Hiring a foreclosure defense lawyer can radically improve your chances of successfully avoiding foreclosure of your home.
Many people decide to deal with their mortgage servicer directly when they are served a notice of foreclosure. Money issues are usually the reason why they don’t use a foreclosure defense lawyer. But, with so much at stake, it’s worth at least having one or two consultations with a foreclosure defense lawyer. Even the initial advice they can give you can be well worth the money.
If you have no idea what you’re doing, we’re here to help today. We’ll walk you through hiring a foreclosure defense lawyer the easy way.
First, though, we’d like to reinforce why it makes sense to seek professional legal advice.
Why Should You Use A Foreclosure Attorney?
People are not often aware of the aggressive and abusive tactics that some mortgage servicers and banks employ to force people out of their homes. Just because they’re putting pressure on you, it may not necessarily mean their actions are lawful.
Lawyers are well versed in foreclosure law. They know the steps and timescales that mortgage servicers must take to stay within the law. If they don’t follow procedures correctly, you potentially have a strong case to have the foreclosure canceled completely.
Foreclosure lawyers are skilled negotiators. They receive training on how to form strategies and effective defense cases. Like gladiators who go to battle, they’ve developed weapons and tactics to defeat their opponent.
As you’re dealing with large sums of money, it’s best to hire a foreclosure defense lawyer to navigate the complicated legal system and deal with these complex issues on your behalf.
When researching for your foreclosure lawyer, bear in mind you want someone who is competent, trustworthy, and who has your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, there are some lawyers out there who are simply out to profit from your misfortune.
You have one shot at winning your foreclosure case, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the best lawyer to represent your case. Today, we’ve rounded up some tips on how to find a good foreclosure defense lawyer.
1) Ask Around For Recommendations
As the first step of your research, ask friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations. A successful foreclosure attorney will have a track record of winning cases.
If you already use a lawyer that you know and trust for other matters, try asking them to refer you to a reputable foreclosure lawyer. They will know who the trusted foreclosure attorneys are in the legal community. But be sure to ask them if they receive any commission for referrals as this may influence their recommendation.
2) Go Online
Visit the website of the American Bar Association [PDF]. The ABA has a database of lawyers that you can search through. Be aware, though, these lawyers are not necessarily vetted.
You could also try a search on the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory. You can search by practice area and location.
3) Make Background Checks
Once you have gathered a few referrals, you need to research each one thoroughly. Before you go ahead and hire an attorney, you’ll want to check that they are in good standing as a bar member.
You can ask each lawyer if they have a Certificate of Good Standing. This certificate confirms that they have paid up their biennial registration fee, that they are registered with the Court of Administration, and most importantly that they haven’t had any disbarments or suspensions.
The Martindale-Hubbell legal directory will show each lawyer’s ratings, which should indicate their reputation. You’ll want a lawyer that is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The AV rating is the highest quality that a lawyer can obtain in terms of quality and ethics. The rating is determined by a survey that is conducted in the legal community.
4) Check for Disbarments and Suspensions
Disbarment is when a lawyer has their right to practice as a lawyer taken away. A lawyer can be disbarred if their local bar association decides that they are not fit to practice law. Disbarment is permanent so this step is always the last resort.
A lawyer may have been subject to other disciplinary actions previously, such as put on probation or suspended. Disciplinary procedures vary from state to state,
A lawyer can be suspended from practicing law for a period of time as a disciplinary procedure.
Reasons for Disbarments or Suspensions
A lawyer can be banned from practicing law if they commit a felony, fraud, or personal misconduct such as a bar brawl. If an attorney is suspended for six months or more, then they must be reinstated by the courts.
It’s very tough for a lawyer to be reinstated, so if they have previously been suspended and reinstated they may have learned their lesson. However, you may feel that you don’t want to take any chances.
5) Interview An Attorney
When interviewing an attorney, it’s essential that you have a good rapport with your foreclosure attorney. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation. When you meet them trust your instincts, are they helpful and attentive? Is their office neat, tidy and well lit? Do the staff greet you well?
You’ll want to go in armed with a number of questions to gain a sense of the type of service you’ll likely receive from them. The type of questions you should ask include:
- How should I contact you if I have any questions?
- What is your charge for phone calls and letters?
- How long should I wait for a reply from you?
- Will you keep me updated on each development?
- How many foreclosure defense cases have you won?
- Have you ever received any complaints?
- Are you licensed to practice law?
- What previous experience do you have of my lender?
- How long have you been practicing foreclosure law?
- Have you practiced in any other state?
Whilst you are interviewing take note of their personality. Are they confident and assertive? Are they loud and brash? Or are they timid and mild?
Bear all of these factors in mind and you should find hiring a foreclosure defense lawyer easier than you first imagined.