This week on the The Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast, we chat with Karine Karadjian, experienced bankruptcy and debt settlement attorney. She is the founder of Karine Karadjian Professional Law Corporation, located in San Fernando Valley, and serving clients across California, with several virtual locations. Karine shares her advice, and do’s and don’ts of dealing with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re going through this, just know that you’re not alone. Everybody’s going through something right now, and it’s okay to seek help, and it’s okay to talk about it,” says Karine.

We discuss why you may not want to consider filing bankruptcy right now, even if you are struggling financially:

  • What you can do instead of bankruptcy to protect your financial wellbeing
  • Tips for managing debt if you’ve lost your job, your business or other sources of income because of the pandemic
  • The details of debt settlement, and scenarios where it may be an option
  • When and how to get the best deal on a debt settlement
  • And much more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Karine’s Website
  • Karine’s Facebook
  • Karine’s Instagram

Transcript

Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. Our mission is to provide thought-provoking powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth-generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm, so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m here today with Karine Karadjian founder of Karine Karadjian Professional Law Corporation with offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Fernando Valley and Glendale California. 

Karine is an experienced bankruptcy and debt settlement attorney and she’s here today to discuss with us her practice and also our best options for dealing with the financial fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcome, Karine. We are so happy to have you here today on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast.

Karine Karadjian: Thank you. I’m so happy to be on here. And thank you for having me.

Davina: So you and I have been Facebook friends for quite a while now. And I’m really excited about the opportunity to get to know you better today. And I know a lot of other people are too. Why don’t you start out by just telling us kind of your journey to becoming an attorney? What made you decide to become an attorney? Was this a lifelong dream or what happened?

Why Karine Decided to Become an Attorney

Karine: It was a lifelong dream to help people and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I grew up surrounded by pretty much family of doctors in a country where you kind of follow your parents’ footsteps. But we came to the US when I was 11. 

And I started, you know, toying with the idea of journalism and things like that through middle school and it wasn’t really until high school that I decided, I think the best thing that fit my personality would be something in the law. And my parents are very supportive and I ended up just doing that and falling in love with it and found an area of the law that fits my personality well and I get to help a lot of people with bankruptcy and financial relief.

Davina: So what led you to start your own practice? Did you start your own practice right out of law school or did you do some other things first? Tell us about that.

Karine: Yeah, no, I actually worked for a law firm. So I started out working for two bankruptcy judges while I was still in law school, and then worked for a public council doing some nonprofit stuff and then was recruited by a boutique bankruptcy law firm in LA. And so I started working with them while I was still in law school as a law clerk. They kept me on when I became licensed and put me in charge of our chapter 13 department a couple years later. 

Got a lot of experience, a lot of mentorship. My bosses were amazing. But I kind of just got kept, you know, there was no opportunity to grow beyond that. And I wanted more. So a friend of mine approached me to start our own firm. And we kind of jumped in. And he ended up getting a government job later on. And so I just went solo and it’s been the best thing. I love it. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Davina: Wow. Yeah. I love that. I love hearing those kinds of success stories. So tell us a little bit about your firm. Is it, I know you’ve got four service clients in four different areas of California. And so do you have offices in each of those areas? Are you virtual practice? Is there like a main place? Give me an idea so we know kind of like the size of your firm and how you work.

Karine: Sure. So there’s the main one. There’s just the old school brick and mortar 24 seven access office that I have, which is in the San Fernando Valley, pretty close to my house, the most convenient. And I would say that’s where the majority of my clients come from. And a lot of that is just years of investing in Google and SEO. And I’m happy to talk more about, you know, how to get clients and all of that as well. 

And then I have virtual locations. So Irvine is in Orange County about an hour away. And Glendale is a recent virtual one that I added on. And basically, the virtual ones, they use premier workspaces. And I have plenty of hours to use those. So never run out. And I think for people that are just starting out, or even, you know, I think it’s the new norm to do virtual and keep your overhead low. 

