How bad is working in Foreclosure

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Anonymous User
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How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:40 pm

I just received an offer from a decent sized firm that handles foreclosures. Is this something I should take? The price is right but I'm not sure about being involved in this type of law. How transferable is it? It seems like many people put this on the same level as personal injury but I'm not sure why. Thanks for all the feedback!

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Kohinoor
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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just received an offer from a decent sized firm that handles foreclosures. Is this something I should take? The price is right but I'm not sure about being involved in this type of law. How transferable is it? It seems like many people put this on the same level as personal injury but I'm not sure why. Thanks for all the feedback!

Probably on the same level as unprestigious PI. I worked in foreclosure before law school and it is high volume, low engagement boilerplate. If the price is right, do it, but it is not going to be an intellectual tour de force.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:15 pm

Does it logically lead into any other field?

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Kohinoor
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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Kohinoor » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does it logically lead into any other field?

general real estate? bankruptcy?

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A'nold
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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby A'nold » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:57 pm

It depends if you find it interesting. I think it's actually pretty interesting, although I will admit that I seem to find every kind of law interesting.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:46 am

OP here: Thanks for the responses. Hopefully I can give you all more information to go off.

The firm does real estate, bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc. But everyone I talk to acts like doing that kind of work is the worst thing ever. My prof actually said "that's not the type of work you go to law school for". So I really want to know what the work involves and why it is so looked down upon. I don't care much about the nature of the work, especially for my first job. Since I struck out at OCI, I really can't be too picky.

Their entry-level associates make decent money so I don't see staying there for a few years after I graduate being a big issue. But: 1.) will I want to kill myself doing that work? 2.) will i be laughed at by my classmates and 3.) is this work transferable to other areas of law?

Also, I received an offer from a small litigation firm. They pay pretty much the same for their SA program but will pay less if I were to get an offer and start on as an attorney after I graduate (the foreclosure firm is not paying a prorated rate). I know I will get more experience with the smaller litigation firm and those guys have the ability to make money too but the money with the foreclosure firm is solid and I wont have to worry about killing to eat.


Thanks for all of the helpful responses. I'm sure none of you are in this position but if you have any information about this I would love to hear about it! just want to make an informed decision.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Interested Observer » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here: Thanks for the responses. Hopefully I can give you all more information to go off.

The firm does real estate, bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc. But everyone I talk to acts like doing that kind of work is the worst thing ever. My prof actually said "that's not the type of work you go to law school for". So I really want to know what the work involves and why it is so looked down upon. I don't care much about the nature of the work, especially for my first job. Since I struck out at OCI, I really can't be too picky.

Their entry-level associates make decent money so I don't see staying there for a few years after I graduate being a big issue. But: 1.) will I want to kill myself doing that work? 2.) will i be laughed at by my classmates and 3.) is this work transferable to other areas of law?

Also, I received an offer from a small litigation firm. They pay pretty much the same for their SA program but will pay less if I were to get an offer and start on as an attorney after I graduate (the foreclosure firm is not paying a prorated rate). I know I will get more experience with the smaller litigation firm and those guys have the ability to make money too but the money with the foreclosure firm is solid and I wont have to worry about killing to eat.


Thanks for all of the helpful responses. I'm sure none of you are in this position but if you have any information about this I would love to hear about it! just want to make an informed decision.


What type of litigation does the small firm do? If I were you, I'd go to the place where I'd get the "best" experience. Both are doing litigation -- so I'm assuming you want to be a litigator. The best experience a young litigator can get is one the runs the spectrum of litigation. That is: a client comes in; you help identify issues; you start a dialogue with the other side; you end up suing (filing a complaint, drafting discovery, taking depositions, etc.); and once in awhile get to trial (of course, you could be doing all of this from the defense side too).

I worked only for four months (part-time) during school doing civil litigation work with a solo. The solo threw me into the deep-end right away. He had me handle virtually all aspects of cases. The amount I learned in those four months has been greater than what I've learned in all my other internships combined. Litigation is an art and something that needs to be practiced.

