Here's a sign of the times: a contest you can win that will offer you not a trip to Disney World, or a bunch of money, but instead, something we really need: free legal help to assist people in rebuilding their credit.
(OK, most sane people would choose the trip to Disney World and a bunch of money, as I'm sure the guy offering this contest would... still, it is something a lot of us can use.)
John Amorison is an attorney based in Woodbridge, NJ, who, to quote his blog, Legal Speak with John, "runs a full-service law firm -- divorce, litigation and business contracts, credit repair, debt consolidation and negotiation."
His contest, the "Back on Track Credit Repair Contest," is running throughout October, from the first to 31st. Anyone who wants to participate should send an essay, of no longer than 500 words, to CreditRepairEssay@yahoo.com. Amorison asks for people to be specific, why they deserve the help, but not to include personal information like account numbers or social security numbers. And you should check out the guidelines that contest rules that he has at his blog. For instance, if you participate in the contest, you'll be put on his mailing list.
Whoever wins -- and the contest is open to anyone in all 50 states and D.C. residents -- receives $1,000 worth of consultation -- so it seems significant, although not infinitely open-ended.
And, sure, it's obviously a gimmick to bring in clients and publicity (you can check him out announcing his contest on YouTube.com), but, hey, anything free is nice, and Amorison certainly has his pulse on the mood of the nation.
Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
Timely contest: lawyer offering free legal help to repair credit