Davina: How has it been, so since you’ve been doing virtual for a little while, it was probably pretty easy for you to step into that kind of lifestyle and keep the firm going and that kind of thing, even given what’s been going on here. Is that correct? Or is it some things that you sort of run into that you’re like, Okay, this is different. What are we going to do here?

Karine: I’ve had to make some modifications but I think the fact that I did have virtual offices to begin with definitely has helped in this situation. So I do a lot of things over the phone and over email or Zoom and Skype with some of my clients who are not as tech-savvy or maybe can do and don’t have computer equipment or internet or things like that or easy access. 

We’re making adjustments, you know, with protective gear and meeting them for signings or things along those lines. It also helps to have understanding judges and trustees. We have a really amazing chief judge in the Central District of California who relaxed some of the signing requirements for filings and things like that. So we’re pretty much running business almost as usual.

Davina: Right, right. So tell me what it is that you like about, what you love about bankruptcy and debt settlement and focusing on that niche because that’s pretty much what you do. You do bankruptcy and you do debt settlement and things related to those two issues, right? So no car wrecks, no divorces, no anything like that. You’re focused on this area. What do you like about it?

Allowing People a Chance at a Fresh Start

Karine: What I like about it is that it gives people the opportunity at a fresh start. And it’s really rewarding. You get to see people who are coming in basically in their most vulnerable state. That part is obviously not the exciting part. But the exciting part is seeing them a few months later, let’s say it’s a chapter seven, which is a relatively quick process. And when we leave the court, and you just see the relief on their faces, it’s palpable. 

And unlike, you know, PI cases where you have to wait a really long time to see the results or things like family law, which from your friends of mine who are, you know, Divorce attorneys talk about how stressful it is and how they kind of get blamed for a lot of the stuff that’s out of their control. This is one area where your clients are, for the most part, very appreciative and you make a direct impact in their life that you can see very early on. 

Davina: Right, right. And you said I was watching another webinar that you just did and you were saying, you know, your phone lately has, of course, been ringing off the hook because people are freaking out about what is going on in the world with this COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people have lost their jobs. And they’re concerned, you know, there’s delays in getting unemployment checks and other help that they need. And so I’m sure your phone’s just ringing off the hook. And what are the kind of things that you’re hearing from people calling you now?

Karine: The phones have indeed been ringing off the hook. People are sending messages on social media. And, it’s, you know, fellow attorneys as well that are struggling or people in other fields, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, everybody’s struggling right now. And so, first off, I wanted to just spread that message that if you’re going through this, there’s a lot of female attorneys listening to this podcast who are running firms and I’m sure feeling all this pressure. Just know that you’re not alone. You know, everybody’s going through something right now and it’s okay to seek help and it’s okay to talk about it. 

Davina: Yeah. I think that’s powerful. That’s a powerful message. I appreciate you.

Karine: Yeah, we don’t want, it’s hard to always put on this, you know, superwoman face. Especially as a business owner, you want to feel like you have everything together all the time. But this is just unprecedented times for all of us and everybody’s going through somebody. And so, you know, I’m trying to pass on information to as many people as possible because we all know, at least one person that’s lost their job or has had reduced income or has fallen ill or is taking care of somebody that’s fallen ill. 

Davina: Yeah. I mean, and that’s a good point. You know, a lot of the people listening to this podcast are women law firm owners. And so we’re entrepreneurs and we have businesses and we’re thinking about that, but you know, so many too your married people who have lost jobs or you have a family member, or, you know, there’s other people in our lives that can affect what’s going on with us, even if our business is still rolling along okay, right? 

And also, we’re in the early days of this and we don’t know what’s going to come, what’s not going to come, that kind of thing. So what are some things that we can do to prepare and protect our financial well being? Because I know you’re really not advising people to rush to bankruptcy, right? 

Karine: Yeah, I’m definitely not. And I think it might be, you know, this is my opinion, but I think it’s borderline unethical to kind of prey on people at this point where they’re at their most vulnerable and they’re panicking and freaking out. So, getting a ton of calls and basically just doing consults and telling people, let’s wait this out because we don’t know. 

