Getting a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer is a Process

There are many good lawyers in all States. However most lawyers refuse to take engagements for foreclosure defense. They can be convinced otherwise if they receive a summary of the case that enables them to assess the likelihood of success and if they are convinced that they will receive full payment for their services. I do the preliminary work that enables a lawyer to assess each case to determine whether they want to accept the engagement.

Spoiler alert: lawyers are least likely to accept engagements if the case has (a) already been litigated and/or (b) if there have been multiple previous attorneys.

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I do have a list of lawyers, but I do not know which ones are still active in representing homeowners. You need to look for an attorney with good trial experience. They don’t need to be knowledgeable about securitization or even foreclosures. But most lawyers are unwilling to do the research necessary to plan out a defense that has a likelihood of success — especially if they’re not paid to do so.

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So what happens is that homeowners come in to see a lawyer with only half the information they need, along with some theories off the internet and hope that the lawyer will “take a shot.” This brings into high relief the inequality or “asymmetry” of expectations. The homeowner wants a magic bullet and the lawyer knows there is no such thing. The prospective client is rarely able or willing to pay for the research and analysis that is necessary for the lawyer to determine if he or she wants to take the case. (The homeowner “expects” the lawyer to do all that work without payment).
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So the lawyer rejects the engagement right at the beginning and then people come to me asking for lawyers who “get it” or other good lawyers who will take their case. I have at times provided specific recommendations but that does not really address the problem presenting the homeowner, to wit: having a lawyer accept the engagement.
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The end result is that most cases either go uncontested, adding to the pile of cases supporting the myth that the cases are unwinnable. Or, the homeowner tries to go it alone,  and they are frequently outflanked by law firms (“foreclosure mills”) who know the laws of procedure and evidence and run rings around the homeowner even though there is no real claim and frequently no real claimant. Both add to the illusion that the case result is inevitable. It isn’t.
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The fact that there is no real claim and even that there is no real claimant is not going to produce a win for the homeowner unless the homeowner is represented by someone who knows trial law, and is being paid to do all the work including the critical phase of motion practice and discovery.
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This can get expensive and homeowners often determine that “it isn’t worth it.” That is a personal decision but I fear that many who make it are not seeing clearly. The home is probably the biggest investment of their lives and there is a clear opportunity to retain it and repel attacks on it by lawyers representing fictitious clients with fictitious claims.
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Despite the wrongful nature of most foreclosure claims there is absolutely no guarantees of success and even less so if homeowners wait until the process is nearly complete before engaging counsel. Although I have not studied it scientifically my anecdotal observations of thousands of cases, defense strategies and tactics undertaken at the beginning of any foreclosure, if pursued vigorously and persistently, produce a win rate of over 65% even with judges who ordinarily rule for the foreclosure mills. 

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There are very few lawyers who have the time or inclination to pursue the subject academically like I do. So I support my efforts by preparing a case analysis for each case that highlights the strongest possible defense strategies from which the prospective lawyer can choose for the thrust of the actual defense. A lawyer can the scan the analysis in minutes without charging a prospective client and then decide whether he or she should accept the engagement. All other methods of finding lawyers are at best hit and miss.
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This often conflicts with another expectation of prospective clients. They expect me to produce a magic bullet that will end their distress. There is no such thing. Winning means fighting it out on the battlefield of the courtroom — not merely producing a report or statement that in your mind ends the matter. I can prepare the battle plan but I do not engage in battle anymore except in rare cases.
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Bottom Line: if you are not willing and able to fight for it, it isn’t going to happen.

One Response

  1. Correct Neil. Absolutely. And the problem is – by the time the borrower defaults — the loan was already in “default” to investors” before borrower or investors ever knew. “Fixing” becomes nearly impossible.

    How do we pay for that “fixing?” Neil – you have been there to hold all alive. Please do not give up. You are correct – at every angle. Need to coordinate it. This is NEVER an INDIVIDUAL issue.

    We will get this to history. But people have to be willing to come forward, to stand up to it, stand together, and find attorneys who are willing to come up to the plate. I see people like Summer – going full force, and that is what we need. We need people to do the research – and bring it to attorneys. Way over the heads of most – unless you have the research. Most don’t. No one can pay 500 or 600 an hour — for no PROOF. They know something is wrong, but can’t rely on attorney to do the research. AND – you need to go back to prior transactions for research. All should be available at fingertips but it is not – not happening.

    Yet, we can never return to the days of financial crisis fraud. We must go forward, and make sure all is presented, and all monies accounted for. Cannot let the Pelosis’ hand on a silver platter to a begged knee. Cannot let Trump return to the fraud.

    We must continue. We must, at very least, fight for dignity, if not even the home. It is a mission (Thank you Christine – long ago poster here and now friend).

    It is not just about each individual here. It is far more. We are the victims. Need to join together. And, I thank you Neil, over and over, for keeping alive.

    Please Neil – don’t ever stop. Let the people first join together, and then do your stuff. Technically – I don’t know how to join — but someone else here should be able to do – and know where to go. I am ready to help. You will make history. Join the people together.

    Thank you.

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