Pro bono attorney helps families struggling with debt

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Frank Eaton

Frank Eaton has been practicing large, complex Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases around the country since 1990, based first in New York and now in Miami. While attending a bankruptcy conference where the Chief Bankruptcy Judge extolled the importance of pro bono assistance for general consumers who need — but can hardly afford — counsel, he decided to find a way he could help. Paul Singerman recommended that he contact Legal Services of Greater Miami to do pro bono work.

Eaton honed up on consumer Chapter 7 law, and jumped in to help a family in dire straits. A nurse making less than $20, 000 a year and her recently laid-off husband were suffering from her wages being garnished, credit card debt and an underwater house. They were living so hand-to-mouth, they could not even afford the $303 Chapter 7 filing fee. Eaton was able to get them a full discharge, removal of the garnishment and a complete fresh start for the family.

In another case, a 17-year-old became involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, his father had forgotten to mail in his check for car insurance, and it had lapsed the day before. Eaton was able to negotiate a settlement down from $37 to $10K, payable at $100 a month, which the family was able to afford.

“As an attorney who has enjoyed a financially rewarding life, it has truly been an education to represent individuals who don’t have the financial means to hire an attorney – and get them great results,” said Eaton. “It’s my way of paying it forward,” he added.