Clarke Balcom Law was established in 2004, with one attorney and one paralegal, when I left a downtown Portland law firm to go on my own. We have grown rapidly as our reputation for caring, quality work has spread, and we now have an office of ten, including three attorneys, who are licensed to practice in Oregon and Washington.
We are Debt Relief Attorneys. We focus our practice on defending the rights and financial survival of individuals, families, and small businesses. We believe that the strength of our community and nation depends on the ability of people to look forward to a future where they are not constantly in fear of losing their income to debt and tax collectors, or their homes to foreclosure. To that end, we use a variety of solutions for debt relief including, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt settlement negotiations, tax problem resolution with the IRS and state and local tax agencies, negotiated tax-installment agreements (payment plans), offers in compromise, innocent spouse protection, foreclosure defense, debt collection defense, and suits against abusive debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), when harassment or abuse has occurred.
We are also doing what we can to help homeowners who have been subjected to predatory lending and are now at the unreasoning mercy of banks, mortgage servicers, and MERS, with no success in voluntary mortgage modification. Each case is reviewed on its own merits, and in every case we take, we fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients.
Regarding debt settlement, in the month of August alone, we settled over $167,000 in debt, for a total of $21,029 in payoffs, saving our clients almost $147,000. We filed an Offer in Compromise (OIC) with the IRS for a client who owed over $140,000 and got the IRS to accept $525 in full satisfaction of the tax debt. In the first six months of 2010 we got thousands of dollars awarded to our clients who had been subjected to illegal harassment by debt collectors, and since the beginning of 2010 we have stopped scores of foreclosures.
1312 SW 16th Avenue 2nd Floor
Portland OR 97201
Many of our initial consultations are at no charge. In some cases we charge a small fee.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually flat fee, at an amount quoted in advance depending on the issues in the case. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are normally an estimated fee, with the hourly billings subject to the approval of the bankruptcy judge. Debt settlements are generally done on a contingency basis, in which the fee is a fixed percentage of the amount that is saved for the client. In lawsuits against abusive debt collectors, we typically collect our fees from the debt collectors rather than from the client.
$275 (not normally applicable to flat fee or contingency cases).
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Emergency after hours by appointment on a case-by-case basis.
Yes. Chris Flamm is the general manager of my practice.
So many good people occasionally find themselves in trouble financially. The current wave of foreclosure actions by the big banks is only making things worse. I was initially a "tax nerd." But people with tax problems frequently have other debt problems as well, so I also handle other problem areas that deal with debt, and I enjoy being able to do what I do where it really matters.
A well-educated client is a better client and easier to help, because they understand the issues. They should be aware, however, that much information they hear, or read online, is incomplete, outdated, misleading, or just false. Bankruptcy and tax are complex areas of the law with many potential traps, which are best navigated with the guidance of knowledgeable legal counsel.
We are willing to review documents that our clients bring us, providing they have already retained us.
I am always willing to help coach clients in issues where that type of help is appropriate. Both bankruptcy and tax have become complex areas filled with traps, and are difficult even for attorneys who are not experienced in these areas. I will tell clients when I think they can handle a particular issue on their own, with tips on what to do and what not to do. I will also tell them when self-representation is not advisable in a particular case or controversy, for which they should engage competent legal counsel to represent them.
Before starting my own firm I worked with the downtown Portland law firm, Carney, Buckley, Hays & Marsh, serving the broad legal needs of individuals, businesses, and trade unions. Prior to my legal career, I worked in jobs ranging from non-profit worker to truck driver to human resources and management consultant working with small businesses, professional practices, and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada.
I have been involved with various human rights organizations for most of my adult life. I have worked with, and helped, a broad and varied range of individuals with their own unique backgrounds and problems. I believe that every individual has basic fundamental rights and I am passionate about the importance of defending those rights. I did not grow up rich or privileged, and have worked hard long hours at low pay, before embarking on my legal career. Thus I understand the plight of those who have worked hard and now find themselves in severe financial difficulties. We try to find the best options for each person, to get their situation behind them, and get on with their lives with a fresh start.
I enjoy and welcome the analytical challenge of complexities in a case. I have the mature judgment that age can bring, but I still have the mental dexterity to look at things from many angles in working out the possible problems and solutions. I really like people, communicate well, and I prefer to work things out by negotiation rather than fight. But if a legal fight is necessary, then I can be quite resourceful, and very persistent, on behalf of my clients.Personal interests:
Running, bicycling, hiking, traveling -- in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. I also have degrees in the Social Sciences and in Linguistics and enjoy learning more about other languages, places, and cultures.
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