Getting to Know Jeff Berenholz of Arcadia Recovery Bureau

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Arbeit. Arbeit is a powerful, and easy to use communications platform that empowers businesses to reach more consumers. Innovative by nature, we are constantly listening to and understanding the businesses we partner with and developing long term industry relationships that allow us to be proactive in anticipating industry needs.

The collections industry has Jeff Berenholz’s grandmother to thank for helping him find his way into our lives. Without her, he might be Dr. Jeff Berenholz, psychologist. Read on to learn more about Jeff, what it’s like to take care of four teenagers, and why buying scuba gear is just as much fun as using it.

Name: Jeff Berenholz, or formally as Jeffery S. Berenholz
Company: Arcadia Recovery Bureau, LLC
Job Title: Chief Legal and Compliance Officer
Length of time at current position: Two years
Length of time in industry: 22 years

How did you get your start in the industry?
I think that like a lot of people in our industry, I fell into it. Right after law school, I moved to Cleveland from New York to be closer to my wife’s family, and a friend got me an interview with a local collection firm. I was fortunate to get a job as a new attorney “from out of town.”

What is your career highlight so far?
Actually giving advice to a client NOT to respond to a judgment that was appealed. I won a bench trial on a collection matter against a company that hired a decent sized law firm. They appealed on a technicality and I told my client it wasn’t worth it for them to have me represent them on an hourly basis to defend the appeal, because if we won, our judgment would be valid, and if we lost, we would be back at trial in front of the same judge who would almost certainly just fix the technical error and issue us the judgment. Turns out the debtor lost his appeal even though we did not file any opposition. It was a great win to both save my client on legal fees and then collect in full from the debtor.

When or how are you most productive?
Definitely in the mornings for normal routines, but the day tends to get bogged down with email interruptions, phone calls, and putting out fires. Since I work from home full-time, when I have to buckle down to focus on a project, I’ll usually handle it after 8 PM when I’m less likely to get disturbed.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Since I’ve mostly worked in a corporate environment, it would be John Fiumano. As an attorney, there are probably a few people I admire – Manny Newburger for having an amazing ability to think outside the box regarding numerous legal issues; and Barbara Sinsley for just being smart as a whip and at the forefront of industry innovations.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I’m able to keep my emotions in check during stressful situations, and generally remain pretty calm and so that I can compartmentalize the issues and get on with solving problems.

What do you like most about this industry?
The people. Overall, I’ve met some incredible people in the industry who want to run a solid business and treat employees and consumers fairly. As a lawyer, I like the balance of business and law that my role brings.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Update the FDCPA!!!! It’s embarrassing that the laws have not caught up to technology. More needs to be done to be able to communicate with consumers in a convenient fashion, and at the same time reduce the some of the hyper-technical issues that have resulted in so much litigation.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Well, I was a psychology undergrad and was going to get a PhD, until my grandmother said – “How are you going to make any money?” So, I went to law school!

If I wasn’t in the collections industry, I would have tried to get involved in patents, trademarks and copyrights as it’s a fascinating area and I love technology.

Describe a typical work day.
My wife is a nurse and she usually has to be at work at 6:30 AM, so I am the primary caregiver for our four teenagers. I usually check my emails at 7 AM so I know what I’ll be facing for the day. After getting the kids out the door (or now on Zoom school), I work from home so I’m at my desk from 8:30 to 5:30. I’ll then go back at 7:30 and work for another hour cleaning up emails and getting ready for the next day.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Buying scuba diving gear. It’s a great hobby that I don’t get to do often enough but I always want the latest gear. My wife is not so happy about it.

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What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. (Henry Ford)

What are you currently reading?
The Game of Thrones books – I’m on book five, A Dance With Dragons. My wife and I loved the HBO series so I’ve dived into the books.

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
Mostly that I am a nice, honest, hard-working attorney that tries to put the interest of others ahead of myself, so that we can all win together. Sounds corny but it’s true.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Manny Newburger and Barbara Sinsley!

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Arbeit. Arbeit is a powerful, and easy to use communications platform that empowers businesses to reach more consumers. Innovative by nature, we are constantly listening to and understanding the businesses we partner with and developing long term industry relationships that allow us to be proactive in anticipating industry needs.

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