TX: Settling w/ Law Firm CA before Law Suit is Filed

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Question: Can I call them to start the conversation and indicate that I want to settle?  Understanding that all must be in writing from them before payment/etc.

Texas resident. I am trying to figure out my best next steps. I have two accounts in collections from 2013/14 when I was unemployed. I let my fear and shame rule me, so I did not talk to my creditors at the time, and have since then been at a complete loss as to how to proceed. I am now determined to get ahead of these.

My finances are now back to where I can make payments and can Dave Ramsey-style pay off all my credit card debt.

I received a letter from a collections attorney firm last week that states a Notice of Intent to File Civil Law Suit for the $5000 debt.  I called the OC and they confirmed the amount and that the debt had been charged off and the phone number for the new contact person matches the number in the letter. 

I see conflicting information here in the forums re: whether or not calling the CA is appropriate. I understand not making payment or trusting a deal until it's in writing. 

But my first priority is preventing a law suit.  I do not deny the debt to the original creditor. I cannot afford an attorney to represent me in court. I would rather settle this before it gets to that stage.

Can I call them to start the conversation and indicate that I want to settle? 

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