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Michael Eliot Zapin

Chapter 7 bankruptcy Attorney at Boca Raton, FL

5.0   3 reviews

also known as The Bankrupter

  • State Years
    Florida - FL 16 years
    New York - NY 32 years
  • Licensed for 16 years
    State FL
    Acquired 2007
    Member in Good Standing Lawyer disciplined by state licensing authority in 2021
  • Licensed for 32 years
    State NY
    Acquired 1992
    Currently Registered

About Michael

Learn Michael’s areas of practice.

you can take the boy out of Brooklyn… “

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Canarsie. My parents must have just thrown a dart. There wasn’t much going on there in the early ’60s. But by the mid-’70s, I was a kid coming into my own, and I felt like the neighborhood was sprouting right along with me. Mostly a mix of secular Jews and Italian Catholics.

I had a lot of passion for music and still do. I performed it, listened to it and wrote it. You’d be surprised at all the interesting parallels there are between music and the law. There’s a certain ebb and flow to both.

Almost all of it (the good stuff) was within walking distance. There’s a reason diehard New Yorkers will look to pick a fight with you if you say anything bad about their pizza or bagels.

Here’s a hint for any of you transplanted Floridians like me: it ain’t a real bagel store if your bagel is coming to you toasted by default (i.e., without you requesting it to be toasted). It’s the dirty little secret of Einstein Bagels and of course Dunkin Donuts. Toasting makes all bagels -both good and bad – taste almost identical. Sadly, there is no such thing as a Florida bagel. Call those things something else. When you really want a genuine bagel or some serious pizza, you go to Brooklyn or Staten Island (which is basically Brooklyn).

I gave up my lower Manhattan law office at 305 Broadway, shortly after September 11, 2001. I was there when it all came down, but luckily not in the immediate zone of death or disability. I was a few blocks south, near the ferry terminal.

I went home on the Staten Island Ferry, covered in powdery-gray ash. Two large plumes of smoke billowing up from where the Towers stood only an hour or so earlier. Among other things that ended on that day, so did my ten years of working in Manhattan. It was enough. Instead, I opened a law office in the heart of Heartland Village, Staten Island, five minutes from my home, and often rode my bicycle to work.

Creature of habit that I was (and still am), I could have lived out my days in Heartland Village, in the semi-detached home conjoined with that of my neighbors, Dave and Anna. However, my wife (at the time) craved the greener pastures, warmer weather and unusually sunny skies of South Florida. Now? I’m a crusty, cantankerous white-haired lawyer, unwilling to bend. But back then? I aimed to please. We sold the house, packed up the kids and moved to Boca Raton, where I’m told most suburbanites go, to ultimately divorce. That certainly would have been a valuable piece of information to have had, back then!

My law office in Florida opened around the end of 2006, roughly, the time when the real estate market was just beginning to sink before the big crash in 2008. I was a consumer bankruptcy practitioner and was convinced that nearly 1/2 of the entire population that had anything to do with real estate (real estate agents, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, investors, developers, even real estate lawyers), came to me for at least a consultation, if not for an actual “fresh start” through bankruptcy.

Most of my fellow bankruptcy practitioners were experiencing the same kind of boom. “You must be busy,” folks would snidely opine. Yes, we were.

They say “Florida is the only state of the union where you need to go North to get to the South,” and I believe it’s true. I don’t think I’ve met too many native Floridians. I sure have met a lot of New Yorkers.

I’ve planted seeds here in Florida. Raised three kids for the second half of their tender years (tweens/teens).

I’ve helped a lot of good people in the twenty-something years that I’ve been practicing law, but as cliche as it sounds, it’s the kids that will be my legacy. The kids and maybe a few other things that are still in development. I’m finally at that age when I can start to say “I’ve lived a life.” There are lots of reasons why you would want a lawyer that has done just that.

Hindsight is 20-20 but you don’t get the benefit of hindsight until you’ve done some forward-moving and some forward-thinking.

