Like many, Mitch Williamson did not aspire to a career in the credit and collections industry. But like many, the industry is better off because people like him ended up in it anyway. Read on to learn more about Mitch, how comic books offer him an escape, and what he would change — if he could — about the industry.
Name: Mitch Williamson
Company:Barron & Newburger, P.C.
Length of time at current company: Three years as of April 1
Length of time in industry: Approximately 17 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
It’s kind of a funny story. I was between firms and working out of my house. Then I went and got married and my wife decided it would be better for me to work elsewhere. I sent out resumes and got a call from the largest collection firm in New Jersey (whom I had never heard of as my practice to that time did not involve collections or judgments) and I went up for an interview for the experience. I was subsequently made an offer and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is your career highlight so far?
Limiting it to our space I would say arguing and winning Jensen v Pressler & Pressler in the 3rd Circuit which solidified the materiality requirement for certain types of FDCPA violations.
When or how are you most productive?
My best times are between 11am and 2pm and 10pm and 2am.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
That’s a hard question to answer as there are a large number of people who I have come to value for their insights and support. Certainly Manny [Newburger] is at the top of the list, but rather than leave anyone out, I would say that there are too many to name.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
If there’s an answer to that question it’s for others to answer.
What do you like most about this industry?
The comradery – at every conference and meeting I meet new people and get to spend time with old friends, all within the industry. I still remember the first time I had to reach out to another office where I knew noone to get some information on a case they handled which I thought might help me with something I was working on. Unlike prior experiences before I got in this industry, my call was taken and I got help and told “feel free to reach out if you need anything else.”
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
That we would improve our public relations model. We still are not getting the message out, without the ability to collect past due amounts, people and companies would cease to offer credit and the “least sophisticated consumer” would suffer substantially as a result. While we are getting better, as long as it’s a us vs them situation with the CFPB and consumer advocates we will constantly operate from a siege mentality.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Some other form of complex civil litigation. I did everything else I wanted to do and could do before I went to law school (I am a second career attorney).
Describe a typical work day.
Read the paper, then review email including the trade publications, such as the Mike Gibb’s Daily Digest and Lexis Alerts, then either run to court or work on my various legal matters. The afternoon is when the majority of phone calls are made or taken.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching British TV series and science fiction.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” (told to me by a scoutmaster when I was about 13).
What are you currently reading?
Comic books (it’s a break from case law and helps put it all into perspective).
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m really 6 foot tall and built but I disguise it very well.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?