attorney who knows the process better than Veitengruber Law.

At this time, our Bordentown office will be open by appointment only. To schedule a consultation in Bordentown, call: 856-318-2759 OR 609-297-5226.

 

Practicing Bankruptcy Law: “Isn’t it Depressing?”

I frequently get asked why I decided to go in to bankruptcy law. Most of the time, the person asking the question does so with a perplexed facial expression and concerned body language.

“Isn’t it depressing?” they ask.

The truth about why I got into bankruptcy law is actually quite simple. To be completely honest, when I first graduated from law school, I worked on the other side of the equation for a debt collection law firm. Not to say that lenders and creditors don’t need and deserve quality representation, but it just wasn’t for me. I saw the debtors who were struggling and I felt drawn to wanting to help them. I knew that I could help them, but I needed to figure out the best way to do that.

In 2010, I took the leap and opened Veitengruber Law. We started out as a very small solo practitioner firm, but I knew from the very beginning that we would do great things for many people. I put together the very best team to work with me: a bankruptcy specialist paralegal, a foreclosure specialist paralegal, a marketing specialist, and the most qualified legal assistant I could find.

Since the year of our inception, we have not looked back. I knew instantly that making the move to own my own firm was the right decision. Every year the firm grows exponentially. I have put no less than my entire heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into moulding Veitengruber Law into the kind of bankruptcy law practice that has a reputation for helping people.

To circle back to the original question that was posed at the opening of this post: “Isn’t bankruptcy law depressing?” The general consensus is that I must be crazy to want to spend all day every day with those less fortunate, or those who have made some poor financial choices.

The answer to that question is quite simple, actually. My “job” as a NJ bankruptcy attorney is hands-down the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. You’ll often find me still working at 9pm – and happy about it! The bottom line: I’ve discovered that helping people is what I was destined to do, and I don’t say that boastfully. Showing my clients (who quickly become friends) that there is a light at the end of what they thought was a never-ending tunnel of debt makes all of my efforts worthwhile.

Upon first meeting me, my clients are almost always in emotional distress. They are almost never happy about filing for bankruptcy, and many of them have a very negative attitude:

“I don’t want to be here.”

“I can’t believe I’m really doing this.”

As we begin to talk and I make them aware of what bankruptcy can actually do for them, every single person visibly relaxes. It’s as if I have physically removed a 25 pound weight from around their shoulders. Smiles start to peek out, they begin to make more eye contact with me, and sighs of relief abound. Sometimes, tears spring from their eyes, taking them by surprise – simply because they are tears of joy.

Tell me, what could be more fulfilling than that?

Bankruptcy Legalese: Translated (Part 2)

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There are so many important legal terms related to bankruptcy that we felt it prudent to devote two entire posts in our Back to Basics series to the topic. Hence, today we present you with Part 2 of what we in the legal profession and our clients lovingly refer to as bankruptcy ‘legalese.’

  • 341 hearing – Also referred to as the Meeting of Creditors, this  event takes place 21 – 40 days from the date your bankruptcy case was filed. Your trustee will head up the 341 hearing, with the purpose of investigating the validity and dischargeability of your debts, as well as any exemptions you may have. This hearing is open to all of your creditors, and you are personally required to attend.
  • Adversary proceeding – Although rare, this is a lawsuit filed by you or one of your creditors (even potentially the trustee) during the course of your bankruptcy case. Technically, an adversary proceeding is part of your bankruptcy, but it is a separate case in its own right. Reasons for filing: suspected fraud, potential preference payments, questions about whether or not a debt is dischargeable and property that is jointly owned (and therefore must be split in order for the trustee to sell it).
  • Bankruptcy code – The group of laws put into place after the Bankruptcy Reform Act (1978) that govern the entire bankruptcy process.
  • Collateral – Property that is subject to a lien. An example is a home that has been mortgaged. The collateral is the home, while the mortgage is the lien. If a creditor has the right to any collateral, they are considered to be a secured creditor*. The Bankruptcy Code gives specific protection for secured creditors and the collateral they have an interest in.
  • Liquidation – While it may sound like something you’d do with a blender, in reference to bankruptcies, liquidation is the act of selling as much of the debtor’s property as possible in order to repay as many of their debts as possible prior to discharge (chapter 7).
  • Means test – Added to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005, the means test is used as a screening tool. This tool allows the bankruptcy court to determine whether or not you “qualify” to file for bankruptcy. The factors used to determine your bankruptcy worthiness include an average of your most recent six months of income in comparison to your state’s median income and the total amount of your unsecured debts. The means test helps prevent abuse of the bankruptcy process.
  • Secured creditor* – When you borrow money from a company without any collateral involved (credit card companies, your electric company, internet service providers, fitness centers, etc) – those creditors are considered to be unsecured. Secured creditors, then, are those that have a claim to some property that you own, like a car or house. As far as creditors are concerned, it is riskier to be unsecured. Secured creditors  can seize the property they have an interest in if you fail to make good on your payments to them.

You can learn more about the terms included in our Back to Basics series as well as additional important bankruptcy verbiage here. For more detailed information about a specific bankruptcy topic, be sure to search our bankruptcy blog or call us directly. Veitengruber Law is always more than happy to help you fully understand the New Jersey bankruptcy process.

 

Image credit: Caleb Roenigk