Dan Baldwin 0000-00-00 00:00:00
“Isincerely believe that people leave my office happier than when they walked in. I often get hugs from my clients and I don’t think that is because they are happy to be filing bankruptcy. I think it is because I made such a terrible time feel less terrible for them,” says Mari Jo Clark of Clark Law Offices in Phoenix. “We are a boutique in the truest sense,” she says. The firm does not sue individuals or represent corporate clients, but devotes its resources to defending individuals or assisting individuals with legal representation in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt settlement, tax relief, estate planning, and creditor harassment. Expansion plans include bringing in a litigator this year to defend clients against creditor harassment and violations of the FDCPA and the bankruptcy Automatic Stay. Although a native of Illinois, she says, “I am a true Arizonan at heart.” She graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson, attended law school at Tulane University in New Orleans, and practiced in Chicago before returning to Arizona in 2003. Clark founded the firm in 2005 after working for a high volume consumer bankruptcy law firm. “I felt I could create a bankruptcy firm centered on customer service and reasonable fees. Most firms at the time seemed to offer one at the expense of the other,” she says. She believes that women possess great qualities that can produce great lawyers, such as negotiation and mediation skills. “I also feel that women make great judges. I would like to see more female judges.” One of the biggest challenges women in the law face is to find a balance between work and family life. Overcoming that challenge is not as difficult as it was in the past. “I have seen a dramatic rise in the opportunity for women to telecommute and work modified schedules. This has been huge for women who may have previously felt they had to choose family or career, but felt unable to balance both well. A job is still work and the juggle is still a challenge some days, but I feel that these changes have really opened doors for women who want to work and raise a family.” The firm doesn’t seek only clients with “deep pockets.” Clark has made a personal mission to ensure that all of her clients have proper estate planning measures in place. She employs a streamlined and inexpensive process for people with modest estates who simply wish to protect their loved ones. Clients agree. One recently wrote, “Mari Jo Clark and Clark Law Offices are everything they claim on their website – understanding, responsive and customer service oriented. Even though the experience of filing for bankruptcy was horrible, and not where I’d ever thought I’d find myself, Mari Jo and her staff made the process go smoothly. A good attorney makes all the difference.”
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