TLP: You Asked a Lawyer to Help? Sorry, Now You're Really F#&*ed

Sunday, February 14, 2010 , , , 0 Comments

As if it's not bad enough to behind on the mortgage, struggling to pay other bills and dealing with all manner of other bullshit in life, now it seems that people trying to get loan modifications are being taken in by the shysters.

AP via The Washington Post:

Warren Jacobs was desperate when he received a "robo-call" promising to help him stave off foreclosure of his home near Dallas.

The father of six had lost his construction job, lacked health insurance and couldn't pay bills for his 17-year-old daughter's cancer treatment, let alone his mortgage.

So on Jan. 21, he dialed the return number and was connected to the United Law Group. Minutes later Jacobs agreed to scrape together $2,000 to pay the Irvine, Calif. law firm.

He unwittingly became one of the many thousands of homeowners authorities allege have been taken in by unscrupulous or incompetent loan modification attorneys who rushed into a burgeoning legal niche: helping financially struggling homeowners re-negotiate their mortgages.

The problem has gotten so bad that bar associations across the country have taken to warning their member attorneys to behave and obey the law, lest they run afoul of ethics standards. The AP reports that the California Bar is investigation 400 lawyers suspected of making bad situations worse for delinquent borrowers. Fifteen attorneys in California have been suspended or outright gave up their licenses while being probed. As if that wasn't painful enough.

More from The AP:

The first to be charged was Sean Rutledge, founder of the law firm that purported to represent Jacobs and 13 other homeowners. ...
The California Bar formally charged Rutledge in July with not only failing to perform vital tasks to stop foreclosures, but calling his clients "losers" during the rare occasions they could get him to return their telephone calls. ... Rutledge has denied the allegations and said he would contest the state Bar's attempts to disbar him.

The Lazy Paperboy has spent some time in the company of lawyers, even by choice. So he can say from personal experience that not everything you may have heard or believe about them is true. But the kind of devious skulking around in the pain of people already hurting that's alleged here doesn't go too far toward safe-guarding the reputation of the profession.

At least the doctors and dentists who are accused of molesting their patients with the help of the night-night needle, or who describe allegations of boob-fondling as "the broadest scope of treatment" are upfront about things.

The Lazy Paperboy

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.