You don't want to get stuck doing only one type of thing (i.e., just document review; just drafting discovery; etc.). If those are your only choices, fine, you do it. But, if, like here, you have two choices, go to the firm which promises you the opportunity to be involved at more stages of litigation.

You speak about "transferable" skills above. I think the best transferable skills have to do with knowing how litigation works and knowing those rules (discovery rules; time lines;....). If you develop these, you will certainly be marketable to many employers.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:56 am

Law firm associate = foreclosing on little old ladies and people duped into adjustable ARMs that tripled their mortgage payments in order to put their home on the market and trim your client's loss by about 30%. Perfect if you enjoy long hours, money, and not having a soul.

PI attorney = turning 90% of the little old ladies who come to you away because your office is already overworked, and knowing that for those you can, your client loses puts them out of a home. Perfect if you enjoy long hours, crushing debt, and guilt over being unable to sufficiently help the helpless.

HTH.

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Kohinoor
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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Kohinoor » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here: Thanks for the responses. Hopefully I can give you all more information to go off.

The firm does real estate, bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc. But everyone I talk to acts like doing that kind of work is the worst thing ever. My prof actually said "that's not the type of work you go to law school for". So I really want to know what the work involves and why it is so looked down upon. I don't care much about the nature of the work, especially for my first job. Since I struck out at OCI, I really can't be too picky.

Their entry-level associates make decent money so I don't see staying there for a few years after I graduate being a big issue. But: 1.) will I want to kill myself doing that work? 2.) will i be laughed at by my classmates and 3.) is this work transferable to other areas of law?

Also, I received an offer from a small litigation firm. They pay pretty much the same for their SA program but will pay less if I were to get an offer and start on as an attorney after I graduate (the foreclosure firm is not paying a prorated rate). I know I will get more experience with the smaller litigation firm and those guys have the ability to make money too but the money with the foreclosure firm is solid and I wont have to worry about killing to eat.


Thanks for all of the helpful responses. I'm sure none of you are in this position but if you have any information about this I would love to hear about it! just want to make an informed decision.

The real estate, bankr., foreclosure shop is not a traditional lit operation and will be oriented more towards producing necessary paperwork than doing discovery or depositions or arguing before a judge. Speaking to FC, at the foreclosure shop, we had about 2-3 paralegals to each lawyer and were responsible for processing a huge volume of foreclosures which then went to the lawyers for final verification that everything was fine to file. There was no legal research involved and the nature of the industry is such that everything that you're looking for should be part of one registry or another. It's essentially a checklist ensuring that the foreclosure cannot be overturned later. Not hard, lawyers were making 60-80k iirc, and we were out the door at 5:30.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:35 am

Interested Observer wrote:You speak about "transferable" skills above. I think the best transferable skills have to do with knowing how litigation works and knowing those rules (discovery rules; time lines;....). If you develop these, you will certainly be marketable to many employers.


Foreclosure isn't really litigation. It's very rare for it to be contested, let alone with any merit. The whole idea of challenging the documents is brand new. It is really the definition of high volume, low substance mill work. While legally justified, it's also probably soul-killing hateful, like working in consumer collections. If you have public interest friends, they'll probably stop talking to you.

Other than that, it's paying work.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:54 am

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
Interested Observer wrote:You speak about "transferable" skills above. I think the best transferable skills have to do with knowing how litigation works and knowing those rules (discovery rules; time lines;....). If you develop these, you will certainly be marketable to many employers.


Foreclosure isn't really litigation. It's very rare for it to be contested, let alone with any merit. The whole idea of challenging the documents is brand new. It is really the definition of high volume, low substance mill work. While legally justified, it's also probably soul-killing hateful, like working in consumer collections. If you have public interest friends, they'll probably stop talking to you.

Other than that, it's paying work.

