Michael Scholtes earned his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his law degree from Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco in 1979. He is admitted to practice in all Courts of the State of California, U.S. Federal Court, Northern District of California and the California Court of Appeals. His practice areas are Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Law. He is a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar, and other professional organizations in the field of Estate Planning. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
My wife, Marlene Fong, and I have worked together since 1985. We formed our own firm in Oakland/Alameda in 1998 as an estate planning practice, helping clients plan for their futures and avoid problems with inheritances and taxes. Bankruptcy grew naturally out of seeing so many people with financial issues. Many of the same kind of people with homes and businesses are now coming to us for financial help.
I've been a cannery worker, forklift driver, Sears hardware salesman, and a lot of other things that give me some perspective on life. Thirty-one years' experience as an attorney also gives me some perspective on how to effectively represent clients. Having a young daughter in school and being homeowners in Alameda puts me and Marlene in touch with the community in a very personal way. We have a large stake in the success of our town, region and culture. We see ourselves as making things right, one client at a time.
Why bankruptcy? No other area of the law gives the lawyer the ability to make such a huge difference and produce such a dramatic positive result for the client. Bankruptcy practice is ideal for the small firm or partnership where the client needs the reassurance of ready access to the attorney, and where the attorney wants the direct contact with clients.
I like the results of what we do. No other field of practice, or other career even, has the ability to really give people a new start in life. I tell people that bankruptcy is like "a cosmic re-set button" that puts the bad times behind you and places you on the doorstep of a new life. That's why we call our website "SFNewStart."
We pride ourselves on making the process as easy as possible. We are easy to talk to and not at all intimidating. We know that a person callind us with a bankruptcy question may never have talked to a lawyer about legal problems before and now is revealing personal and sometimes uncomfortable facts about their lives. We like to assure people in financial trouble that there is nothing wrong or immoral with using the laws Congress gave us to let honest people put debt behind them and start anew. We are informal and encourage clients to be open with us as they would be with friends or family. Clients have our cell phone numbers and can reach us seven days a week if need be.
Marlene Fong has practiced law in Northern California for over twenty-five years. She concentrates her practice in the field of Bankruptcy and Estate Planning. Marlene is a registered counselor with the California Department of Aging and assists seniors through the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.