Home / Team Members/ Derek (DJ) Soltis, Esq., MBA/MS
DJ SOLTIS New York Lawyer

Derek (DJ) Soltis, Esq., MBA/MS

Bankruptcy Practice Manager - Partner

Why I became a Bankruptcy Attorney focusing on Saving People’s Homes:

Over the years I have helped people save their homes, get loan modifications, fought their cases for years in both state and federal court, helped them cash out the equity in their homes, walked people through bankruptcy, and rebuilding their credit. (A lot of people think that filing for bankruptcy destroys their credit for the rest of their lives, but that is nowhere near true.  We offer a program to people called 7 steps to a 720 Credit Score.” If you want to see an article on Debt Consolidation Versus Debt Negotiation Versus bankruptcy, click here.) I have personal experience with the areas of law my practice focuses on.

In 2005 I fell off a ladder while working as a Branch Manager for Grainger.  I shattered my ankle and broke my leg.  Eight surgeries later over a 7 year period I walk with a limp and take pain medication on a daily basis. (Aleve gets me through the day, but I can still tell you what the weather is going to be like based on the amount of pain in my leg.)

While I was laid up and unable to walk, I was downsized by my company. Nothing like being fired from your job to make you reevaluate your situation. As I always say, “Bad things happen to good people at the worst possible times.”  Grainger was closing branches all across the United States and I was just one of the thousands of people let go.  The one silver lining to the situation was that because of my disability at the time I was able to negotiate a larger severance package than many of the other people from my branch. (So, I have firsthand experience with employment law. Since then I have helped numerous people negotiate severance packages and worked with others on employment discrimination lawsuits.)

Fortunately, I was also in Law School at the time when things started going sideways for me. But unfortunately, after I broke my leg, I was given bad advice by an attorney who happened to be a Personal Injury Attorney and a family friend.  He said that I didn’t have a case.  If I had consulted with any other Personal Injury attorney, I would have been told I was able to sue multiple business entities and would most likely be retired in Florida based on the settlements.  Instead I work to protect other people’s rights and make sure they do not get bad advice from attorneys.   At this time, I have a very personal connection to Personal Injury law and Product Liability law.

While in Law School, I bought a three-family home near my school in an area that was up and coming.  Everything was fine until I moved out. Suddenly rent was coming in late or not at all.  I had 5 evictions in a two year period. Tenants managed to get bed bugs, break into my basement, steal the property I had stored there, use baby wipes instead of toilet paper which clogged the sewer lines multiple times flooding the basement, one tenant harassed the other tenants in the building so that both of the other floors left with no notice, another eviction and three empty apartments later, 2 apartments infested with bed bugs, a flooded basement, and being about 6 months behind on payments to the bank.  The bank moved to foreclose.

The building and tenants had broken my spirit about ever wanting to be a landlord again.  I was now literately laid up with a leg recovering from surgery number 8, trying to secure full-time employment, and had a foreclosure looming over my head.  I considered bankruptcy, debt consolidation, and debt negotiation.  Made my plan and went forward with it.

If you want to know how that worked out I can tell you, but at the end of the day, what was right for me may not be right for you. So, I am not going to give you all the details as everyone needs his or her own plan tailored to his or her situation.

At the end of everything, I was eventually facing a sheriff sale of my property. Fortunately, I was able to get the bank to agree to a short sale by using a realtor and a short sale team that took on the stresses I did not want to deal with.  So, instead of having a foreclosure on my record and facing a possible deficiency judgment that would have followed me for the rest of my life, I worked with investors that were able to beat up the bank and eventually buy the property for a lot less than I originally paid for it.  Originally the bank was asking for $300,000 but the short sale eventually went through at around $180,000.

I lived rent-free while in Law School, learned a lot about landlord-tenant matters, short sales and real estate in general which helped grow my legal practice since I personally went through those issues.  Since then I have seen multiple people in the same situation as I.  Many people have been able to save their homes, others have had sold their homes to take out the equity, others have had a short sale of their homes, and others eventually lost their homes at auction as they did not have the money to save their homes or future income.

Over the years, I have found that I enjoy helping people get out of debt, and save their homes. So 50% of my practice is focused on foreclosure defense and debt relief. Another 25% is dedicated to protecting people’s assets through probate planning or probate work in court.  I do work for some business related to debt collection from other businesses, chapter 11 bankruptcy, and commercial real estate sales.  Another 20% of my work is spread between landlord-tenant, civil suits related to personal injury, and employment law. I rather focus on people than businesses especially when it comes to helping people that find them in a rough spot and their only options are using the court system.

Publications & Appearances

Success after Bankruptcy

Rebuilding your life after Bankruptcy

 

Core Practice Areas:

Free Consultations available for:

Civil Suits, Personal Injury, Product Liability, Employment and Land Lord Tenant Matters including Mitchel-Lama properties in New York City – I rarely take these types of cases, but I am willing to help point you in the right direction.

Education:

JDRutgers Law, Newark NJ

MBA in Management Systems – International Business Designation,  – Fordham University, New York, NY – Honors: Phi Kappa Phi – Collegiate Honor Society (Awarded to top 10% of the class.), Beta Gamma Sigma

MS, Information and Communication Systems – Specialization in System Dynamics Fordham University, New York, NY – Honors: Phi Kappa Phi – Collegiate Honor Society (Awarded to top 10% of the class.), Beta Gamma Sigma

BBA, Computer Information Systems, University of Houston – Downtown Honors:  Cum Laude, Dean’s List 6 semesters, Beta Gamma Sigma – Business Honors Society

Career Previous to Practicing Law:

InternVolunteer Lawyers for Justice, Newark, NJ

Intern Catholic Charities – Immigration, Newark, NJ

E-Discovery – working with clients from the Top 100 Law Firms and Fortune 100 Companies

Manager – W.W. Grainger – Responsible for $18 million in annual sales

Manager – FedEx Kinko’s – Ranked branch 37 out of 1095 for customer service

Volunteer:

Bowery Mission, New York City, NY

American Red Cross, New York City, NY

Street Law Teacher – Alma E. Flag Middle School and Essex County Juvenile Detention Center

Domestic Violence Advocacy Project at the Essex County Court House

Bar Admission & Licenses

Admitted to the New York State Bar

Federal Eastern District of New York

Federal Southern District of New York

Licensed New York Real Estate Broker

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