I handle lots of different cases. I tend to gravitate towards the areas of consumer bankruptcy, civil (commercial) litigation and real estate. But I’ve also handled family law cases, personal injury claims, civil rights cases, and landlord-tenant law.

Some have spoken critically of me for not having done a better job of “following the money” in terms of the cases I choose. I’m a better lawyer than businessman. Perhaps that’s why I have a small law firm. The upside for you is that the service I provide is highly personalized. It’s mostly if not entirely me, but for one or two able-bodied assistants that pitch in. I’m interested mostly in interesting cases and in helping people. The “helping” is part of the legacy. A wise person once said, “if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.” I won’t take on a case if I don’t have the experience to handle it. I might co-counsel it with another lawyer or refer you to more capable hands, if they aren’t mine. That’s the part of being a “better lawyer than businessman” I was talking about.

Be sure to ask me about some of my most interesting cases. Who knows? Maybe yours will be one of them.

Phone: State Rd. 7, Suite 400
Boca Raton, FL 33428

Disclaimer: The Law Offices of Michael E. Zapin is a debt relief agency and we help our clients file for bankruptcy relief.
Copyright © 2009 - 2021 The Bankrupter. All Rights by 79Xperts

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The Bankrupter - Law Offices of Michael E. Zapin
20283 STATE ROAD 7
STE 400
Boca Raton, FL, 33498

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5.0 / 5.0
  3 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Robert | March 24, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Michael is a great lawyer. We had a very sticky and complex bankruptcy and he handled it with the utmost care and concern and respect that we could ask for. When he walked in the courtroom he was the only lawyer with a happy face on him that made a big difference which made us very comfortable at that time Due to the sticky situation Tried to purchase a home if it was it for Michaels expertise, our loan would have been turned down. Because he was so specific and what he did it allowed us to purchase a new home Which we never thought we could ever do again Thanks again to Michael Zapin A great lawyer
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Posted by Alex | January 28, 2011
Lookout "Lone Ranger" here comes "The Bankrupter"
I was referred to Mr. Zapin from a friend that had used him. I had several properties that were like a noose around my neck and accumulated a large amount of credit card debt trying to stay afloat. Mr. Zapin spent about an hour during a free consultation. Though I didn't sign up right away, I continued to email him with additional questions and he was very responsive and giving of us time. When I finally decided to pull the trigger and file, he was extremely supportive, knowledgeable and made the process relatively painless. He was able to pretty much predict how my hearing was going to go and I felt very prepared for it. I received a bankruptcy discharge and was finally able to move on with my life without the fear of looking over my shoulder. His sense of humor helped me to get through a very turbulent time in my life.
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Posted by Gene | January 16, 2010
Professional, courteous, effective and reasonable!
I was very depressed with my financial situation after having come out from a divorce. I thought bankruptcy was going to finish me. Boy was I wrong! Mr. Zapin spent a significant amount of time explaining the process to me, spoke about what I could achieve through the process and very accurately predicted the issues I would face in my case. My expectations were far exceeded by the quality of representation I received and the fresh start I got as a result.
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AVVO RATING 3.8 (Caution)

Professional misconduct

This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2021.

Admonishment issued in FL, 2021
updated on 06/30/2022

An admonition means an attorney did something wrong but may still practice law. The Bar gives the lawyer an admonition in hopes that he or she will not repeat the behavior.


  • New York Law School
  • law
  • 1991

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Barry Michaels vs. Loretta Lynch, Attorney General (suceeded by Jefferson B. Sessions, succeeded by Matthew Whittaker)
  • Writ of Certiorari and Motion to Substitute Rod Rosentein as Acting A.G. denied by SCOTUS
  • Zeer v. Azulay
  • The appellate court upheld the original judgment on the first damages provision but reversed the amended judgment without prejudice to commence a plenary action to obtain damages on the second provision.


  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorn
  • Member
  • 2019 - Present

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