Way worse. Each file is literally a person's lost home. Many times, they lose the home without even realizing it. Getting foreclosed on is less conspicuous than you might think. You don't even have to be evicted first which leads many people to believe, wrongly, that they still have a chance to get current on the mortgage since they haven't gotten the notice of eviction.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:47 pm

Apparently I'm the only person who thinks that there's nothing wrong with foreclosing on people who don't pay their bills. This is what God invented rental property for.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:42 am

Thank you everyone for your insight! Especially Kohinoor :D I have to make a decision by this Wednesday so I will take this all into consideration and if anyone has anything else to put in the mix, it would be really helpful!

I'm thinking I will take the spot with the foreclosure firm. At worst, I will work there for a couple years and hopefully get enogh experience in mortgage banking or real estate to move somewhere else. Is this unrealistic?

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:43 am

I worked in foreclosures and bank collections for a while.

Most of the people you foreclose against or try to collect from are NOT pitiable. You'll see a lot of people with 30k annual income and a 250k+ mortgage, or a 30k annual income and a 50k custom motorcycle or 25k brand new Mustang that they got with 19.9% interest.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you everyone for your insight! Especially Kohinoor :D I have to make a decision by this Wednesday so I will take this all into consideration and if anyone has anything else to put in the mix, it would be really helpful!

I'm thinking I will take the spot with the foreclosure firm. At worst, I will work there for a couple years and hopefully get enogh experience in mortgage banking or real estate to move somewhere else. Is this unrealistic?



This is highly unrealistic. You are committing yourself to working for a trumped up collections firm. Its a mill; not a law firm. Foreclosure and collections are by far the lowest end of the entire spectrum of law firm work. Plaintiff's side no-fault auto litigation is held in much higher regard by attorneys than collections/foreclosure. Please do no kid yourself and believe that this will lead to any sort of meaningful work in some other area of real estate law, etc. You will, for the rest of your career, carry the stench of working at a mill. No matter how hard you try to scrub it off; it will always be there.

The money might be good in this field for now, however, exit options will be non-existent and eventually, the work will slow down. When that happens, layoffs of foreclosure lawyers will start to occur. You'll be left with a useless skill set and an ugly stain on your resume.


What type of practice does the small firm have? There is about a 90% chance the small firm is a better option.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby MrKappus » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:34 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Apparently I'm the only person who thinks that there's nothing wrong with foreclosing on people who don't pay their bills. This is what God invented rental property for.


Your incredibly simplistic statement's predicated on both parties being sufficiently sophisticated that one can understand when the other offers highly unfavorable terms (e.g., balloon ARM). When one party knows that the other won't understand the K's terms and builds an industry around capitalizing on this ignorance, then it's predatory and wrong. Yes. HTH.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:39 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thank you everyone for your insight! Especially Kohinoor :D I have to make a decision by this Wednesday so I will take this all into consideration and if anyone has anything else to put in the mix, it would be really helpful!

I'm thinking I will take the spot with the foreclosure firm. At worst, I will work there for a couple years and hopefully get enogh experience in mortgage banking or real estate to move somewhere else. Is this unrealistic?



This is highly unrealistic. You are committing yourself to working for a trumped up collections firm. Its a mill; not a law firm. Foreclosure and collections are by far the lowest end of the entire spectrum of law firm work. Plaintiff's side no-fault auto litigation is held in much higher regard by attorneys than collections/foreclosure. Please do no kid yourself and believe that this will lead to any sort of meaningful work in some other area of real estate law, etc. You will, for the rest of your career, carry the stench of working at a mill. No matter how hard you try to scrub it off; it will always be there.

The money might be good in this field for now, however, exit options will be non-existent and eventually, the work will slow down. When that happens, layoffs of foreclosure lawyers will start to occur. You'll be left with a useless skill set and an ugly stain on your resume.


What type of practice does the small firm have? There is about a 90% chance the small firm is a better option.


