Photo by Fred Pollard
John Sholar has been helping members in the community with financial hardships through his bankruptcy law office for the last 10 years. Sholar, who was born and raised in the area, says helping people is gratifying and helps to create a better Alton.
ALTON – One thing for which attorney John Sholar will never be known is being a divorce lawyer’s best friend.
“A large percentage of marital problems stem from financial problems,” Sholar said. “If I can help with the financial stress, then maybe it can save a marriage, as well.”
Sholar opened his bankruptcy practice in Alton in August 2003.
“Being a bankruptcy attorney is a chance to help people, and that is very gratifying,” he said. “Sometimes filing bankruptcy can be a bitter pill to swallow, but the result is a much more financially secure life.”
A visit to Sholar’s office can easily put an anxious client more at ease. He carefully considers options, bankruptcy and otherwise, in a way people can easily understand. A second computer monitor near the client’s chair ensures they can easily see any charts and numbers Sholar is using.
The attorney welcomes questions and says a client has nothing to lose to explore their options.
“If you are having financial problems, it costs nothing for a phone call and a consultation here,” he said.
His dedication to the community stems from a loyalty to his hometown. Sholar’s family has lived in the Alton area for generations, and Fast Eddie’s Bon Air (operated by his brother, Eddie) and Fast Eddie’s Fried Chicken (operated by his sister, Kathy) are among the family businesses. He and his wife of 34 years, Shannon, also have raised their family here, including sons (John Jr. and Andrew) and grandchildren (Nikhil, Adelynn, and Vivian).
“My mom grew up on Seventh Street, and worked at the old Walnut Grove Dairy before there was even a Homer Adams Parkway here,” he recalls. “Every one of us boys worked at Pearl Market. I worked my way up from bottle boy to meat counter boy to bagger.”
At the age of 17, Sholar joined the navy, retiring 20 years later as a steam propulsion engineer. He then decided to attend law school, and enrolled at SIU Carbondale.
“I moved my family (wife, Shannon and sons, John Jr. and Andrew) from Virginia Beach, where my sons could ride their bikes five minutes and be on the beach, to Murphysboro, Ill.,” he said. “It was always in the back of my mind to become a lawyer, and I thought it would make an interesting career.”
His career has helped many through the strain of debt and loss.
“If you have credit card debt that is growing, and you are robbing Peter to pay Paul, then you are in a downward spiral that a bankruptcy can stop,” Sholar said. “A Chapter 7 (bankruptcy) can be relatively short, like three or four months. A Chapter 13 (bankruptcy) is more long-term and is for when you may have had a run of bad luck like injury, and you are behind on your mortgage, your car payments, your credit card debt.
“If you are being threatened with foreclosure and repossession, there are things we can do to help you dig out of the hole and negotiate those late fees and interest charges.
“There are many people who would benefit from filing a Chapter 13 and may not even realize it.”
For more information, contact John Sholar at (618) 465-6010 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.