Room to Grow
A Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Attorney You Can Trust
From Paralegal to Office Manager
“The firm has grown a lot over the last decade and so have my responsibilities.”
This is Daryl Smith, office manager and paralegal at The Moak Law Firm. Mr. Moak has asked me to take the reins this month and share a bit about myself. Twelve years ago, I came to work at The Moak Law Firm as a paralegal. That was right around the start of the Great Recession when many people were forced to file for bankruptcy. By 2010, over 1.5 million Americans across the country were filing for bankruptcy. They were looking to attorneys to help them navigate this difficult situation, and it became my responsibility to conduct financial analyses and help our clients get out of debt. mortgage and credit lending. I’ve worked in the financial world for 22 years, starting at banks doing loans before moving to work at big firms in the stock world. I’ve always found finance and investment to be very interesting. The stock market is a fascinating beast. Investing and growing capital are key for saving for the future and eliminating debt. I’ve always liked being able to help people get rid of their debt, which is why being a paralegal for bankruptcy cases was the next logical step in my career. I joined the firm to specialize in financial analysis of Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. In layman’s terms, I come up with strategies to help us save our clients more money. Not all firms are good at this. When people come to us, they’re in dire financial situations. We help them pull through by guiding them through the Chapter 7 or the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process and getting them the best possible outcome. It can be a challenge at times, but it’s rewarding to see Prior to coming on board as a paralegal, my background in finance involved
how relieved clients are when they finally get that fresh start.
The firm has grown a lot over the last decade and so have my responsibilities. I’ve stepped into the office manager role, and now I oversee workflow and manage seven other employees. These days, I spend half of my time behind the scenes working on the business and the other half working on client cases. I basically do everything except show up at court! It’s a lot of work, but I know it makes a huge difference for our clients and attorneys. When I’m not making sure everything is running smoothly at the office, I spend as much time as I can with my family. We get to travel often together, and that leads to some great experiences. I also enjoy playing the guitar and learning new languages. I speak Spanish fluently and am learning French right now. If we have any French speakers out there, let me know. I’d be grateful to have someone to practice with. I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve done over the last 12 years. There’s been a lot of opportunities to grow, both in my career and on a personal level. I look forward to being able to help more clients as our firm continues to grow.
— Daryl Smith
Feb. 14 is National Donor Day
Join a Donor Dash. Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed to bring donors and recipients together and keep hope alive for those who are currently waiting for a donation. To learn more, or to register for an event, check out DonorAlliance.org. Participate in #StartTheConversation. #StartTheConversation campaign as a way to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. Starting the conversation can be as simple as sharing that you registered with your friends and family or as personal as sharing a story about how organ donation has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day come and go in a tide of cellophane, candy hearts, and cheesy cards. This year, get involved in National Donor Day. After all, what better way is there to express the value of love than giving the gift of life? Donor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to promote organ donation, began the
With all the cards, chocolates, and expensive dinners, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. However, National Donor Day also falls on Feb. 14, and it can refocus our attention back on the real meaning of the day: love. In the U.S., 20 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. Losing loved ones is one of the most painful aspects of the human experience, and while it is unavoidable, organ donation offers a pathway to help prevent that loss and keep more love in the world. In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14. Register as an organ donor. Signing yourself up is easy and can be done either online or in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need official identification to register. Registration is not permanent and you will always have the option to change your mind. Once registered, you will not need to carry your donor card with you, as your status exists in the registry.
The Lie of Hands-Free Give the Gift of Life How to Combat Inattentional Blindness Last year, Arizona became the 48th state to ban drivers from using handheld cellular devices while behind the wheel of a car. This law aimed to combat distracted driving by making it illegal for drivers to talk or text while the car is in motion. The law extends to cellphones, tablets, and gaming devices. Drivers who violate this law can receive fines of up to $149 for their first violation and up to $250 for their second violation. This law focuses on preventing drivers from physically touching or looking at their devices while driving, which is why many drivers are turning to hands-free mode. With more cars being built with Bluetooth capabilities, some drivers are already relying on hands- free mode to send and receive calls or text messages while driving. Because hands-free mode tends to be an exception in distracted-
driving laws, many people are under the impression that using hand-free mode while behind the wheel is totally safe. This could not be further from the truth. Have you ever tried to read a book while talking on the phone? You can’t do it. Your brain can only focus on one task or the other. The same goes for when you’re trying to drive while talking on the phone. Though your hands and eyes may be on the road, when you’re engaged in conversation, your brain isn’t paying attention. Your field of vision narrows, and you miss up to 50% of what’s going on around you.
engaged in conversation while driving had slower reaction times to road hazards and were more likely to “look but fail to see” hazards. This means that while their eyes saw the hazards, their brains didn’t register the danger so they failed to react safely. This phenomenon is called “inattentional blindness,” and it’s why many drivers insist that they didn’t see the other car, motorcycle, or bicyclist they hit, even though they were in plain view. The best way to combat inattentional blindness is by keeping your attention 100% on the road. Hands-free is not risk-free. When you’re driving, the only safe phones are ones that are turned off.
Research from the University of Sussex in England found that drivers who are
Do you know anyone overwhelmed with debt o
You CAN Buy a House After Bankruptcy WE’LL SHOW YOU HOW
“I really appreciate what the Moak Law Firm did for me, and I’ve been able to rebound and get my credit scores over to 700. Heck, I’m starting the homebuying process!!! Outstanding continuing support even after my case closed. I will always refer their services.” — Derek Morgan
The biggest mistake people make after bankruptcy is not opening new lines of credit. After being burned by debt, many people are afraid to risk taking on any new debt. Unfortunately, this won’t help them rebuild their credit. Knowing where to go and which companies to talk to about opening new lines of credit is key to rebuilding your credit score quickly because
Bankruptcy is a difficult, stressful process. Even when your case is finally over, it can sometimes feel like you’ll forever live in the shadow of your bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process is meant to give people the opportunity to escape the burden of overwhelming debt and get a fresh start. However, bankruptcy is not without its costs. The damage to your credit score can make it seem like you’ll never be able to enjoy full financial freedom again. This is why the team at The Moak Law Firm has developed a program to help our clients successfully rebuild their credit after bankruptcy. The new program includes credit education and regular check-ins to help you stay on track. Our experienced team members will walk you through all the steps and help debunk harmful myths about credit.
having a higher score will go a long way toward helping you stay financially healthy.
With a higher credit score, you’ll be able to refinance your car loan or purchase a different car in as little as 12 months. This strategy can help lower your debts, as you go from paying back loans with interest rates of 25% to more manageable rates of 9%–10%. If you stay on this track, in another year you can even buy a house. Rebuilding your credit this quickly is a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. The team at The Moak Law Firm is here to help! Visit http://azbankruptcyhelp.com/CreditCoaching to learn more about the program and enroll today.
Easy Shrimp Scampi
Inspired by The Blond Cook
Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe.
• • • • •
4 tbsp butter 4 tbsp olive oil
• • • •
1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup lemon juice 8 oz cooked linguine
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked
AQUARIUS CAPRICORN CELEBRATE CHAMPAGNE
FIREWORKS FREEZING JANUARY MIDNIGHT
PARTY RESOLUTION SNOW WINTER
linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.
who was injured in an accident? We can help!
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INSIDE This Issue
Creating a Fresh Start
Give the Gift of Life You’re Not Safe With Both Hands on the Wheel The Biggest Mistake People Make After Bankruptcy Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe
Stop and Smell the Roses
In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus
for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem.
Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.
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