The Pre-Trial is tomorrow morning?!?!? I don't know how many times I can post this on Avvo before folks start heeding my words. DO NOT GO TO THAT PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE WITHOUT A LAWYER. BUT IF YOU MUST GO WITHOUT A LAWYER, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO ANYBODY OTHER THAN TO TELL THE JUDGE THE FOLLOWING: "Your Honor, may I please have this PTC reset in 10 to 14 days to allow me time to hire a lawyer?" If the judge asks you ANYTHING, including but not limited to "do you owe this debt?", do NOT say ANYTHING other than: "Your Honor, on the advice of counsel I must respectfully decline to respond to your question." Be firm. Don't be intimidated. Then, after you leave court (or today), immediately begin searching for a lawyer to assist you. Try looking at www.NACA.net under the "Find An Attorney" tab. Please do NOT be sweet-talked into settling this case tomorrow by the Portfolio Recovery attorney.
I hope you found my answer helpful. If you did, please click "helpful" and/or "best answer," because doing so helps my Avvo rating. Please also understand that answering this question doesn't make me your lawyer, and my answer is not even an "initial consultation" with me. In answering your question(s), I am merely giving you VERY GENERAL ADVICE based upon your VERY GENERAL QUESTION. If I indicated that you need to see a lawyer personally, then PLEASE DO SO. Good luck to you!
I agree with Attorney Castagliuolo's advice. Follow it exactly.
No information provided in response to these questions can be relied upon in any way without further personally consulting with Attorney Kerrigan and Attorney Kerrigan consulting personally with you regarding your specific legal situation.
The joint Pre-Trial Conference and Mediation is a creature of Summary Claims. It only exists in Summary Claims matters to my knowledge and it is designed to move uncontested cases off the County Court Judges calendar in as expedient a manner possible. Obviously I agree which both attorneys who have already offered you sound advise IF YOU intend to follow through and consult with an attorney. If you do not ask for a continuance AND you dispute that you owe the debt, you will not be sent to the Mediator, the case will be set for a trial and if you intend to hire an attorney you need to tell the Court and ask for trial to be set out far enough to find an attorney and give him time to prepare. If you do not intend to hire an attorney and admit you owe the debt, then you will be sent immediately to a Mediator who will generally mediate some type of short repayment plan. As with any Mediation, it is still voluntary in the since that you do not have to agree to anything in which case it will be returned to the Judge to be set for trial.