Everything is still up in the air right now, we don’t know how long the quarantines are going to be lasting, we don’t know if you’re going to be laid off, if some of the unemployment when it kicks in is going to be able to save you from possibly having to file for bankruptcy. So, and I want to make clear because in normal times, you know, I also do a lot of educational videos or have talks about, hey, let’s remove the stigma of bankruptcy. 

Because if you really, really need bankruptcy at the end of the day, you should definitely file it and seek the help that you’re legally entitled to. But none of this is to say, oh, bankruptcy is bad. It’s going to ruin you forever. No. What it is to say is that, let’s not jump into it. Let’s see what other options are available. And if in a few months, you just, you can’t do it, then let’s have a more serious conversation about bankruptcy. Let’s revisit that. But for now, you know, everybody’s being understanding about this, so all of your creditors are and therefore you can try to prioritize. 

So if you have a mortgage, try to prioritize on paying your mortgage. And, you know, with things like credit cards, for example, you contact your credit card providers and most of them are offering things like up to three months of skipped payments with no late fees and no late credit reporting. So take advantage of all of those things. And almost all creditors by this point have a COVID-19 is the third page on their website. I think call times are extremely long right now so it’s most efficient to get all of your information online. 

And you can request these payment suspensions and things like that online in a matter of a few minutes. I’d say the one that’s not as clear and not the greatest options are when it comes to your mortgages. So those of you that have mortgages, what I’m advising people is if you have the ability to pay your mortgage payment right now, go ahead and pay that because some of the programs that they’ve been introducing so far, are not really clear on repayment terms. 

So what I see problematic is if you skip three months of mortgage payments and you’ve been laid off, you don’t have the money to make that up. A lot of lenders are requiring those payments on the fourth month and you don’t have that. So just make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Some lenders are very flexible. They’re allowing extended repayment or adding that to the back end of the loan. But I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people who don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

Davina: Yeah, yeah, right. That’s a good point. And here’s the thing about that too, when you’re, if you go put everything, you know, if you’re putting everything on hold that you can, and then a lot of people are because they’re, you know, cash is king and they’re saving the cash because they don’t know what’s happening. 

And they’re trying to reach out all their lenders and putting everything on hold. At some point, though, there’s going to be an expectation by a lot of those lenders, too, you know, and to pay. You’ve got to start making your payments again. And some of them may have an expectation, like you mentioned with the mortgage company of, oh, you gotta pay all three months at once. 

So you should have been saving up that money to pay it, you know? And I think that’s the danger with a lot of, if you have the money just to pay things but you’re just kind of like, Okay, I’m gonna take this opportunity to put everything on hold. The danger is that you won’t, that you’ll spend that money, that you’ll do something else with that money and then you won’t have it when all these things start back again. And there’s no guarantee of any sort of automatic forgiveness, right?

Karine: Exactly. Yeah, and as of right now, there really isn’t any talk of forgiveness at all. You know, at least when it comes to things like mortgages, car payments, credit card payments. So if you have the opportunity to pay, definitely pay. This is designed as kind of like a temporary Band-Aid, a last resort for those people who truly need the help, who have lost their jobs, who have reduced their income, and they don’t have any other way out. 

These are programs that are designed to help them from a foreclosure, from having a repossession and, you know, things like that. But I’ve seen a lot of people that are okay for now and they’re trying to do this and, yeah, I don’t think that’s the best idea. 

Davina: Right, right. So what other kinds of things can we do to, actions can we take to manage, you know, keep our cash and manage that sort of debt until this passes and we know what to do. What other kinds of things?

Managing Debt During the Pandemic

Karine: If somebody was working, got laid off or got reduced hours, if you’re in that category, look into, you know, whatever unemployment options are in your state. I’m in California, our stuff goes to EDD, for example. And what our EDD office has done is in providing certain exceptions. So whereas historically, people who were self-employed or independent contractors were not eligible for unemployment benefits right now, there are certain exceptions being made where they can apply and possibly get approved for that. 

