John: Once again I am here with Model Citizen, Judge, and Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, Alan Schwartz. How are you, Alan?
Alan: Great, thank you John, and you?
John: I am doing well thank you. It has been a beautiful holiday season despite Covid. You and I took some terrific fashion shots this month for the January fashion issue. I dragged you out of your office and into a custom clothier on the North Shore to work with a couple of experts who really know how to style men with the right clothing. What was it like for you to do a fashion shoot?
Alan: It was fabulous, and I had an absolute blast with you, and Rob Bartol and Mark Macaluso, the owners of B2Bespoke Custom Clothier up in Glen Head. And speaking of Harley Davidson enthusiasts, Mark is also one, and we are planning on riding together with our wives this spring, so that was really networking at its finest, not to mention that I now have a new custom clothier to work with.
John: I knew he was a biker too. I was just waiting for him to tell you, which was a very nice connection.
Alan: Not only was it a lot of fun, but it was enlightening because, in just two to three hours of being clothed and changing in and out of three different outfits, I had a first-hand glance at how difficult it must be to be a professional model. Our session was only a small amount of time compared to what the professionals go through, but it gave me an up-close and personal insight as to what they go through. Everybody assumes it’s all glamorous, but very few realize how hard that profession is.
John: It is an extremely challenging job, and you are right, everybody thinks that these actors and models are getting paid a lot of money and it’s so easy because they’re so beautiful or because they photograph well when, in reality, they work really hard. They are dedicated to their craft and are incredibly talented people. As you can see, what we did was a two-hour shoot. Imagine doing that for twelve hours a day for six months for just one campaign or television show or feature film. It’s crazy!
Alan: Of course, much credit goes to you as well, because I have to say that as much fun as it was working on the other side of the camera, I was watching your excitement and enthusiasm with what you every step of the way as well.
John: We were getting great shots and I know you work a lot and are doing so much to help your clients, so it was good to see you smile and having so much fun.
John: So, it’s a new year: 2021. Can you give us some of your wisdom and thoughts on what you think we can expect this year?
Alan: I must tell you that I declared 2020 as my year of positivity, as you will notice and all my social media posts will verify, where there is nothing negative and I adopted the mantra that if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all. Of course, as soon as I did that, Covid hit, so, it’s been a trying experience, to say the least, but I’m enjoying the positive messages and I want to continue to carry this forward into 2021.
I think it is so important to focus on the positive, since there is a very real possibility that we may go into another lock down, and we have to prepare ourselves psychologically and emotionally. Unfortunately, many of the businesses that survived the first lock down, may not be able to survive another, particularly the restaurants, and you know how much Riva and I enjoy dining out. On the other hand, now that we have more than one vaccine being offered, notwithstanding the fact that we are now facing different strains of the virus, I am optimistic as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I have friends who are in the medical profession and first responders, who were among the first to start started getting the vaccinations and, I am pleased to report, all without incident. As a result, there is an air of positivity and a feeling that 2021 is going to obviously be a much better year and less tumultuous one than 2020 has been.
John: Since you spoke of small businesses and the challenges they have been overcoming, the stimulus package just only helped people for a few months, for most of the small businesses and restaurant owners that I have spoken to. What can you do as an attorney to help protect some of these companies from either their landlords or from all of the conflict and financial crises they are experiencing? What can you do if a company is facing a Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy?
Alan: Having been deemed essential in several of the areas in which we practice law from the beginning, we have assisted our clients in dealing with their landlords, and we have been in the office on a daily basis since May. We are all spending a tremendous amount of time doing Zoom, Teams and a wide variety of similar types of virtual webinars, meetings, and conference calls, to constantly stay abreast of the latest information that’s being disseminated, both to professionals as well as te general public and then passing that information along to our clients and business contacts. The information is changing so rapidly, oftentimes on an hourly basis, to the point where we recently participated in a seminar, where the information disseminated was actually outdated in less than twenty-four hours, when a new announcement came out the following morning.
While we had a banner year in 2019, and probably the best in 40 years of practicing law, Covid really hit us hard, like so many others. We are not seeing the volume this year we have grown accustomed to, and everything has to be handled more creatively. On the other hand, this situation has given us more free time to do other things for our clients, our friends, and business contacts, as trusted advisors, to keep them informed and knowledgeable, so they are aware of what is going on and what decisions the need to make.
John: Can you explain to our small business readers what it means to file a Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy?
Alan: While we do have a bankruptcy attorney on staff and he would be better qualified than me to give you the finer points, in broad strokes, a chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of debt, with a trustee appointed for the benefit of creditors, whereas a chapter 11 bankruptcy generally involves a reorganization, with the debtor acting as a trustee for the benefit of creditors.
John: So, it is possible to help small companies stay in business even if there is an insurmountable amount of debt or other financial concerns.
Alan: Absolutely, and the key is to seek the advice of a qualified professional because there are also other forms of bankruptcy besides the two most common ones you asked about. The key is that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.
John: Thank you very much for your wisdom and insight. I know business clients need your kind of expertise. How would they reach you if they need something?
Alan: We can always be reached by telephone, 24/7/365 at (516) 248-6311, with automatic paging 24/7/, if necessary, and I can always be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and, as you know, we really are available 24/7 because my area of concentration is criminal defense, ranging from homicide to white-collar crime down to traffic tickets, these things rarely occur during routine business hours, so we always keep ourselves available for our clients and potential clients, and do some of our best work in the middle of the night and on weekends.
John: Thank you. One last question, do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Alan: At my age, I’ve stopped making New Year’s resolutions because, as much fun as that often is, they never seem to work out for more than one or two months down the line, notwithstanding the best of intentions. I think if I had to say anything, it would be to continue to have a positive attitude, which is the main thing helping me and so many others get through this pandemic. A lot of people were really hit hard by this, and a positive attitude goes a lot further than a negative one, which could put people deep into the throes of depression and poor decision making.
John: Amen to that! Thank you again for your insights and congratulations on being a Model Citizen.
Alan: Thank you so much, John. Be well, be safe and happy holidays!