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There’s always a plan

For People, Businesses and Attorneys with Clients Facing Hard-To-Resolve Debt, Gregory M. Fitzgerald Says There’s Always A Way.

“Debt relief outside of bankruptcy is actually quite specialized. These are clients and debt types that most lawyers don’t know and frankly, don’t want to know. After all, how are they going to pay any legal fees if they are broke? Isn’t bankruptcy the only option for them? Simply put, bankruptcy does not cover all debts and is not always necessary. I want lawyers to know that we can help those folks,” says Gregory M. Fitzgerald, Esq., Managing Partner at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC.

“We’re a debt relief firm, but we’re much more than just a bankruptcy firm. Our forte, our niche is clients for whom bankruptcy is not an option,” he says. “We call ourselves a Collection Defense Firm and press collectors at every step to prove their claims. Rather than assume amounts are due, we contend they are not due until the judge makes an order otherwise.”

One of the primary missions of the firm is to educate consumers that there are options outside of bankruptcy. Many simply do not qualify for or want, or even need, to file bankruptcy. “We can assist consumers and small businesses with judgments, student loans, garnishments, and other debt-related issues.”

Fitzgerald says, “We actually have many lawyers as clients. A legal education is not cheap. And I’m not just talking about the tuition. Some get into financial difficulties. Doctors and other professionals have school loans in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Let’s not forget the predatory loans and fly by night schools that many young people fall prey to. That’s another class of clients we help every day.”

Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC was founded in 2013 with William James Campbell, Jr. with the goal of becoming California’s premier Collection Defense Firm. The firm currently employs 19 people, including four attorneys.


Fitzgerald says, “My edge is I really like what I do. I care about my clients’ situation. I really want to get them out of debt. I really want to find the plan for them. It can be quite a puzzle, a mosaic really. I love this work because there is a very real and tangible result for the client. A result that has a significant positive financial impact on their family. People are so grateful.” Fitzgerald finds another, personal benefit: these types of case results are much more rewarding that getting the guilty client off or a large award on questionable damages. Understanding that lawyers are advocates, it’s even more rewarding to win, and help someone get back on their feet financially.

Fitzgerald is a very hands-on manager. He tries few cases these days and prefers to focus on the management of the firm. He says, “My partner loves the trial work, while I want to get the word out to as many people as I can and position them in the best possible way for successful debt relief. We try to micromanage the client experience and every process, department and team member has a specific role toward that goal. Given the fees we charge, we must be very efficient, and process driven.”

His management style works well with a business model developed and refined since the firm was founded. The model is simple—provide clients in financial distress with a motivated and experienced attorney who can provide exemplary services for a low monthly fee. The motivation for excellence is obvious— the firm’s fees are usually based upon the results obtained. It’s a contingency hybrid: small monthly fee and a percentage of the savings achieved.

This is what is so unique about the firm: they provide debt relief on a performance-based fee model. From pre-litigation to defense litigation to judgments, the attorneys will accept most cases where the fee is based upon a percentage of what they save the client.

Clients are quick to praise their approach. “I was a victim of fraud, when I received a call from a settlement company that told me that they would help me eliminate all my debt and that they specialized in this process. I listened to this lie and because I was making a choice either pay the bills or buy food at the time. The services of this company and their claims seemed legit so I trusted them to do what they promised me over the phone. I was paying them a substantial amount of money every month to eliminate my debt but after several months of thinking that my debt was being taken care of when out of the blue I was sued by two of the companies that they were supposed to eliminate. I immediately found and hired Fitzgerald & Campbell and what a life-saving move for me and my family. They not only took on my case, but they were able to get every penny this other company scammed out of me. I (sic) just a short amount of time they have already gotten both lawsuits dismissed and one of the two debts settled. They are a legit company that quickly jumped on my problem and are working hard every day in solving my debt issue. They are always in direct communication with me and letting me know each step of the way what they are doing. Thanks to Fitzgerald & Campbell for being there for me and my family.” Ed—11/28/17

“In almost all our cases clients have poor facts, bad law, and little to no money. Most clients admit ‘We owe the money, and we don’t have any money to pay.’ A lot of our clients come to us after they have lost the case already, by default or trial. All are financially distressed. We try to take that and turn it into something positive. And usually, we are successful,” Fitzgerald says.


