Tree Falling in a Forest – Relating to Bankruptcy

Table of Contents

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there, does it make a noise?

I have two sets of musings to talk about in this blog edition. Two issues that I think about in my line of work fairly frequently.

The first is my philosophy when it comes to serving my clients. I know (because I see) that my staff share my philosophy. A variation of my title: if no one is there to observe us, will we still do the right thing by our clients, even if it results in our inconvenience or expense (be it time, energy, or money)? Absolutely!

Many of you already know this – following the straight and narrow path when it comes to ethical and humane behavior can come at a high cost. But it is a cost that must be borne by those of us who believe that even when no one is watching, doing the right thing is always the right choice. We expect that standard of ourselves, and we expect that standard of our clients. What is worth your peace of mind and clear conscience?

Regardless of how healthy, rich, or independent anyone is currently, we all will have at least one moment in our lives, when we’re down and out, when we’d like our fellow human being (even when no one is watching), to help us in a manner that dignifies our humanity and shared existence. Think of a loved one in a nursing home — your most fervent wish would be that that loved one is always treated with respect and love, even when no one is watching.

That’s our philosophy at WM Law. Even those who come in that have had more than their fair share of bad luck, and they don’t necessarily behave in a gracious manner. We still extend the fullest compassion and professionalism to that client. Why? Well because it does matter; the tree makes a noise, even if no one is there.

Which leads me to the second point – if no one knows what you are going through when the creditors call and call… and call. Even on Sundays. Does it matter? Absolutely! It does matter. Regardless of how resilient you are – you work harder, you let the constant calls fade into the background – those calls, those questions, those insinuations that you are a failure, they matter!

I had a client once tell me – they are gift blockers. Indeed they are. That constant soundtrack of creditor calls eats away at your joy and your larger purpose as a human being. It’s not to work, pay bills, and die. Congress created bankruptcy laws to free the honest debtor from crushing debt, so you may be free to live more productively, so your dignity may be restored.

To answer my title question – yes, the tree makes a noise, so we should treat each other nicely, even when no one is watching, and we should set ourselves free, even if no one knows we are hurting.

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Author picture

Jeffrey L. Wagoner


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