And under the CARES Act, there’s also the pandemic unemployment assistance programs that right now, basically they’re working with different state unemployment agencies to kind of coordinate this new program that’s aimed for small business owners, that aim for sole proprietors, smaller corporations. So they’re working on it because they realize that these are the people, the small business owners need most of the help because historically, they haven’t been able to get this kind of help. 

So that’s one outlet. And you should kind of follow up on that because we don’t have a ton of information on it yet because the state agencies are trying to figure out how to best coordinate that in compliance with the CARES Act. And another one, another hot topic has been SBA loan payment protection programs and the Economic Disaster Loan. 

I know that there was a lot of disappointment over, you know, how all of, how the banks coordinated all of that. There was a lot of confusion, misunderstanding. A lot of people are frustrated because SBA just announced that it’s out of funds for now for the Paycheck Protection Program. But what a lot of business attorneys that I’ve been asking about this are thinking is that there’s probably going to be a second and maybe a third wave of more money coming in. And another set of applications opening up. 

Davina: Yeah, I was curious about that because that, I mean, that’s the news as we’re recording this. This has been the news that came out yesterday or the day before that. There is no more money, but I don’t see how they can not come up with some sort of solution for that. I mean, so it’d be very interesting to see what happens but I’m hopeful that, you know, that they’ll look at that and say, Well, this wasn’t our intent. So we need to, you know.

Karine: And hopefully With better guidance this time, just so, you know, people that need to apply are able to. And usually, it’s smaller businesses, obviously, that are suffering the most.

Davina: Yeah, yeah, I saw an article saying that, like Ruth Chris got some of that money. And it’s like, wow, you know/ I mean, that’s the part that’s so upsetting because I don’t think that’s who it’s intended for, these national chains and things like that. So maybe there’ll be some more regulation of it. Guidelines will help you know, and there’ll be a second round of funding for it. So always keep your eyes out. 

And the thing about it is, is that if you, we don’t know what’s coming. So if you have a small firm and you don’t have good cash flow and you’re doing okay right now and you’ve got clients, you still want to go ahead and apply for those relief kind of opportunities because we don’t know if we might have cashflow difficulties later and not be able to pay our people and that kind of thing, right?

Karine: Yeah, I think it’s good to plan ahead. Even if you haven’t directly been hit yet, it’s best to plan ahead. And it’s best to just set out, you know, a hypothetical worst-case scenario and kind of plan around it just so that you’re not scrambling for things the last minute if it gets to that point. So do your research at this point, find out what benefits your state offers. There’s even things, let’s say here, we have CalFresh, CalWORKs, which are like cash aid benefits, and things like food stamps. 

So if you’re really struggling to feed your family, you know, then you figure out a way to feed your family and there’s hope out there. And there’s no stigma in applying for help when you need it. And to prioritize. So my thing is, right now, you know, you want to keep a roof over your head. So if you can’t make your mortgage payment that’s kind of,  if you have, you have to pick between a credit card payment and a mortgage payment, of course, pick your mortgage payment. 

And if you don’t have a mortgage or renting work, talk to your landlord and let them know. And but be mindful as well because what, you know, realize that landlords rely on rental income to feed their own families. So I think we just need to be compassionate, we need to take the help if we need it. And if we’re, you know, blessed enough that we don’t need it to keep it for somebody that needs it because there’s only so much funding available.

Davina: Yeah. And I think you touched on a good point too there, and that is really assessing, who do you, who are you paying who you owe money to. And if it’s another small business, you know, they’re depending on that to, they’re depending on it. We’re all depending on money continuing to circulate, right? So if you have a large corporation and, you know, you work something out like a credit card company and you call and work something out as a temporary thing, that’s one thing. 

But if you’ve got contracts or agreements as a business person with other small businesses and vendors, that the, you also kind of have to balance that out and think to yourself, you know, what, because if you’re wanting people to pay you, you have to think about the energy that we’re putting out there, you know, you’re still wanting people to come to your business. So you have to think about I can’t draw in all of my money and take it all out of circulation, where I’m supporting other people through the work that I do with their businesses, you know?