“I’ve personally been sued by many of the same collection attorneys who are suing my clients—years ago thankfully—so I have personally gone through the fire that they’re going through.” While practicing in Orange County handling criminal defense, PI, and debt cases, he earned enough to purchase an Irish Pub. That decision was a huge mistake that ruined him financially. He was several hundred thousand of dollars in debt and sued many times over—everything from Home Depot to liquor vendors to Federal lawsuits on copyrights for karaoke night. “I crawled out of that and created the business model I use today,” he says.

The desire to be an attorney did not surface early in his life. “Honestly, I never had any dreams or aspirations to become an attorney. I just wanted to see if I could do it. I was a licensed contractor installing wood floors, physically demanding work I knew I could only do for so long. I went to law school at night at a nowhere law school for the cheapest cost I could find. Because of this I knew I would always be self-employed. I’m entrepreneurial and consumer-oriented anyway, so I was destined to hang out my own shingle,” he says.

He started practicing in 1991 and worked for a small criminal/ PI firm in Orange and went out on his own a year later. He was self-employed until 2006 when he went to a national firm that wanted to implement his debt defense/FDCPA (collection harassment) process. Fitzgerald left there to start his current firm in 2013.


Fitzgerald says, “We like to consider ourselves the Public Defender of the Civil law. By that I mean we have financially distressed clients who, for the most part, are ‘guilty’ (they owe the money) and can’t afford a ‘traditional’ lawyer. Or at least the traditional fees. They have legally weak cases and no money. It’s a tough crowd to effectively represent, let alone make a living. One of our biggest challenges is getting consumers to understand that we are affordable and effective. A common lament, while wrong, is pervasive: I owe the money so why spend money on a lawyer when ‘nothing can be done?’ As most lawyers in their respective fields of expertise know, there is a lot that can be done by a skilled, experienced practitioner.”

Fitzgerald & Campbell mostly handle defense work for consumers and small businesses. They do virtually no plaintiff work other than filing harassment lawsuits against collectors. They resolve any type of debt or claim (other that tax). The firm can settle claims before litigation, defend them if sued, resolve judgments/enforcement actions, and bankruptcy. Their core client is one that can’t or won’t file for bankruptcy or where the debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy such as in student loans or fraud judgments.

There are a lot of collection attorneys, but not nearly as many attorneys do collection defense. Even fewer defend judgment enforcement actions like garnishments, levies, attachments, judgment foreclosures, charging orders, and judgment debtor examinations. Fitzgerald’s approach and his intimate knowledge of what his clients are experiencing garners praise from someone who says she went from disbeliever to true believer after contacting the firm.

“Greg has helped us so much with a really bad situation we were in. I can’t even believe I am saying this about an attorney (no offense to attorneys but … ) he is actually caring, helpful, and honest. He spent so much time listening to our circumstances and answering questions before we even retained him. I was so impressed by his knowledge and honesty, and compassion for our dire situation. He does not BS, sugarcoat things, or make false promises, he is the real deal. If you are like me and look at reviews before hiring an attorney, I want you to know there is a reason why he has such great ratings on multiple review platforms which is also why I called him in the first place. Hope this review helps someone find a great attorney when they need one!” –Sierra W. 12/7/17.

“The challenge is making it sustainable financially. After all, we are representing broke people on a contingency basis who are going to pay us later (and typically over a long period of time in small payments). Most lawyers are surprised this can even be done. It does require a significant infrastructure that we have now built. It requires good working relationships with opposing counsel that know we are honest, trustworthy and knowledgeable. It requires a team of dedicated people working hard to benefit our clients. With this all in place, we can do some great things.” Fitzgerald says.


  • Southern California College of Law , 1987 – 1991
  • California Lutheran University, BS in Accounting, 1980 – 1984


  • Google Reviews—Excellent 4.5 Average Rating, March 2018
  • AVVO Rating—Great 7.8 Average Rating, March 2018
  • Yelp Reviewed—Excellent 4.5 Star Average Rating, March 2018
  • BBB A+ Rated, March 2018


  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, 2013 – Present
  • Member, San Bernardino Bar Association, 2013 – Present
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2013 – Present


  • Pets, Golf, Travel
  • Enjoys travel to a different football stadium each year
  • Loves vintage autos and owns a 1969 Cadillac

Gregory Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC
400 N. Tustin Ave., #375
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(855) 709-5788

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