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Firm Overview

My work focuses on helping people and companies resolve debt issues through the use of the various forms of bankruptcy or through negotiations with creditors. I also help creditors resolve issues arising in the bankruptcies of business or corporate debtors. The firm also works in the area of business law and commercial litigation to help our clients protect their rights and property, start new businesses, and defend actions by creditors, insurers, and other litigants.

I began practicing law in 1975 as a criminal defense attorney. I moved into a mixed bankruptcy and criminal defense practice in 1981 when clients asked me to help them through the bankruptcy process. This has led to years of satisfying work helping people and companies to resolve their financial woes by working with them to craft their own personal best solution.

Example cases

I have represented debtors in restructuring debt, eliminating debt, and in defending against the claims of creditors seeking to deny them bankruptcy protection. I have handled thousands of cases over the years, and have also handled numerous cases involving corporate debtors, high profile persons, and debtors with both high and low net worth. I do not like to reveal client names online as I believe that client privacy is an important protection that lawyers must offer to clients to minimize any negative impact from filing bankruptcy.

Main Office

Main
46 N. Washington Blvd.
Suite 24
Sarasota  FL  34236

Phone
  • (941) 365-4055
Fax
  • (941) 365-4219

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?

Yes, 20 to 30 minutes in length.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

I offer a free 20 to 30 minute consultation for new bankruptcy clients to discuss the various types of bankruptcy, how they might benefit from them, and fees. Fees in Chapter 7 and 13 cases are normally fixed and agreed to before work is undertaken.

Hourly Rates

A portion of my practice is hourly, especially in Chapter 11 cases, but such fees are normally subject to court approval.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
8:30 A.M. to 5:15 P.M. or by appointment.

Office Manager

Courtney

Emergency After Hours

Yes

Languages Spoken

Basic Spanish.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

After spending years in private criminal practice, some of my clients needed help with cleaning up their financial problems, and so began my career in bankruptcy. Referrals from other lawyers and past clients lead to more and more work in the bankruptcy area, and I have been in that area of practice for nearly 30 years.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

I believe that an educated client is better equipped to help themselves. They are better able to question what is going on in their case, and to assist me in doing my best for them. While I do my best for clients who do not wish to bother with all the reading on bankruptcy that is available online and elsewhere, we always let clients know where they can go to get authoritative information, and we work diligently to research and answer client questions.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

We strive to provide clients with all the documents necessary for their legal proceedings. We have advised clients on needed changes to documents they intend to file in situations where they cannot afford counsel, but I subscribe to the philosophy enunciated by Clarence Darrow many years ago in which he suggested that a "man who represents himself sometimes has a fool for a client." I know that good legal help can protect a client from making serious, compromising errors that can harm them. The primary role of the attorney is to provide excellent, sound legal documents.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

Coaching is almost an impossible situation for most lawyers, no matter what they say. It takes 19 plus years of education to arrive at the point where one can sit for the Bar and be considered eligible to practice law. After that education, I spent years practicing law and learning how to help people with their problems. To try to coach someone to the point where they might be able to enter the courtroom without counsel seems a daunting task and not one that should be undertaken lightly, if at all. As Shakespeare wrote in Measure for Measure, "good counselors lack no clients." However, coaching requires a good lawyer to become a great teacher.

R. John Cole, II

Prior to private practice I was an assistant public defender and became the First Assistant State Attorney for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida. This gave me the opportunity to work in the area of criminal law by helping people protect their rights and property.

I have been working since I was 12 years old. I started cutting grass by pushing an old-fashioned, unpowered lawn mower through the summer lawns of Tampa, Florida. Later, I went on to sell shoes at the old Thom McAnn stores and have worked all my life, including four years in the U.S. Navy that included a tour in destroyers off the coast of Vietnam. Following my naval career, I went to law school, and have practiced law since then. Dealing with people from all walks of life has been enriching and very helpful in having insight into where my clients come from, their needs and problems, and in making it easier to help them to solve those problems.

I consider myself to be fairly traditional in approach, and that is likely my greatest strength. I am willing to take the time to think through legal issues and not mislead a client. In addition, I have tried several hundred trials during my career, in addition to extensive time spent in court hearings. The time in both federal and state court has given me an ability to know and understand the thinking of judges, to understand rules of procedure, trial and court practice, and the ability to recognize and craft legally permissible but novel and unique arguments when necessary. I feel my time in court is irreplaceable and has greatly improved my abilities as an attorney.

Personal interests:

While I am a lifelong workaholic, I do get out of the office from time to time. I spend a great deal of my limited free time with my wife, children and grandchildren, who I deeply adore. I find that it is the time spent with the people you love that truly matters most.

License
  • Bar Number: 191364
    Florida , 1975
Education
  • University of Florida, Holland College of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 1974
    Gainesville, FL
    Florida Law Review, Order of the COIF (Top 10% of Graduating Class), Honors Graduate, Book Award Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Law.
  • Auburn University
    Bachelor of Arts , 1964
    Auburn, AL
    Sociology Major.

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