Get Creative, Go Virtual

Karine: Yeah, yeah. And with the, you know, law firm owners, I would say, this is a good time to kind of get creative in your field and open yourself up to running your practice as much as you can virtually, and maybe offering some services that before didn’t cross your mind. I’m not talking about entering an area of law which you’re not familiar with. I definitely don’t recommend that because I know a lot of people are asking me right now, you know, I want to jump into bankruptcy. 

And I’m like, you know, don’t jump into it. If you want to learn it, get a mentor but don’t open yourself up to malpractice. But, you know, focus on this time to grow your firm and focus on things like social media, on putting out content, putting out blogs, informational videos, because one amazing thing I’ve seen happen over the past month is I’ve gotten a ton of free valuable information from other attorneys who are putting this content out there for our colleagues. And we’re learning and we’re helping each other and it’s been wonderful in that sense. 

Davina: Right, right. Also, it’s a huge I mean, now’s the time to be focusing on establishing your authority and sharing your knowledge with your community and your prospective clients because there’s so many people, you know, attorneys, we underestimate how much we know, you know? About our area of expertise and how other people just don’t even understand the terminology we’re using much less the concepts and things like that. And I know you’ve been doing some things lately, you just did a really good webinar that you put out for people. Why don’t you tell us about that, what that was about? 

Karine: We did a webinar with EEB in California, which puts out a lot of free webinars just for informational purposes. And they also have a lot of CLE classes that they do. I was reached out by them to do this webinar because they saw a lot of the content I was putting out for the public, just be, nothing official, you know, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and basically just wants to spread the message to as many people as possible about these different options that are available, whether it’s doing your credit card payments or car payments. 

My webinar was a lot more focused on California, obviously, because that’s where I am and I know those programs a lot better. But that’s just one example of how something as little as a couple of hours of you giving your time about a topic that you know that can help people and people are really, really appreciative of that, you know? 

And I think all of us have knowledge to share that could, that has impact with the current situation whether if you’re a landlord-tenant attorney, you have a ton of information to give landlords and tenants, you know? If you’re a family law attorney, you have information to give about maybe increased domestic violence rates right now when people are forced to stay together. There’s a lot of things, and people appreciate the fact that you take your time to explain these things to them. And they’ll remember you for that.

Davina: Right, right. And what I love about the example that you just gave, you were just posting information on Instagram that you thought would be helpful to people. And then this organization reached out to you and said, Hey, can you come and do a CLE, right? So the opportunities that come just from flipping on your camera and talking to the camera and sharing your knowledge with people. It can generate all kinds of opportunities for you and the growth of your business because now, you know, you get the extra added weight and authority of this organization that you created the CLE with, right?

Karine: Yeah, yeah. And mine, in particular, was a webinar. Not, you know, I just want to make that clear. But yeah, there’s definitely people that approach you. And there’s a network that, you know, you get exposed to and you make meaningful connections that last way beyond whatever’s going on right now. 

So I had, for example, one other person who saw about this particular webinar on LinkedIn and then reached out and asked, Can I share this with my nonprofit audience, for example. You know, and then somebody contacts me from there. Oh, I heard about this. Can we share this? And I don’t think it’s always just necessarily just marketing related. It’s, a lot of it is also you’re genuinely helping people with the information you’re offering. That in itself was a great feeling.

Davina: Right, right. I think that’s very, I think that’s a, that’s the right exact right attitude to have. And it’s called purity of intent. You know, having that purity of intent that, you know, I’m just going to step up now and I’m just going to help people. And I know that by doing that, it’s going to, you know, there’ll be a benefit for me, but I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m doing it because I want to help people, you know? 

And I think that whole idea that we’re all in this together, I mean, there are a lot of people who are, I mean, really suffering through this. And being mindful that at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and, you know, and there but for the grace of God go I kind of thing. You know, we could all be in a situation. I want to talk a little bit about debt settlement because I know this is something that you offer. You know, ordinarily, you offer bankruptcy but you also talk about, you also offer help with debt settlement. 