I don’t understand why you make these assertions. Is this based off of personal experience or just what you’ve heard about foreclosure work? What do the lawyers do at these firms that they wouldn’t do at a “real” law firm? And what makes this type of work the lowest of the low?

The reason I say that is because I spoke with an individual who previously worked at the foreclosure firm and he now works at a bigger firm and specializes in mortgage banking. Are you saying he is the exception to the rule? What you say makes sense but I don’t know if things can really be that bleak in that type of work. Why wouldn’t it touch on other areas of law? And why wouldn’t I have any exit options? Since this would be a SA spot, wouldn’t I be able to work there for the summer and try for something else related if I didn’t take an offer of employment?

The other firm does bad faith insurance work, construction, etc. They are really busy and I would get right in the mix of litigation. The only thing is, like most small firms, their pay is horrible. Do you think that is worth it for the experience I would get? I just can’t stomach coming out of school making less than $50K. I have minimal loans so that wouldn’t be impossible but I guess it is more of a pride thing.

Thank you for your insight. It really has me thinking.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby vamedic03 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:18 pm

MrKappus wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:Apparently I'm the only person who thinks that there's nothing wrong with foreclosing on people who don't pay their bills. This is what God invented rental property for.


Your incredibly simplistic statement's predicated on both parties being sufficiently sophisticated that one can understand when the other offers highly unfavorable terms (e.g., balloon ARM). When one party knows that the other won't understand the K's terms and builds an industry around capitalizing on this ignorance, then it's predatory and wrong. Yes. HTH.


But, three questions:

1) What happens to the investor who purchased a financial instrument that consisted of a portion of a the mortgage?

2) To the extent that these homeowners are upside down, isn't foreclosure the best possible outcome? It doesn't make sense for them to continue owning a property that is worth far less than the debt that it secures.

3) Isn't the entire point of a mortgage that there it's a secured loan?

I'm not saying that it's fair to these people who got in over their heads, but, it's not like it's fair to the investors in the securities.

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Re: How bad is working in Foreclosure

Postby MrKappus » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:38 pm

vamedic03 wrote:But, three questions:

1) What happens to the investor who purchased a financial instrument that consisted of a portion of a the mortgage?

2) To the extent that these homeowners are upside down, isn't foreclosure the best possible outcome? It doesn't make sense for them to continue owning a property that is worth far less than the debt that it secures.

3) Isn't the entire point of a mortgage that there it's a secured loan?

I'm not saying that it's fair to these people who got in over their heads, but, it's not like it's fair to the investors in the securities.


Very good questions. Don't have the answers, but have my opinions (which, I hope/think, are informed by my understanding of K's):
(1) Investors, especially large/ sophisticated ones, must do their due diligence prior to investing. In the current case, large investors simply looked at the bond ratings and went w/ it. I think they failed, in part, to research the CDO's properly, and I also think that the ratings agencies hold a big part of the blame and should be held accountable. They rated shit as "investment grade" and people relied on those ratings.

(2) You are right that foreclosure might not be the worst outcome, but that does not mean it is the 'best." When a borrower has negative equity in her mortgage's collateral, foreclosure still means that any amount of equity that has been paid in will be lost. The "best" scenario is modification. This is an option for borrowers that meet the stringent HAMP requirements and make it through the trial period. Keep in mind, foreclosure often isn't the best option for mortgagees either. They have to pay lawyers, waive their deficiency rights, and ultimate sell the property for less than it's worth. Foreclosure really only helps servicers (they get commissions for doing it), but it doesn't even completely help them. They get paid a % of their loan pool, and the loan obviously drops out of the pool after foreclosure.

(3) Yes. I can't argue w/ this. I can only fall back on what I, personally, believe...which is that in the rush to create home loans that could be packaged and sold into CDO's for a transaction fee, lenders purposefully duped unsophisticated parties into signing K's that they lenders knew the buyers didn't understand. I'm kind of a consumer rights nut, though. Lots of people obviously disagree w/ my take.




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