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It appears that our Congress has recently been able to avoid another government shutdown for a year or so by approving an adjustment in the debt ceiling. I'm not sure where this will lead us but I do know from the last shutdown in October 2013, that our industry was impacted directly in a few major ways:

Government agencies that outsource their claims were closed and almost all activities by all related parties associated with the entire collection process came to a halt. Inasmuch as collection agencies and attorneys collect hundreds of millions of dollars for the federal government each week, this was all lost income during that period. The total economic impact of the shutdown to the country was estimated at $30 billion, and a feeling of severe instability permeated global trade and the financial markets.

Wherever you lie on the political spectrum, let's just hope that as long as we can all keep working and collecting, our industry will continue to make a very positive contribution to our national well-being.

Thomas W. Hamilton

 Industry News

Is an inherited individual retirement account a 'retirement fund' under the bankruptcy code, and thus exempted from a debtor's bankruptcy estate?
Legal Information Institute
In October 2010, Heidi Heffron-Clark and Brandon Clark filed a voluntary joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy and claimed an inherited IRA under the retirement funds exemption of Section 522 of the bankruptcy code. The bankruptcy trustee and creditors objected to the claimed exemption. The United States Supreme Court must decide if an inherited IRA constitutes a "retirement fund" under Section 522.
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PRA expands credit facility to $842.5 million moving closer to acquisition of Aktiv Kapital
The Wall Street Journal
In February of this year, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. agreed to acquire Aktiv Kapital AS, a Norway-based company specializing in the acquisition and servicing of non-performing consumer loans throughout Europe and in Canada for approximately $880 million. PRA also agreed to assume approximately $435 million of Aktiv Kapital's corporate debt, resulting in an acquisition of estimated total enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The two companies combined will become one of the world's largest acquirers of consumer debt from banks and other creditors with more than $4.6 billion in estimated remaining collections from customers.
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Debt collectors hunt the real 'Wolf of Wall Street'
New York Post
The real-life Wolf of Wall Street can run from his creditors — but they're still vowing to track him down. A relentless debt collection agency has filed legal papers in California to force legendary Wall Street scammer Jordan Belfort to cough up $27,597 in unpaid bills for retail purchases he made before he was busted by the feds.
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Collector prevails in FDCPA suit claiming business debt was

A U.S. District Court in Arizona ruled in favor of a commercial debt collection agency that was sued by a consumer who alleged violations of the FDCPA. But the consumer had made his purchase as a business and later tried to claim the product was for personal use.
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Experts opine: How to market a commercial litigation practice
The Legal Intelligencer
According to author Stacy West Clark: Commercial litigators have long bemoaned the episodic nature of their practice and used it, dare I say, as a crutch or rationale for not engaging in active business development. While they may not know when or where their next case is coming from, there are definite steps they can take to ensure the case does come their way.
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Miami now a hot spot for international arbitration
Corporate Counsel
At this point, there is nothing surprising in having a major arbitration seated in Miami.

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What our clients have to say:
In my past 12 years here at Rauch Milliken International, I have received A+ service and professionalism from the staff of ALQ. The website is a fast and convenient aid in finding attorneys to help us in our collection matters. Our files are delivered electronically and acknowledged by ALQ within minutes of sending. Tom and his staff have always been right there by our side to handle any issues that we may have encountered. I would highly recommend ALQ to anyone needing assistance in this field.

— Tara Hernandez, legal supervisor, Rauch Milliken International Inc., Metairie, La.

ALQ has long been recognized as a leader in the law list publishing industry. ALQ's depth of experience, responsiveness and outstanding customer service made the company a pleasure to deal with. ALQ has always been one of my top performing lists. The staff and especially Jeremy take a personal interest in my account and make sure I’m getting a steady supply of new referrals and claims.

— John O. Postl, attorney, Boston

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April 24-26, 2014
CLLA National Convention
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May 15-18, 2014
National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys Spring Collection Conference
Loew's Miami Beach Hotel - Miami Beach, Fla.

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