The Consumer Protection Attorneys at Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C. Fight for Consumers and Their Families
For Chicago, consumer protection attorney Rob Harrer of Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C., helping clients dealing with overwhelming financial hardship is both a passion and a commitment. Based on his professional and personal experience, he understands what it’s like to be in his clients’ shoes. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Harrer oversaw a development project to provide moderately-priced housing to families that had lost their homes – an experience that transformed his life.
Several years later, in 2010, Harrer experienced his own economic devastation when the real estate downturn caused him to lose everything. The bank foreclosed on his home, and creditors and debt collectors harangued him until he had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. But out of the trials and tribulations of financial distress, Harrer gained clarity about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life: help other people dealing with the same problem.
Chicago Consumer Lawyer Rob Harrer Among A Select Few of U.S. Law Firms to Discharge Private Student Loans in Bankruptcy or Settle Them Out of Bankruptcy
After graduating from law school, Harrer founded Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C. with a mission to put the law to work for his clients, protect their financial interests, and improve their financial future. While he helps clients involved in a dispute with a creditor, a collection agency, or a credit bureau, he and his firm also hold the distinction of being among only a handful of U.S. law firms to sue private student loan companies to discharge student loans in bankruptcy or settle them outside of bankruptcy.
“Most bankruptcy attorneys don’t litigate, they fill out the forms and documents and file,” says Harrer. “It’s a huge differentiator for us, as litigators, to discharge private student loans through litigation in bankruptcy. Many people, even bankruptcy attorneys, think student loans are non-dischargeable. But that’s not true. Student loans can be discharged, but it must be done the right way – in bankruptcy court through litigation, which few attorneys know about. This can be done for people who have already completed bankruptcy, even years ago, and people looking to relieve themselves of debt now and start a new life through bankruptcy.”
However, not everyone is a prime candidate to discharge their private student loans. For CCLC to take on a case, clients must satisfy the following criteria:
- They must be at least five years out of school.
- Their student loans must total two-and-a-half times their salary.
- They must have made a good faith effort to make payments on their loan or tried to get a deferral; they didn’t simply ignore it for five years.
Is there any recourse for clients that do not want to file bankruptcy? Yes, for clients who have not filed or do not wish to file bankruptcy, Harrer and Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C. can negotiate private student loans on their behalf, eliminating the need to prove anything in court. It’s a matter of knowing the ins and outs of student loans and lenders, negotiating skillfully to a result where the settlement amount and terms are a fraction of the amount owed, depending on each client’s unique situation. This can often total tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. This can also turn a large monthly payment into something most people can manage.
“Whether a client chooses bankruptcy or prefers to settle their private student loan issue outside of bankruptcy, we can help,” Harrer says. “Unlike bankruptcy, no hardship is required for negotiating, which enables us to assist more clients. It’s a great feeling to be able to offer different options so that they can choose what works best for them and either discharge their private student loans through bankruptcy or achieve a much more manageable student loan payment through negotiation.”
An Experienced Consumer Protection Attorney Who Represents Clients From All Walks of Life
Harrer’s background as a businessman and entrepreneur, and midlife career change to law, combined with his personal experience, makes him approachable and friendly. Having experienced his own financial hardship and navigated through the complexities of rebuilding his credit and reclaiming his life, he empathizes with every client that seeks his legal counsel. Much like a trusted friend, he listens without judgment and speaks in a conversational, friendly tone. “We’re not ‘lawyerly’ lawyers,” he remarks. “I’m pretty casual, and that’s why people can relate to me. I’m not stuffy, and I’ve been through it all before myself. I want to put my clients at ease throughout the entire process and let them know that I got my second chance and they can too.”
About Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C.
Chicago Consumer Law Center, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to helping consumers facing overwhelming debt get back on their feet. They do this by guiding people through the bankruptcy process, reducing or discharging private student loans, defending against collection lawsuits, and suing debt collectors.