Joseph L. Grima is a bankruptcy attorney dedicated to the practice of bankruptcy law. He gives each one of his clients his personal attention. He is involved in each one of his clients cases, assuring that the client gets the best possible legal representation in as a stress-free an environment as possible.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan. He received his undergraduate degree from Hunter College in New York City, graduating in 1986 with a double major in political science and history. He graduated Cum Laude in three years, instead of the standard four years. He received his legal degree from the University of Detroit in 1989, again graduating in two and a half years instead of the standard three years.
While he was in law school, he was employed as a law clerk with a firm that specialized in personal injury cases. He saw that when a lot of these personal injury cases settled, the clients remained saddled with medical bills that ate into their settlements. He realized that bankruptcy would allow most of these personal injury clients to protect their settlements while eliminating the medical bills. Even though the practice of bankruptcy law was “frowned upon” by the legal profession in the late 1980’s, Mr. Grima decided to become a bankruptcy practitioner.
Six months after being admitted as attorney to the State Bar of Michigan, he founded his own bankruptcy practice, starting out filing Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Within a couple of years, Mr. Grima gained enough experience to start a Chapter 13 bankruptcy practice, which he continues to this day in conjunction with his Chapter 7 practice.
Mr. Grima has been practicing bankruptcy law exclusively since 1991, focusing predominantly on Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization. He has the unique distinction of having written each and every one of the hundreds of Chapter 13 Plans he has filed over the years, refusing to delegate this task to associate attorneys.
He has been invited to speak, and has spoken at bankruptcy seminars as to the state of Chapter 13 law. In addition, he has also been a featured speaker at numerous credit union seminars, always defending the rights of debtors in bankruptcy.
Most recently, Mr. Grima obtained one of the largest settlements in Chapter 13 history for a client whose rights were violated during the course of a Chapter 13 Plan, whereby the creditor bank “sued” the client during the course of the Chapter 13 Plan seeking to make the debt owed to it “non-dischargeable”. Creditor bank did not have a valid claim, but instead was using its financial clout to try and litigate the client into settling. Mr. Grima, not being known in bankruptcy circles as the type who would rather settle a case than fight, literally fought the creditor bank until it had no choice but to concede defeat. It ended up paying the client what was almost a six figure settlement.
Mr. Grima believes that most people end up in bankruptcy through no fault of their own. He sees how lenders literally throw money at people without bothering to see whether they have the ability to repay. He believes that lenders have both a duty and an obligation to make sure that the people they solicit can afford to repay the monies being lent to them. Experience shows that the lenders ignore this duty by freely giving money to individuals who then overborrow and end up in financial difficulty. He constantly lectures his clients not to feel guilty about having to file for bankruptcy. He explains to his clients that the filing of a bankruptcy is a business decision, just as it was a business decision on the lenders part to throw money at the clients. He emphasizes to his clients that they should have no moral qualms about filing for bankruptcy.
When Mr. Grima is not practicing law, he enjoys spending his time outdoors with his family or reading American history.
- J.D., University of Detroit School of Law, 1989
- B.A., Hunter College, 1986; Cum Laude
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
- State of Michigan, 1991
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1991
- United States Court of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit, 2007
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
- State Bar of Michigan, Member Since: 1991
- Federal Bar Association, Member Since: 1991
- Carla Craig-Likely v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 2007
- In 2007 Mr. Grima successfully appealed to the United States District Court to protect a client from “predatory” mortgage practices. Prior to this appeal, mortgage companies regularly ignored the rule of law, saddling debtors with huge unexplained “escrow fees” and then setting up the debtors for foreclosure. Up until Mr. Grima’s appeal, conventional wisdom had been that such an appeal would not succeed. Mr. Grima’s successful appeal set in motion the creation of new rules to protect debtors from such predatory practices. The decision is cited in legal treatises as the seminal case in the field.