Attorney Jeffrey D. Mapes, J.D.
The financial crisis of the past few years has unleashed a staggering number of bankruptcies and foreclosures nationwide, unfortunately Michigan seems to have been at the center of the storm. Families and small businesses all over West Michigan have been hurt, and that is where Jeffrey Mapes steps in.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney and founder of Mapes Law Offices, he is on a mission to help turn people’s financial situations from hopeless to hopeful. This mission is especially difficult given that places like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Holland have been devastated by foreclosures and job losses. Amid the storm, Jeff offers hope and real relief to people struggling, helping them to avoid losses and help themselves into a better financial future.
“I understand and empathize with my clients because I’ve been through tough times. I opened my own office five years ago without any staff, without any clients, and without any money. I had just gotten married and I didn’t know if I would even make enough money at my new office to pay next month’s rent. I know how the fear can paralyze people and cloud their judgment, that is why I love being able to step in, offer advice and help people keep their home, their money, and their sanity.”
“I understand and empathize with my clients because I’ve been through tough times … I knew when I grew up I wanted a career that would allow me to provide for my family, and help others provide for theirs.
Jeffrey’s vision is formed by his own financially precarious childhood in Grand Rapids. “I grew up the poor kid of a single mother who worked two full time jobs in order to put food on the table. We never had much, and I saw the toll the stress took on my mother,” he recalls “I remember learning early on that if I wanted anything I had to earn it, my sister and I had to get jobs to help make ends meet. I knew when I grew up I wanted a career that would allow me to provide for my family, and help others provide for theirs.”
That desire led Jeffrey to Kalamazoo College where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in History, followed by a Juris Doctorate degree with Honors from Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing. The combination of a liberal arts education which stressed the importance of thought, and the business like legal education has helped Jeffrey to fulfill her personal and professional goals. “Kalamazoo College instilled a love of learning in me, this love has made me one of the best bankruptcy attorneys in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo or Holland because I never stop learning and never stop asking questions.”
Jeffrey’s experience and expertise in consumer bankruptcy – specifically chapters 7 and 13 – makes all the difference. “Our firm has shown time and time again that our dedication to the client does not end when their case does. Our job isn’t done until we have done everything possible to help clients lead a financially successful life,” he explains. “I love seeing my clients, but I know I am most successful if I never need to see them again. If my clients exit bankruptcy with a better understanding of their finances, what mistakes they made, and how they can avoid them, then they will be set for a bright future.” In fact Mapes Law Offices requires all clients to undergo credit counseling and financial education courses. “It makes no sense if our clients leave without knowing how to properly budget, or why a high-interest rate is a terrible idea. Even if our clients have questions about budgeting several years after the fact, we will meet with them and go over their budget with them for free, to see how we can help them.
Being a busy bankruptcy lawyer in the worst recession in decades doesn’t leave a lot of free time, but Jeffrey makes sure that he is not so busy making a living that he forgets to make a life. Jeffrey’s hectic schedule doesn’t prevent him from engaging in his eclectic and versatile hobbies including golfing, playing guitar, pistol shooting, and cooking. “I love my job, but on August 17, 2012 I got the best job in the world when I became a father. Hiring my new associate attorney Elizabeth has allowed me to take more time and spend it with my son Isaac and wife Katherine. I think being a father and husband makes me a better attorney because no matter how stressed I am, coming home to a family that loves me allows me to start each day clear of mind and focused.”