And I wanted to talk about what, you know, if you’ve got business owners now that may have personal debt or business debt and they have some cash to do it, should they be looking to pay off debt and rid themselves in debt, or should they be hanging on to that cash? What is your thought and opinion on that? I mean, talk a little bit about what debt settlement is, first of all, for those who don’t know, and then talk about that.

What Debt Settlement is and How to Get the Best Results

Karine: So debt settlement is kind of what we do if a person doesn’t have, it’s kind of a balancing act, basically. So if a person makes too much money to qualify for a chapter seven, or has too many assets, non exempt assets to qualify for chapter seven, then I kind of do this balancing test and I see if I put them in a chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, which is a three to five-year commitment and a reorganization, are they going to pay back more than if I just settled for them? 

So, if they’re going to be paying back over 50% of their debt back into chapter 13, whether it’s due to income or assets, then I present them with this non-bankruptcy debt settlement alternative, which keeps the courts out and usually we’re done in about six to nine months, depending on how many accounts they have. 

The tricky thing with debt settlement is in order to get the best results, you have to have a lump sum available for me to settle that debt account. Because I’ve seen too many people fail when they do things like debt consolidation companies where they’re making small monthly payments. Those almost always end up in lawsuits and then those people come to me for bankruptcy. So, for effective settlements, you need lump sums, realistically, traditionally between 40 and 50% of the balance. 

In the current climate, we’re seeing some settlements that are as low as 30 to 40%. So for those people, I have some clients that, you know, these are not new clients I’m signing on, these are clients I’ve had, who are fortunate enough that nothing really has changed financially for them due to COVID-19. And they’re in a situation where they still have cash flow. So for them, we just did, let’s say I did five settlements with them a couple of weeks ago for city, and we settled for 35% of the balance. 

So what I’m telling people is, if you know you’re going to be in a pretty stable place, then this is a great time for settlement because we’re getting settlements that we normally wouldn’t get. But if you just don’t know, I would hate for you to spend all your cash settling something and then you not having, and then you’re getting laid off. And you don’t have savings and now you’re stuck not being able to pay your mortgage.

Davina: Mm-hmm. So the priority is to hang on to the cash and be able to prioritize paying for your shelter and your utilities and your food and that kind of thing. 

Karine: Yeah, yeah.

Davina: Yeah. So before we wrap up here today, tell us what kind of, in building your firm, what kind of lessons do you think you’ve learned along the way? And share that with others who may be listening and maybe behind you on the journey and thinking that they’re, you know, maybe they’re a little, a year into their firm or whatever. And what are some of the things that you’ve learned, or maybe what you would do differently?

Karine: I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is to be confident and to be genuine. So when I first went out on my own, I was a little bit under 30. And, you know, the first several clients, there was a little bit of hesitation, like they would talk to me on the phone, everything was great. And when they would come in, in person, Oh, you’re younger than I thought, you know? And at first, I felt like I had to make excuses for that. 

And eventually, I just built my confidence because the more I saw that my cases were going, all going very smoothly and I knew what I was doing, I built that confidence and people kind of picked up on that. So there’s no more really questioning. I’m 34 now, and I’m not really getting those kinds of questions from people. When they see me I think they can sense the confidence. And the more important thing for me is always be genuine. 

Be true to yourself and figure out what it is that you yourself want to do. I don’t ever compare myself with others. I think that leads to a lot of unhappiness in a lot of people or too much added pressure. So figure out what business model you like, what feels genuine to you, and stick to that because your idea of success might be a lot different than those of others. And that’s okay, as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing. So, for example, for me, I never want to build a huge firm. I don’t want to have several associates working under me. 

I work best alone. I like it that way. I like my autonomy. And I don’t even have a full-time legal assistant. I have a legal assistant on an as-needed basis because I like the flexibility of working from home whenever I want to. I go to the office only when I’m meeting a client. And I do my best work at 2 am in PJs. So, you know, figure out what you like. There’s no one direct formula. But don’t be discouraged if you’re reading X, Y, and Z and their success and their numbers and their gross numbers because you don’t know what their net numbers look like, first of all, and second, maybe you don’t need all that.

