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Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With ... Brent Green

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Twenty years ago, Evans & Green LLP was the first firm in Missouri to receive certification as creditor’s rights specialists. Why take this step?
When you say you are an attorney, it’s like saying you have a house in Springfield. That doesn’t narrow it down much. What kind of house it is – a big house, little house, shack? Saying you’re an attorney doesn’t really say much, you could be a family lawyer, workers’ compensation lawyer, patent and trademark, personal injury – you name it. We wanted to distinguish ourselves apart from people who do threshold law. Threshold law is you doing anything that comes in the door, or crosses the threshold, so to speak. If they need a patent lawyer, you’re a patent lawyer. You can’t really do that anymore.

If you are board certified as a creditor’s rights specialist, you have to go through a process. You have to pass a written test. You have to take an extra 60 hours of continuing legal education every five years and you have to be peer reviewed.

What services does a creditor’s rights firm provide for business owners?
The main thing we handle is debtor/creditor law and mainly we handle it for the creditor side. The creditor is the person to whom money is owed – your bank when you owe money on your car, when you owe money for rent, on your hospital bill, or when you order widgets for your business and don’t pay for them. We handle all commercial transactions on credit. We do a lot of car deficiencies, where people buy a car and don’t pay so it gets repossessed.

We don’t do a lot of debtor work. There are two distinct sides of the law. There also are people who represent debtors in terms of things like bankruptcies and the “I can’t pay my bills, but I’ll work out payment” people. We are always chasing those debtors. It’s even more specialized within the field – 99 percent of the time we are on the creditor’s side. Anybody who has sold products on credit and didn’t get paid, that’s who we represent.

How do you collect from people who don’t want to pay?
We are set up with two lawyers and seven support staff. We have two full-time collectors. Say somebody owes you some money and you bring it to us and say you can’t collect. For whatever reason, they won’t return my call and he won’t give me the time of day, etc. First, we try to get an amicable settlement. The collector calls and says what’s up, what’s wrong with you? If they can’t get it resolved, it goes to me and I sue. We get a judgment and garnish wages, accounts, levy property, etc. to collect it.

We also have to tell the client if they have a change of collecting. A lot of our claims aren’t collectible. If someone files bankruptcy, we can’t collect. If they die or don’t have assets or are unemployed, we can’t collect. There are about a thousand different ways for debtors to beat creditors out of money. A lot of people, you just aren’t going to be able to collect from.

What notable cases stand out over the years?
We have hundreds and hundreds of clients at any given time. We get a lot of our cases from collection agencies. Once an agency can’t collect a claim, they send them to us. We could have one agency, with 40 different claims and 40 different clients. They agency is called the forwarder and we get them from all over the United States. A lot of our stuff comes in from out of state. Somebody in New York loans someone in Springfield money for widgets, they don’t pay – so we handle that.

The ones I remember are the ones we lose. When you can’t collect money for somebody who really deserves it.  A lot of people lose money on investments that turn into scams. I had a little old lady who put her whole life savings into this local scheme. She shouldn’t have done it, but she sent them $300,000 on their promise. The con artists are the ones I remember. It seems like I see a lot of them, but not by volume. They just really stand out to me. These are the ones that bother me. A lot of times you can’t collect those. The money is stolen and gone.[[In-content Ad]]

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