Member Profile: Getting to Know Joann Needleman

Welcome to a new regular feature on The collections and debt-buying industries are tight-knit communities, but there is a lot that we do not know about each other. To rectify that, we will be posting profiles of members on a regular basis. If you are interested in being profiled, please contact me via email.


Joann Needleman


Clark Hill, PLC

Length of time at current company

I have been at Clark Hill for three months. Prior to that I was Vice President at Maurice & Needleman, P.C.

Length of time in industry

22 years

How did you get your start in the industry?

Really by accident. When I got out of law school I worked for my father who was a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. A friend of a friend had a commercial matter with a leasing company so he threw it to me to handle. From that one case the leasing company started sending me all their business in Pennsylvania.

What is your career highlight so far?

I had two pretty close together. Being President of NARCA and being appointed to the CFPB Consumer Advisory Board.

Which industry professional do you admire most?

There have been so many, but I have to say as a group, the NARCA Past Presidents have been the most influential over my career. I have gotten to know each one very well and they have all guided and advised me not only on how to be a leader but also how to be a good lawyer.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?

Cut to the chase.

What do you like most about this industry?

The camaraderie and the professionalism.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?

The passiveness. We are all too quick to roll over and not fight the good fight. I think is why the industry is not respected.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?

Traveling a lot more and having a home base in Park City, Utah. Probably open a small restaurant

Describe a typical work day

It’s very long. I take the train into work which allows me time to catch up on my Google Alerts with the latest updates on the industry and case law. From the time I get to my office until the end of the day, I am meeting with my practice group members to going over current assignments and well as identify areas where we see issues that may impact our clients. This also includes working on our active litigation matters. I read a lot during the day from examination manuals, CFPB press releases about current enforcement actions, and any other industry news across several different markets from debt collection, student loans, auto, medical and mortgage servicing. I field a lot of inquiries during the day from my firm colleagues as well as other potential clients who are concerned about the reach of the CFPB. I write for my firm’s blog several times a week as well as when asked to contribute to other trade publications.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Candy Crush.. it clears my head.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?


Probably from my father who was also a lawyer. He said that the client always comes first but be the first to fire the client if the client doesn’t put you first.

What are you currently reading?

I wish I good read for fun but I don’t. I am reading whatever is on my phone, from Twitter to Flipboard.

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?

I am a straight shooter and I speak the truth. I have no time for disingenuous people.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

John Bedard, Ron Canter

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