Chad Echols’ career has grown from serving as a young in-house attorney on an agency’s executive management team to handling the compliance and defense for several agencies in North and South Carolina and across the country.
The Echols Firm LLC in Rock Hill, South Carolina, recently celebrated 10 years in business.
“I think the firm’s biggest accomplishment is resolving our clients’ problems effectively and efficiently while also providing solutions that are operationally viable,” said Chad Echols, attorney at law and a member of ACA International’s Attorney State Chair Program and Members Attorney Program.
Echols started in the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry 19 years ago at Williams & Fudge Inc., also in Rock Hill.
He said that experience helped him learn about the ARM industry from inside an agency while also understanding how he wanted to broaden his legal experience.
Echols was general counsel at Williams & Fudge before working at a law firm in Rock Hill for a few years, then branching out on his own.
“One of the greatest things that happened to me was being hired at Williams & Fudge because I sat around the management table and got to really see how a well-run agency works,” Echols said.
Now he almost exclusively focuses on compliance and defense work for the ARM industry.
“One accomplishment in the last 10 years is building a trusted network of attorneys across the U.S. through ACA,” he said. “ACA provides the platform to develop those relationships. It’s not something you can grow over a single year; you need to spend time and get to know people. Interaction with folks and time with people matters. My national clients’ legal interests are better served because of the attorneys I have gotten to know and trust.”
Some of Echols’ mentors over the years include the Williams family from Williams & Fudge, John Bedard at Bedard Law Group, Michael Klutho at Bassford Remele, Robert Perrin, CEO of Williams & Fudge, Mike Frost of Malone Frost Martin PLLC, and Robbie Malone, who was the founding partner of Malone Frost Martin PLLC in Dallas. Malone died in June 2021.
“I feel like Robbie forced, in a good way, the rest of the industry’s attorneys to get more aggressive. Her litigation style altered collection industry defense,” Echols said. “Overall, I think it’s a very collaborative industry. Generally, collection agencies and the attorneys working for them present a unified front to opposing attorneys, regulators, and lawmakers.”
With his firm’s 10-year anniversary milestone, Echols said he continues to focus on being active with ACA through the Attorney State Chair Program and attending conferences. Many of the valuable connections he made early in his career through ACA’s events are still part of his business today.
“ACA has been a real foundation of the law firm,” Echols said. “When industry litigation picked up about 10-12 years ago, networking with ACA helped me develop a robust practice in the Carolinas. I remain thankful for the friendships and colleagues I’ve met through ACA.”
Going forward, Echols and the firm are focused on defending the industry, helping agencies remain compliant in a constantly changing environment, serving the local community, and providing a work-life balance for employees.
Echols was recently interviewed by WHRI in Rock Hill about the firm’s anniversary. Listen to the interview here.
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