I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.


Author: Karen Oakes, Esq.

09 Mar Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: The Case Against Big Banks

  I've seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a six-gunAnd some with a fountain pen.~ Woody Guthrie (Pretty Boy Floyd)Last month, Elizabeth Warren asked a pointed question of senior treasury department officials regarding why no enforcement action had ever been taken against...

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22 Jan Filing Bankruptcy Under U.S. Bankruptcy Code Tough On Debtors? South Africa Bankruptcy Law Strips Bankrupt Debtors of Assets!

South AfricaEach day in my bankruptcy law office, at least one client will complain about the Bankruptcy Code and the effect on their daily existence. Debtors who file for bankruptcy protection often will complain that the U.S. bankruptcy code is too harsh, too tough when the debtor must limit expenses for luxury items. Bankruptcy debtors also worry about having excess equity in an asset and losing a part of that property. However, bankruptcy debtors in the United States have a much easier time during their bankruptcy than debtors in other countries and keep much more property safe from creditors. For example, while visiting South Africa recently, this author found herself waiting patiently inside a local bank. The bank had a brochure rack and on that rack was a brochure about the bank's debt repayment plan. Unlike the debt management programs here in the United States, each creditor in South Africa is responsible for their own debt management plan
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06 Mar After Bankruptcy Filing, Beware of Phony Debt Collectors Who Threaten Arrest!

Folks frequently come in to talk about bankruptcy and are very concerned that an arrest warrant may be issued as they haven't paid their debts -- either before filing bankruptcy or even after filing for bankruptcy. They have heard about phone calls or emails from debt collectors (or have even gotten those kind of threats) where the debt collector, usually one with a heavy accent, threatens immediate arrest for non-payment of a debt. This debt is usually an old payday loan or small debt that the debtor may have long forgotten. These phone calls are intimidating and threatening. However, arrest is unlikely in most circumstances says Jonathan Ginsberg, Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.
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19 Jan Top Ten Bankruptcy Myths Countdown: #8 Bankruptcy Will Ruin Future Credit

One of the concerns about filing for bankruptcy is that those folks will never be able to obtain credit again after filing for bankruptcy protection and assistance. Most times, nothing could be further from the truth as bankruptcy may actually improve folks' credit score, according to my clients' experiences (and as explained by Smart Money on their website). Every debt collection note on a credit report, every late payment, every negative notation affects a debtor's credit score. Bankruptcy? It doesn't add to the negative credit score;
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17 Jan Top Ten Countdown Bankruptcy Myths: #9: Bankruptcy Makes You A Failure

Approximately 10-20 folks each week come to my office to talk with me regarding bankruptcy and nearly all of those folks in my office believe that they have failed. That their lives will be ruined because the neighbors will know, the boss will know, the pastor/rabbi will know, and worst of all, their "Mom" will find out that they have filed for bankruptcy and now...they will be thought of as a loser, a deadbeat, a cheat, or a no-count bum. As my colleague, Brett Weiss says, "they believe they are a bad person for filing bankruptcy." My response is to point to the very large statute of Mickey Mouse/Steamboat Willie in my hallway and ask whether they think Walt Disney was a "no-count bum".
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