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Shed so many tears: Lawyers and politicians go bankrupt too

Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?”

Lawyers and politicians have ranked consistently low in public polls of people’s perceptions of professionals. So what does the public think of a guy who is both a lawyer and a politician?

Bill Faison Charlotte Mecklenburg Bankruptcy Attorney North Carolina Chapter 11 LawyerNot much.

In a December 2013 Gallup poll, only 8-percent of respondents thought members of congress had high or very high ethical standards, while just 20-percent thought lawyers did. It would come as no surprise, then, if few people took pity on a lawyer and former congressman seeking protection through Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Former democratic candidate for governor and four-term state congressman Bill Faison filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. The purpose of the filing, Fasion said, was to restructure debt related to his Durham personal-injury law firm, Faison & Gillespie.

Faison’s listed assets included a “family farm, other real estate holdings, six cars, two motorcycles and two boats.” He said he started having trouble paying on loans for his law firm after the economic downturn. He also blamed a 2011 effort to cap medical malpractice claims, which “hurt business a great deal.” In the January filing, Faison said he planned to retire from his law practice this year.

Faison’s bankruptcy shows his wife entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2013. Their “messy” divorce case began in 2010, as reported by the Washington Post’s Politico.

Whatever your opinion of Mr. Faison, lawyers or politicians in general, his story has some themes I see nearly every day in my bankruptcy practice.

First, the economic downturn that began in 2008 continues to be felt across a wide swath of professions – including the legal profession. Second, it is important when times are good to plan for the worst. Faison’s apparent spending – his wife alleged he bought some 30 horses in addition to the multiple vehicles and properties – appears to show he thought good times would last forever.

They rarely do, and your financial planning should reflect sober reality, not hope-filled fantasy.

Finally, the breakup of a marriage is an all-too-common catalyst for bankruptcies. Couples who may be teetering on the edge – but who are getting by – frequently tumble into bankruptcy after locking horns in messy divorce cases. Many times, unfortunately, money that could be spent paying off debts is spent instead fighting a spouse, driving both parties even further into debt.

If you or someone you know is considering seeking bankruptcy protection, give me a call today to set up an appointment. At the very least, we can work together to try to come up with an action plan that fits your goals and needs.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828   or find additional resources here.


About the Author


Bryan 1Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.

Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.

In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.









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