Friday, October 22, 2010

Lawyers Changing Practice Focus To Mortgage Foreclosure Defense

Very interesting article in today’s WSJ about the growing practice area of mortgage foreclosure defense. This is particularly important for New York attorneys since New York is one of 23 states that requires judicial approval for foreclosures. If you are an attorney considering new areas of practice, this could be well worth the read. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer's gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.

Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 when business dropped off at their cleaning company. Eviction might have seemed inevitable when they faced a foreclosure hearing two years later.

But their lawyer, James Kowalski, had the idea of taking a deposition from the signer of the mortgage papers. When a document processor for GMAC Mortgage admitted she routinely signed such papers without being familiar with details of the loans, she was tagged as one of a species now known as robo-signers.

Michael Gaier, an attorney in Philadelphia, switched to foreclosure defense last year after years of representing patients in malpractice suits and consumers who said they had purchased faulty products. His new legal practice "is academically challenging, and I'm hoping it'll be financially rewarding. I'm hoping the banks rewrite the mortgages, cover my fees. That's my end game," said Mr. Gaier.

Mr. Kowalski, the lawyer who in 2006 unearthed a robo-signer before that term was common, said, "I don't think the [mortgage] servicers ever thought that their process was going to see the light of day. It's just that so many of us have taken so many of these so far, that now, in 2010, we finally have some traction."

Read the entire article: click here...

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