Sunday, February 01, 2009

How to be an Asshole or My Thoughts on Professional Courtesy

My disdain for foreclosure work comes from the fact that whenever I see these firms in action, they are pushing paper. In my experience, paper pushers don’t think. They go from point A to point B to point C. You can’t upset the process because they don’t want Bill Lumbergh and their six other bosses to send them a memo about the cover sheet on their TPS reports.

Now why I am ranting on one of the most profitable and in-demand legal fields at the current moment? I am handling a foreclosure defense for a big client of my firm. Due to family issues with the client (basically overseas for the last month tending to a dying relative), I haven’t been able to talk with them about this case. Since I already hunting one attorney for signing a pleading that is false, I am a wary of signing any document that I haven’t had a chance to figure out what may be going on.

Now, let’s go to my point of contention: I can’t answer the complaint. 

I filed my appearance. I got an extension to file a response. And then the client had to tend to their family matter. This was a month ago. The client is coming back tomorrow several hours after the next court appearance. I called up the opposing counsel that is handling this matter and I explained the situation. I asked him for a 14-day extension so I could actually talk with my client and get a response on file. “I’d give you an extension if you had filed a response”

You understand that I can’t sign a pleading without actually finding out what’s going on the case, right? “I don’t understand why you haven’t got something filed”

You realize that my client has been out of the country since the day after I came into the case? “You should have filed a response”

I can’t file a response yet, this is why I am calling. “I don’t understand why you can’t file something”

You realize I am asking a professional courtesy? “I won’t agree to an extension”

You aren’t going to give me time to investigate? “The judge will give you the time you need”

This was after 10 minutes on the phone with this asshole. I was starting to get pissed. He just told me that he won’t me any time, but that the judge will. My level of frustration is being compounded exponentially by the fact that court in this case is an hour drive from my house and it is a nearly a two hour drive from there back to my office.

You won’t grant me the extension because I haven’t filed a response, I’ve you that I cannot file a response in good faith until my client is able to talk to me, and you’ve told me the judge will give me the time. You are making me drive all that way and waste all that time all that time to get what sounds like a foregone conclusion? “Maybe you shouldn’t take a client out there.”

Let’s take my client out of this. Let’s talk foreclosure work in general. Your client is best served if the defendant pays the mortgage, right? “Yes.” Due to the real estate market being what it is, your client will lose money if it takes possession of the property? “Yes.” Your client is best served in a case like this when the two sides can come together and work out a payment plan? “Yes.” Your client is best served when the sides come together, but you are not working with the Defense attorney in this case, I’m not inclined to help you at all, and in turn, your client suffers. “I won’t agree to an extension. If you had something on file, maybe I’d agree.”

You have to be kidding me. You realize that all you are doing is creating a ticked off attorney for no reason. You realize I am going to ask for the most amount of time possible? “Why don’t you ask for six months?”

If I thought I could get it, I would. Maybe between now and Monday, you’ll learn what it means to give a professional courtesy because I won’t be the one that teaches you. I’ll see you in court, counselor. “Yeah.”

As I hung up I wanted to throw the phone across my office because that was 30 minutes of my life that I will never get back.