HI! I’M NATALIE JEAN-BAPTISTE.
I work with young professionals to manage their student loan debt so that they can have the freedom & peace of mind to live the life of their dreams.
When I graduated from law school with a six-figure student loan debt, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to pay it back. I just knew I was going to be a hot shot entertainment attorney and pay it off in no time. I dreamed of red carpet events, Grammy parties and hanging with my clients at Diddy’s house in the Hamptons. You couldn’t tell me nothing! (*Kanye voice*) I never ever dreamed I’d end up in bankruptcy court, let alone become an expert on bankruptcy and student loan law and start a student loan counseling service but that’s exactly what happened.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an attorney. I remember watching The Cosby Show thinking “I’m gonna be just like Claire Huxtable when I grow up”. After getting my Bachelor’s in Communications, I enrolled in law school determined to achieve the goal I’d set for myself before I knew what a FAFSA Form or a promissory note was. My folks were hardworking middle class people. I didn’t have a college fund or a trust fund put away for me. I had to borrow money to pay for my education and I didn’t think twice about it because I had been conditioned to believe that taking out loans to pay for school is not a bad thing, it’s “good debt” I was told. I learned the hard way that there’s no such thing.
Because the field of entertainment law is super competitive, I accepted quasi-legal positions right out of law school in order to get my foot in the door in hopes that I would move up the ranks and earn the high salary that I expected after having graduated from law school and passing the bar exam. After nearly a decade of “paying my dues”, struggling with my finances and facing serious health challenges, it was time to take drastic measures. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I needed a fresh start. Bankruptcy was my answer. I filed for bankruptcy pro se, not because I had any experience in bankruptcy law (I didn’t even take one bankruptcy class in law school) but because I simply couldn’t afford to hire an attorney. I gave myself a crash course in bankruptcy law, reading everything I could get my hands on and attending CLE (Continuing Legal Education) courses on the subject. During the course of my studies I learned about the undue hardship exception for student loans and became even more determined to get my consumer debt and student loan debt discharged.
I filed my Chapter 7 Petition and commenced an adversary proceeding to have my $200,000 student loan declared dischargeable under the undue hardship exception of the Bankruptcy Code. Only then did I learn about the variety of repayment options and forgiveness programs that are available to student loan borrowers who are struggling with their debt. The debt collectors certainly never breathed a word of it to me. The general discharge was granted in my Chapter 7 case but the adversary proceeding is still pending in the Eastern District of New York. I am preparing for trial as we speak. While going through my battle, I developed a passion to help other people struggling with debt. I started my own practice where I specialize in bankruptcy and consumer rights and a student loan counseling service to assist student loan borrowers nationwide in finding the best solution for managing their debt.
I believe you shouldn’t have to end up in bankruptcy court to learn what your options are with respect to your student loan debt. My mission is to empower you with the information and tools you need to get a handle on your student loan debt so that you can have the freedom and peace of mind to live a life you love! Education should not be a debt sentence. I wish you health. I wish you love. I wish you prosperity. I wish you peace.
After filing her own Chapter 7 Petition and adversary proceeding to have her student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy, Natalie Jean-Baptiste developed a passion for helping other student loan borrowers deal with legal and financial issues. With student loan debt topping $1.2 trillion in this country and many of those loans in default, Natalie realizes that student loan debtors could use some help finding solutions so she started her own practice and founded a student loan counseling service to assist borrowers in getting a handle on their student loan debt.
Prior to launching her own bankruptcy practice and student loan counseling service, Natalie worked for many years in the music industry. She held positions such as Copyright Coordinator at J Records and Royalty Analyst at EMI Music before landing a position as Director of Legal & Business Affairs at Renegade Nation, an indie multimedia company headed by Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Natalie earned her Juris Doctorate from New York Law School in 2004. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications & Media Studies from Fordham University. Natalie also attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she became a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Natalie is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York and U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. Natalie is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute as well as the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Natalie is a health & freedom enthusiast who advocates for her clients’ physical, financial & emotional well-being. She loves Thai food, 80s pop culture and all things natural & eco-friendly. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys planning fabulous parties and wellness events, traveling the world and hanging out with her nephews Brendan & Jordan.