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Frank Trapani, our August Volunteer of the Month, worked in education and government before deciding that law was his passion. He initially wanted to go into disability law, but ended up working for a large law firm out of law school to provide for his growing family. But helping those who can’t help themselves was always a passion of his, and so he opened his own boutique litigation law firm, Kreher & Trapani LLP, where he could focus on the work that mattered to him. As part of his practice, Frank represents many individuals in employment litigation.
On the side, Frank does a lot of work with VIP. “I do the work simply because I enjoy working with people who need the help and the representation. And frankly, a lot of people at VIP do, so I really enjoy working with them,” Frank said. Frank has experience with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which regulates what debt collection companies can do when attempting to collect a debt. Frank is able to transfer his experience to help protect VIP clients from debt collectors.
“I understand the contract piece of it, and I have knowledge of both the FDCPA and its state law counterparts. And also what debt collectors, who are bringing these claims, are permitted to do in collecting the judgment,” Frank said.
“I have now handled countless cases through VIP so I understand the way the process works really well. I understand the way people bringing these claims think. This gives our clients a little bit of leverage.”
The process is so streamlined that VIP staff know that when they pitch a case to him and he accepts, the process will get done well. “Frank is a very thoughtful and communicative volunteer who has done especially great work with clients getting sued by debt buyers,” Pro Bono Case Manager Cassidy Gruber Baruth said. “Recently, he got a claim dismissed without prejudice and a client being sued for thousands of dollars didn’t have to pay anything at all.”
“There is a uniqueness to the type of cases that I get through VIP. Most of my clients come to VIP because they are sued by debt buyers. And ultimately when you look at the amount of money my clients make, they can’t afford to pay the amount that the creditor is seeking to collect. They either put food on the table or pay off the debt. Oftentimes, clients say to me they don’t recall making the charges in the first place,” Frank said.
“My first job is to reassure them that they will be okay. Then I go to court for them. I do my best to ensure that the results of these cases are beneficial to my clients. When these cases are over, my clients are so grateful that they can simply move on and focus on more important things.”