When you are faced with the threat of foreclosure or eviction, the biggest and most important decision you must make is who you will retain to represent you. The decision will literally determine whether you will lose your home and money or live in your home with great modified terms for the next 30-40 years.
Over the past six years that the Harouni Law Group has been specializing in foreclosure defense, we have heard countless horror stories from clients who have been duped out of their hard-earned money by unscrupulous frauds looking to make a quick buck by pretending that they can help homeowners save their homes. Some homeowners come to us the day before their foreclosure sale is scheduled to take place asking for help, without any money to retain us, because the person they retained took their money and ran.
Whether you retain the Harouni Law Group or not, please take the following advice to heart when making your decision regarding who you will retain to help you save your home.
1) Do not retain anyone who is not an attorney. Non-attorneys are very tempting to retain because they oftentimes cost less or significantly less than attorneys. You get what you pay for. While attorneys are accountable to the State Bar of California, and could literally have their license to practice law suspended if they defraud you, non-attorneys are not accountable to you, the State Bar of California, or anyone else for that matter. If you think you can sue them to get your money back, good luck finding them, and even if you do, you’ve already lost your house! I have heard non-attorneys counsel my clients, in front of my face, to sue their lenders for causes of action that are not even recognized in the state of California. Mostly, however, non-lawyers will file boilerplate lawsuits for you (in your own name, of course, because they do not have a license to represent you) that have absolutely nothing to do with the specific facts of your case, and which will be dismissed by the court within two months of filing it. Alternatively, non-lawyers will file multiple emergency bad faith bankruptcies for you to temporarily stall the foreclosure sale without ever being able to offer you hope of permanent foreclosure relief (despite what they may say). Again, do not hire a non-attorney under any circumstance.
2. Do not retain a new attorney. Lenders, like Bank of America and Chase Bank, retain literally the best law firms in America to represent them in foreclosure defense cases. A new attorney (i.e. an attorney with less than five years’ experience) may cost less than an experienced one, and may promise you the stars, but in reality new attorneys have yet to master the procedural aspects of litigation let alone the extremely complex substance of foreclosure defense law. In foreclosure defense, one small mistake can literally mean the difference between having your case go to trial and having your case dismissed within two months of filing suit. New attorneys are commonly eaten alive by the $400 per hour “big firm” attorneys that your lender is retaining. There is no question that you should be cost-conscious even when retaining an attorney, but it may be worth it to spend a little bit more to retain an attorney who can confidently navigate the battlefield of litigation against big banks and their big law firm guns.
3. Do not retain an old-school attorney. Foreclosure defense, as an industry, has only been around since approximately 2008 when homeowners started to lose their homes en masse as a result of the economic recession. These same attorneys necessarily must have been practicing and specializing in different areas of law for years prior to 2008. After 2008, many of these attorneys decided to dabble their toes in foreclosure defense litigation because of all the noise that was being made in that field, but most of them continued to practice whatever else they were practicing prior to foreclosure defense. As experienced as the old-school attorneys are with respect to litigation procedure, no attorney can possibly master the complex depth of foreclosure defense law and outwit the banks’ high-powered attorneys by dabbling their toes in that field. This is a field where you are either all-in or all-out.
4. Do not retain attorneys who can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. If your attorney sounds like they know everything, ask them for proof of their success in pre- and post-foreclosure cases. If they cannot show you that they have stopped over 90% of foreclosure sales and pending unlawful detainer eviction lawsuits, and get loans modified in both scenarios, you should consider retaining another firm.
Your best bet is to retain experienced attorneys (i.e. attorneys who have been practicing law for over five years) who specialize in foreclosure defense, who do not practice any area of law unrelated to foreclosure defense, and who can show you proof of their success in stopping sales and evictions and in getting loans modified in both scenarios.
At the Harouni Law Group, we have practiced foreclosure defense since 2008 because saving homes from foreclosure is the reason why our firm was established. We love what we do and we believe in what we are fighting for. To the extent that we practice other areas of law such as bankruptcy or “unlawful detainer” eviction law, we only practice those areas of law because they are directly related to our foreclosure defense practice. In other words, every single resource in the Harouni Law Group is ultimately geared at stopping foreclosure sales, stopping evictions, and modifying loans. We know that all of our passion and hard work is not for nothing. We stop over 90% of all foreclosures and evictions and modify loans in both pre- and post-foreclosure cases. And best of all, we strive to make our services affordable for everyone.