My mother recently asked about our practice and I told her unequivocally that representing homeowners in foreclosure is the best legal work that I have ever done. She looked at me incredulously and in her mother’s tone asked how that could be possible. “You’ve been the Attorney General of the State of Ohio, the chief legal officer for a state of 10 million people, you were the ranking member of the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee, you’ve brought and defended complex antitrust cases , you’ve defended criminal cases when your client’s liberty has been on the line” my mom scolded.
I told her that the reason was simple.:
Almost every client I represent brings into my office a story of courage, perseverance and optimism in the face of incredible odds.
Its one thing to read in the New York Times about people who own a home where the value dropped from $250,000 to $125,000 almost overnight due to the greed of Wall Street Investment Bankers and the criminality of mortgage brokers and exploitive companies like Ameriquest, Taylor Bean and Whitaker or Countrywide. But its another thing to meet them and to see the look of determination to keep their children in the same schools and their dog in the same familiar yard.
Its one thing to read in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about those who were skilled manufacturing workers or foremen who were replaced by computers or cheap exploited labor in China. Its another thing to meet and work with men and women who have gone back to school and retrained for other jobs or who are working two and three jobs simultaneously on the chance that they can help their family retain their standard of living, They remain determined that their children have a better life than they have had.
Its one thing to read the Wall Street Journal about the failures of small and not so small businesses that couldn’t hang on the recession but its quite another thing to watch these former pillars of their community take humbling jobs or doggedly work at new business ideas to try to keep their children in college.
Our clients inspire me every day in a hundred different ways.
One client who owned a large manufacturing business is working filling milk bottles in a dairy every day. He looked me in the eye and told me he would do what he has to do to help his wife stay in the home she cherishes. She stood by him. He is determined to stick by her.
Another client took a job paying less than his unemployment because he couldn’t stand not working for his pay.
A third client client who told me that he takes five minutes every day to feel sorry for himself and then goes back to work to make a good life for his children. He said, “I know I’m going to feel it every day. So I look at my watch and time the five minutes that I have allocated to self pity” Then I get back to work.
That’s why I want to fight so hard when we are taking on the biggest banks in the country and their “Tall Building “ Lawyers. That’s why it is a joy to figure out ways to make reckless foreclosure mills pay under the Fair Debt Laws or hold the feet of exploitative mediation mills to the fire under consumer protection laws. That’s why I smile when a bank offers a significant reduction in principal or meaningful loan modification or when a court requires a bank to provide at least as much proof of the right to foreclose that they would require my clients to provide to cash a check.
I can’t wait to get to the office every morning and I can’t believe that we get paid to do such important work for such worthy people.