Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 10, 2015

Grisham providing consumer debtor services

Attorney Art Grisham is changing his focus from debt collection to counseling and representing debtors. - (Photo by David Laprad)

With over 40 years of legal experience, including nearly a decade handling collections for law firms, attorney Art Grisham knows a thing or two about the devastating effects of debt. Now he’s taking what he’s learned and using it to help consumers who are experiencing problems with overbearing creditors.

“People don’t know as much about debt as they should, so I’ve decided to negotiate with creditors on their behalf,” he says.

Grisham says he’s not a debt management agency, but an attorney who wants to help get people back on their feet. “Debt management agencies charge a whopping fee to produce a payment plan, but they don’t do any actual negotiation, or tell your creditors what they’re doing or when they’ll get paid,” he says. “Meanwhile, your creditors are suing you and your interest rates are going up. It’s a tragedy those kinds of folks are allowed to operate.”

Having been a creditor’s lawyer for several years, Grisham says he knows which buttons to push. To that end, he’ll negotiate directly with creditors to arrange a reasonable interest rate and payment plan. In addition, he says his fee will be reasonable.

Grisham will not be offering bankruptcy services. Rather, he wants to help people avoid that most drastic of measures. “When creditors are pressuring someone, the only thing that person can think to do is file bankruptcy. They want relief,” he says. “ I get calls day and night from people who dread getting their mail or hearing their phone ring As their attorney, the creditors will have to deal only with me. That takes a lot of the day to day pressure off of people.”

Grisham says he can also help people start rebuilding their credit. “When you file for bankruptcy, it’s on your record for ten years, whereas if you have a bad debt, it stays on your record for only seven years,” he says. “I can help you rebuild your credit even faster by getting you on a payment plan.”

Grisham will also be counseling people on how to use credit smartly. “The American people are largely illiterate when it comes to credit,” he says. “If you want to buy a TV, and you haven’t saved enough money to buy one, a store will be happy to take your signature instead of money.

“Unfortunately, the only thing people want to know is how much their payment will be and when it’ll be due. They don’t look at how much the TV will cost them over time.”

Grisham says he’s also available to speak to civic groups.

Many people who are in debt feel embarrassed, Grisham says, but that’s not necessary. Instead, he want them to focus on getting out of debt and moving forward. “In my experience, most people want to pay their bills but can’t because of unreasonable demands,” he says. “I’m here to fix that. I’ll be your advocate, not a voice at the other end of an 800 number.”

Grisham is located in Suite 1000 of the First Tennessee Bank Building, located on 700 Market Street. To make an appointment, contact him at (423) 227-6256 or a_grisham@epbfi.com.