Catherine Christiansen, Bankruptcy Attorney

Growing up, my mom often had Perry Mason on in the background. Perry won all of his trials, and I must have absorbed more of the show than I realized because I eventually starting holding pretend trials in my own bedroom. I argued to a jury of stuffed animals, and like Perry, I never lost. From that time on, I always assumed I’d eventually become an attorney. 

When I went to college, I studied law at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and never regretted my decision. Today, I am a board certified bankruptcy specialist with over 20 years of experience. I pride myself on taking a collaborative approach with my clients, actively listening to their stories, and providing a safe haven for them to fully express what has happened, where they’re at now, and how they’d like their futures to unfold. I also realize that, as a client, it’s extremely frustrating to not be able to reach your attorney, so I am sure to make myself available as much as humanly possible. Sometimes, I even text my clients in order to get back to them in a more timely manner. 

The fact that I’m a born again Christian only adds to my practice. I truly believe I am working within my purpose, and I never forget that. When I’m driving to work, I put Jesus in the seat next to me, I get there peacefully, and the whole day goes smoothly. I enjoy helping people of all faiths obtain a fresh financial start, and no matter your beliefs, I think you’ll find that my perspective allows me to work with courage and conviction. Even when a case is tough, I am able to remain composed and draw strength from the Lord to carry on, and that’s something my clients truly appreciate. Several of my clients say that from the first time they met me, they felt confidence in my abilities and trusted me to handle their cases well. Again, I wholeheartedly believe this feeling stems from my divine calling to the law.

Hearing a client say I’ve helped them save their life makes it all worth it. 


Two of my most memorable cases involve clients who almost had their lives destroyed due to the actions of others. One was a gentleman in his fifties who went through a divorce. He was a mechanic who lived on very humble means and had trouble opening a bank account and paying his bills after his wife left him. I helped the gentleman file chapter 7 bankruptcy and later discharge it, and he was able to open a 401k and completely change his lifestyle. Another client almost lost her home in the mortgage crisis not long ago. There were many foreclosures at the time and no protection by the Homeowner Bill of Rights or the National Mortgage Settlement Rights like there are today. Yet, I scrambled to find a resolution, and my client was one of the few who was able to catch up on mortgage payments and keep her house. It’s moments like these that keep me coming into the office and the courtroom every day.

Although I stay rather inspired in my work, I often rely on my friends and family to keep me going outside of my firm. My daughter and I like to take a road trip in our old Suburban every year, and she reminds me to find pleasure in the simple things and to not stress about the details. So far, our journeys have introduced us to beautiful hiking, waterfalls, music, and many cultural experiences. I find that these adventures allow me to better understand the varied backgrounds of my many clients. Furthermore, my travels keep my mind fresh and energized so I’m able to focus and work with passion whenever I am back in the office.

Education

  • Am Jur for Community Property
  • Juris Doctor - Western State University, 1995
  • Bachelor of Science in Law - Western State University, 1993

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Board Member - CDCBAA
  • Member - NACBA 
  • Member - California Bankruptcy Forum, Orange County
  • Member - Christian Legal Society

Teaching Experience

  • Platt/Western College of Southern California, 2002-2006
  • Society of Tax Consultants, Southern California Chapters, “Discharging Taxes In Bankruptcy”, 1998-2005

Speaking Engagements 

  • CEB courses for the "Society of Tax Preparers" regarding taxes and bankruptcy 
  • CEB courses for the "Orange County Bankruptcy Form" regarding 523(a)(8) actions in bankruptcy, the U.S. Department of Education's position paper, and tips for consumers