I’m Peter Blinn. I’ve practiced law for over 30 years. My focus has always been to help people financially, to eliminate or manage debts. My primary goal is to give people or families a more workable monthly budget, get or keep a good credit rating, protect against legal actions, and show that there is a brighter future!
I’ve always done this through the use of the law that has been in place since the founding of our country: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. There are always problems that unexpectedly happen to us all, it seems (job loss, or a drop in income; medical bills based on unwanted medical problems; divorce; etc.). In the last several years, added to those areas, are foreclosures. Sometimes it’s good to get “out from under” a house that’s not worth it anymore, and Chapter 7 allows that, without unwanted income tax consequences or lawsuits for what the mortgage company is not able to get out of the house it eventually takes back. Now, the latest problem that has tripled or quadrupled in the last 10 years is Student Loan obligations. They aren’t covered by Bankruptcy, but there are other complicated methods to deal with these under the Higher Education Act, and the Code of Federal Regulations. Many people are unaware of these options, are not told about them, and navigating them is tricky, but can help.
More people come to see me for help with financial problems from Marion County, and all over central Florida, than any other attorney. I like to think it’s because of my experience, specialization in this field, and continuing legal education, but many clients tell me it’s because of who I am.
I grew up in Miami, in a fairly poor family. My father worked two jobs, and my mother was very ill. After high school, I moved to Gainesville, and attended the University of Florida. After the death of my parents, I struggled financially to stay in school, getting grants, loans, scholarships, and even food stamps. But I graduated from UF, undergraduate and Law. In Law School I was executive editor of the Law Review – a prestigious position, the top 10% of my class, and it allowed me to learn more than a regular law degree would provide. Afterwards, I worked for a large law firm in Jacksonville for awhile, but found I wasn’t able to have the one on one relationship I needed with my clients. I really wanted my clients to be “people,” not corporations or big businesses. So, I moved to Ocala soon afterwards, opened my own practice, and now I get to do what I love every day I practice law.
But my credentials, experience, and constantly striving to learn more through continuing legal education, don’t seem to be the most important things to the people I see every day. It seems to be how we interact, and I don’t know how that is, it just is.
I listen. I try to understand exactly what each client is feeling and experiencing. That’s how I know the biggest issues we have to address first. I don’t know any other way to do it, but clients tell me other attorneys don’t seem to do that. I’m friendly with my colleagues, and I know who’s good at what they do, and who is not, but I can’t be in the privacy of a confidential attorney-client meeting to know how other attorneys can sometimes seem to rub people the wrong way.
I feel badly when I can’t help someone, but those cases are rare. Nothing makes my day like the spontaneous hug from a client as I’m saying goodbye after our first meeting, because I’ve shown that client that there really is help and hope.