Recently viewing some blogs and websites of other lawyers I find a common trend. Many lawyers bash the general lawyer pool stating that “only they fight for real justice and don’t just delay cases.”
Well, they may take cases to trial, true. They may win an EXTREMELY high number of foreclosure cases; high being 2-5% foreclosure defense trial wins out of their caseload of typically 50-100 or many hundreds of cases as that is extremely high for foreclosure defense. But they don’t tell you that fact of the true number of wins. You only see them blog about their win; not the 50 losses in between each win.
Even worse is these misrepresentations do not make the public aware that even winning at trial is rarely a win in the foreclosure context. 99.99% of foreclosures are dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the bank can simply re-file. And with the impending Bartram decision at the Florida Supreme Court pending an opinion where the current case law is that each new defaulted monthly payment is a new default the bank can foreclose on the bank can always come back after the borrower; and the Florida Supreme Court likely to uphold this But these lawyers don’t tell you that part.
So what makes these “special” lawyers services who take cases to trial any better? Ultimately are they not just doing exactly what they preach against; delay the foreclosure? If the bank is simply free to re-file the case even upon a trial win, is that not just delaying the inevitable just as they bash other lawyers for doing (foreclosure delay not defense)?
And what about all of the additional legal fees you charge to do depositions of the bank witnesses, costs to fly them in, costs to do a trial, and the dozens of extra hours to do a trial? Not disclosed of course that they billed their client an extra, for rough example, $10,000 additional just to get a “win” which the bank can turn around and re-file 2 months later simply by sending another default letter and filing a new lawsuit.
Was that $10k extra worth the extra 2-3 months, or as a homeowner would you rather be a few thousand bucks in and have a favorable loan modification at a low/reasonable interest rate and affordable payment so you can keep your home without worries of who is going to knock on the door? I’d bet on the latter 9 times out of 10.
Shame on you legal community for not being up front with your clients and the false advertising you have on your websites trying to make yourself sound better than the other foreclosure defense lawyers out there. The Florida Bar should outlaw this practice of colleague bashing practice in advertising to the public. Sure, there are scams out there and some terrible lawyers who shouldn’t be practicing law at all, but the vast majority of the “regulars” you see at the courthouse in foreclosure court know the case law (and keep up current on it) and how to properly defend a foreclosure case.
And other times a normal person cannot afford to pay a lawyer $10-20k to defend a foreclosure case as if they had that kind of money they wouldn’t be in foreclosure to begin with. So this bashing by the so-called foreclosure “elite” lawyers means nothing if they serve the more financially blessed people out there able to afford to fight a case fully and completely.
Our office has a high level of satisfied clients overall because we focus on getting the client a favorable loan modification to keep their home, not trying to spend our clients’ money on depositions and dozens of additional hours of legal fees (remember, trial isn’t free!!!). When a client simply cannot afford their property, we are realistic with them about short sale and bankruptcy options. Being up front and honest with your clients and potential clients is something that has seemingly passed by some of these “big shot foreclosure lawyers” you read about in the news and made their names on the backs of their clients’ tens of thousands of dollars and lost homes along the way. I would rather have 10 satisfied clients who kept their homes than my name in the paper or on the news in some narcissistic fashion.
As I have said in the past, try to understand early on what your lawyer’s motivation is- is it to truly help you save your house, or is it to get a published appellate decision or his/her name in the newspaper or on TV at your (large) expense and potentially you losing your house eventually?