Monday, February 22, 2010

A Law School Graduate Is Forced, To Become A Lawyer

This story is so damn long, but I loved every minute of it. It's the story of a 28-year old law school graduate whose dreams of an irrelevant desk job in Corporate America were shattered, and instead, he actually found a way to get a client, and be a real lawyer.

I can't wait to read it again, and again.

H/T: Walter Olson

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.


1 comment:

David Fuller said...

Far be it for me to rain on someone else's parade, but I will. I'm a bankruptcy lawyer and there were a few things that troubled me about this or sounded a little off.

1) He's using a bankruptcy petition preparer (the legal term for this paralegal) to draft a petition. Lawyer's sign petitions pursuant to a statement lifted from Rule 11. If you try to get around this by using a paralegal, a bankruptcy judge and the US Trustee will go ballistic. People have tried it before. Did he or the petition preparer, give the debtors all of the required disclosures. Finally, who was going to draft the chapter 13 plan? A petition preparer isn't allowed to do it, the plan must be filed with the case to get the first payment in on time and to comply with most local rules.
2) Bankruptcy petition preparers are terrible at what they do. There' a reason the BK Code regulates them so heavily. I know that he didn't file a BK, but was he absolutely sure of what was on that petition. When a debtor goes into bankruptcy, they are opening themselves up to stiff civil and criminal liability if they make a knowing false statement on the petition.
3) What was the bank so worried about anyway? Bankruptcy judges in most districts aren't voiding liens based on TILA or RESPA issues. Filing a bankruptcy delays foreclosure, but banks don't care because they can get relief from stay in a few weeks and then foreclose. Happens all the time. When I was first in practice, I threatened a few banks with bankruptcy filings and their response was to give me an address and fax number for the notice of filing.
4) The Big One his client likely committed a state or federal crime by stating his income at $26,000 a month. Most home mortgages were federally back, which means that you sign a statement that everything is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, under penalty of perjury. This gives the bank a great in in pari delicto defense to any adversary proceeding and grounds for a bad faith filing counterclaim. Have fun explaining to your client how it's going to cost them upwards of $10k to fight an adversary proceeding that may or may not go their way. With a stated income loan and a client admitting to falsifying loan documents, better to just let the house go than to start a fight with someone who has far more at stake and far more resources.
5) Based on my own experience and the experience of friends in the debtor's bar, banks don't deal on these mortgages. Their response almost universally is that since I can't force them to modify under 11 U.S.C. 1322(b)(2), they won't modify. I've pushed them on TILA and RESPA issues and they usually respond with something along the lines of "sue me," because they know my client is too broke to fund a lawsuit.

Just my two cents as a bankruptcy lawyer who started his own practice on purpose and never felt entitled to a cushy corporate job.