Fair Credit Law Group: getting clients out of financial quicksand

 Thursday, August 12, 2010

 The Islander News

 Fair Credit Law Group: getting clients out of financial quicksand

 By Yara Zakharia, Esq.


Consumer law litigator Joel Brown, who boasts 15 years of experience in the legal arena, is in a league of his own here in South Florida.

      As a partner in the Fair Credit Law Group, the Key Biscayne resident practices mostly consumer litigation, a specialized niche that only a few law firms in Miami delve into, and represents mainly plaintiffs and consumers.  The bulk of his practice focuses on cases involving credit reporting errors, fraud, identity theft and harassment by debt collectors.  A smaller part of the Fair Credit Law Group’s legal work involves individual bankruptcies.  Among the most common credit reporting issues his clients confront are a company’s failure to report credit limits on credit cards and a credit reporting agency’s refusal to fix inaccurate items on accounts that have been paid in full.

      “While most clients are from the lowest economic bracket, credit reporting mistakes don’t discriminate, “points out the legally polished Brown.

      He has won lawsuits against major corporations, creditors and credit reporting agencies (CRA’s) under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as wells as successfully defended clients sued by lenders and debt collectors.  Some of the entities FCLG has taken to court include Capital One, Bank of America, Transunion, Equifax, Experian, American Express, Discover, GMC, Toyota and Suntrust, to name only a few.  Brown’s clients range from individuals on the extreme low end of the economic ladder to corporate executives and the affluent.

      From 1996 until 2000, the University of Miami School of Law alumnus worked in the area of insurance defense, representing some of the largest insurance companies in Florida.  Since 2000, he has represented injured workers against insurers and employers in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.  In 2006, he and two partners formed the Fair Credit Law Group and ventured into the consumer rights field.

      Brown has acquired a reputation in the field for dealing directly with the three major CRA’s, so that if a client has an issue, he takes it straight to the headquarters and resolves the matter in a cost effective manner for the client.  In fact, he has established a personal relationship with both Equifax and Transunion, and the president of the latter multi-billion dollar CRA even provided him with a direct line for purposes of addressing any grievances raised by his clients.

      Currently, Mr. Brown is also handling a number of class action lawsuits against large creditors and CRA’s.  Some of the issues involve creditors failing to report credit limits and CRA’s inaccurately reporting that an account is delinquent when it has been paid in full and satisfactorily.

      Brown also performs a substantial amount of pro bon work on behalf of individuals being sued by credit card companies and debt collectors.

      “Helping those who are less fortunate and who are in need, especially when you’ve been blessed with certain privileges, is almost an obligation to me”, says the dedicated and articulate advocate.  “At the end of the day, if you win a trial and you’re representing a corporation, you feel of sense of pride when doing well for a client.”

“However, when you help an individual and fix his or her financial issues, you know that you’ve improved his or her life and helped someone who normally wouldn’t even know how to find an attorney or have the ability to retain an attorney or who went up against these companies, spent countless hours or years to remedy their situation and couldn’t get anything done.      

      He strives to empathize with his clients and put himself in his client’s position in order to “realize how their consumer credit issues are involving their lives and how important it is for me to get it right.”

      Brown also places a premium on being prepared as well as knowing and studying the area of law in question.

      “One of the things that I pride myself on is I know what I’m talking about in this practice area, and I did everything I could to become an expert in the consumer protection field,” he notes.

      “I never feel that the attorney on the other side knows more than us,” says the self assured Brown.

      The Fair Credit Law Group, which has two offices-one in Ft. Lauderdale and another in Miami-accepts cases on a contingency, flat fee retainer and hourly basis.  It is the only law firm in the greater Miami area that focuses solely on consumer issues and Brown is proud of the success and reputation he and his partners have built.

      “It’s about restoring the financial livelihood of every client who comes in, whether he or she is unemployed or an illegal immigrant getting harassed or with credit issues,” he notes.  “The bottom line is that the credit report is like your financial report card.”

      Brown may be reached at joel.brown@fclawgroup.comor at 1-877-310-9444.


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