Davina: Right, right. I think that’s all really, really good advice and I appreciate you sharing that. I know that I was, I’ve shared this story before, but I was told when I first started my law firm in a couple different settings in a couple different ways. I was basically told that your client, well, actually, somebody said your clients won’t like that. And it was when I first started working. I had had an office and then I grew it, had a partner. 

And then when I, she and I split up and I wound up starting my own after a little time off, I went virtual and I just said I want a virtual practice. And I didn’t want what I had had before, which was the whole team. And I had a man, another attorney, say to me, Well, your clients aren’t gonna like that. And his agenda was to try to get me to rent the space in his office at an exorbitant fee. And so you always look at the agenda. What’s the agenda of the person telling me this, right? 

You know, and I fortunately, I ignored him and went about my way. And it was just fine. You know, I was just fine. And I did what I wanted to do and it worked. And there were plenty of clients who loved it. And that was before a lot of attorneys were going virtual. So I agree with you wholeheartedly there that the key is to find out what makes you happy and do that, you know?

Karine: And on the topic of virtual and, you know, people being, you know, if you talk to somebody five years ago, and you were talking about virtual, people would laugh at you. And now it’s like the new normal. And people see how much more convenient it is and how you can have such a better work-life balance. And I remember something as recently as a couple of months ago, I want to say three, four months ago, we were at some sort of mediation seminar and I had presented the idea of online mediation. And I got a roomful of people just giving chuckles like, Oh, that’s ridiculous. And now

Davina: And look at us now.

Karine: People are forced into Zoom mediations right now when all the major agencies are doing it. And a lot of people are realizing how convenient it actually can be in a lot of situations. Not all situations, but you learn to adapt.

Davina: Yeah, well, I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see how we come out on the other side because, you know, traditionally law firms, particularly big law firms have always been slow to, it’s a very traditionalist kind of profession. And we’ve been slow to adapt to change. And this, you know, one good thing that’s come out of this pandemic is it has forced our hand. 

And it’s forced law firms of all sizes to start thinking about how can I continue to service my clients when we can’t all meet down at the big office, you know? And I think there’ll be a lot of people who will continue offering these types of services even once we’re all let back out into the sun again, you know?

Karine: I think so too. And I think that’s a good thing.

Davina: Yeah. I love innovation, I love innovation in learning to serve our clients in new ways. And also, you know, a lot of clients might before have been reticent, they might not have felt that attorneys were authentic unless they had that, you know, that brick office in the lovely lobby with the big chairs in it or whatever, you know? And now, a lot of clients are having to be introduced to this method of doing it. 

And they’re loving it because of the convenience factor of it, you know? I don’t have to drive and all that traffic, you know, to meet my attorney. Yeah, it’s huge. And especially, and I think being, you know, like you’re in an area where there’s a lot of traffic. If anybody’s been around to that area, there’s a lot of traffic there, right? And, yeah, go ahead.

Karine: Oh, this is I know that there’s, LA traffic is just horrible and that was one of my key points in, you know, saying why don’t we do things online? You save yourself two hours.

Davina: Right. Exactly, exactly. So much you can do. You can be much more productive in less time and have more time for yourself if that’s what you want, you know? And so I will be interested to see how we come out of this and how the legal industry changes as a result of this and how we will continue to innovate after this, you know? Well, Karine, it’s been so wonderful to talk with you today. And I know that a lot of people are really going to appreciate this information and I have enjoyed speaking with you tremendously. So tell us how we can find out more information about you and your firm.

Karine: So you can hop on to my website, kelawfirm.com. And you can also find me on social media. I’m pretty active on Facebook. It’s just my name, Karina Karadjian, KARINE KARADJIAN, and I recently finally opened up an Instagram. And that one is @thedebtfairy.

Davina: Great, great. Thank you so much again for being here. It’s been a pleasure.

Karine: Thank you for having me.