Eric Steiner, 37, finds himself more in demand than ever as businesses face the economic pains of the pandemic. Just last week, both Cirque du Soleil and GNC filed for bankruptcy. As a bankruptcy and commercial litigation attorney, Steiner helps business owners in financial distress. He works as the managing member of Steiner Law Group, LLC.
When the Ner Israel graduate is not working, Steiner attends events with the Jewish Bar Association and was on The Associated’s Young Leadership Council. Originally from Detroit, he lives in Pikesville with his boyfriend.
He’s also on a mission to uncover his mom’s real recipe for her matzah ball soup. “It switches every time I ask,” he said.
How do you help clients?
My goal is to assess their needs and how we can help them. No client is the same. Each client gets particular attention for their specific needs.
What do you expect will happen to the economy?
I wish I could predict the future. I think we’re in unprecedented times, uncharted waters. I don’t think this country has seen anything quite like this in 100 years. Things change daily, so to say what would come in the next months? I have no idea. The general consensus is that there will be a tsunami of incoming bankruptcies.
There’s also people who rely on Paycheck Protection Programs, individuals who rely on unemployment benefits, [who] will see those [expire at the end of July]. Moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures will soon be lifted. Without help from the government, both commercial businesses and consumers are struggling.
I believe that the lasting impacts of COVID-19 have not yet been seen. … Business owners are going to be afraid to open up. Even if they do open up, there’s a fear of liability: What if my staff gets sick? And seniors are going to be afraid to be patrons.
Why do you enjoy your practice?
It’s a complex area of law but when I started my firm I had a choice of what I wanted to do. I chose to focus on litigation because I want to help people through difficult times in their life. I don’t think anyone wants to have to hire a lawyer, but I try to make the process [smooth].
Tell us about your side gig.
I’ve been playing for a band since college. I picked up the piano in high school, I taught myself how to play, and then one of my friends, a piano player, suggested I try it out with him. When I tried it, I was offered a gig. I remember my first gig, I was so nervous …. but the band leader believed in me.
My favorite genres of music are jazz, electronic dance music, and classic rock. I love Linkin Park. I also like a Hungarian YouTube piano player, Peter Bence.
What has been helping you push through quarantine?
When the stay-at-home orders started, I looked at it as an opportunity. Everything switched to video chat. So it was an opportunity to build more relationships because I could reach a larger distance without traveling. The same thing with court, a lot of time was freed up because court hearings were postponed or over video chat.
I don’t think anything can replace human contact, [though].
What does your Jewish identity mean to you?
The core values and principles: Being honest, upfront with everybody, that’s very important to me. Trying to help people.
How I run my office, I’m constantly asking for feedback from staff and clients to do a better job. I learn something from everyone so I can improve myself.