- bernie shmegma
- Posts: 269
- Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:17 pm
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- Posts: 55
- Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:45 am
Here is my crappy one, which needs A LOT of work done to it. Take it for what it is worth.
I was taking yet another typical trip to Orlando, Florida, accompanying my parents on a business trip; however, this time I took with me a “souvenir” unlike any other that would remind me of my parents’ legal dispute that changed my outlook on the meaning of homeownership.
My initial reason for coming along with my parents was due to curiosity of knowing what kind of troubles my parents were dealing with in Orlando and how they were going to get out of it. I have always heard my parents talking about their vacation home, but never bothered to question them about it until that day. After attacking my parents with several questions, I learned that they were involved in a legal dispute with their property management company. This company had entered into an agreement with my parents, taking on the responsibility of renting, occupying, and paying off all necessary taxes and payments for the term of two years on our vacation home. In less than a year, however, the company defaulted, failing to carryout the agreed upon responsibilities. The case still continues to this day, as do my parents’ worries.
It was this legal dispute that jump-started my interest in property law. Seeing my father’s mental anguish since the beginning of this battle left me in a frustrated mental state, yet at the same time I understood why he acted that way. These tangible objects we call “homes” are the most expensive purchases we ever make in our lives; my father, like millions of others, contributes approximately one-third of his life working for his home. But I believe that a home has a deeper meaning to it; it describes the significance, unforgettable memories, and sentimental value that a person establishes in these objects. Most immigrants’ reason for traveling to this country is to obtain the “American Dream;” that is, the traditional social ideal where one has the opportunity and freedom to own their home. The perseverance, dedication, and time essential to purchasing a home is enormous, and one would do everything in their power to keep it.
When looking at my father’s position the picture becomes clearer then for why the uncertainty of possibly losing your home at any moment can be distressing. After analyzing my parents’ situation, and realizing some of the potential consequences they faced, I was determined to find out how I could aid in salvaging not only my parents,’ but others’ homes that are lost, or are at risk of being lost, due to uncontrollable and unforeseeable events.
When I returned home, I immediately consulted my sister, who is in the mortgage business, about pursuing my desire. Luck was on my side as she had found and setup an internship for me with a property attorney. This attorney, due to the current economic situation, concentrates specifically on providing help to those individuals who are in danger of foreclosure. In my time working with the attorney, one specific client of hers caught my attention. I remember vividly how distressed this man sounded from the volatile tone of his words; most were soft and hesitant, and carefully reciprocated to every one of the attorney’s questions; others peaked to levels that gave off a clear sign of frustration. It reminded me of my father’s words and the expression on his face in Florida.
After their conversation the chance to expand on my curiosity became vacant, and it was here that my perspective on being a homeowner could really shine through. The attorney had turned the spotlight on me as she put me in control, by requesting that I propose a remedy. I began by analyzing her client’s problem: a man facing foreclosure on his home because of a sour marriage that resulted in a decline in his household income. Then I had to ask myself several questions: How severe is his situation? Is achieving a solution to his problem realistic? What are the factors preventing him from keeping his home? As I examined his financial statements I found that his expenses were moderate, and could be realistically solved. I followed up with him and took note of other factors affecting his circumstance such as support of four children, so childcare is essential. Moreover, he held a second job at night which showed that he was making an effort to cover his mortgage payment and also mentioned his efforts of rekindling of his marriage through counseling.
When formulating a method to resolve the client’s situation I wanted to create a solution that would not drastically shift his lifestyle away from his current one. The solution I came up with was playing-out-the-numbers as being the best bet to tackling the problem. By reviewing his financial statements and identifying expenses that I could reduce in targeted areas where amounts appeared overextended, while keeping in mind what his priorities I was able to create an effective measure for the client that would allow him to maintain his current lifestyle in a better position. Although the method alone was not enough to resolve the client’s problems, it played a significant role in assisting the attorney in formulating her own solution to getting her client on the right track.
It was during the internship that I was able to solidify my interest in studying the law, and to discover a facet of the law that, considering my own life experiences, proved so appealing. Although by working alongside the attorney I was able to gain a better understanding and become more involved in the legal process, my assistance was limited by how little I knew. To become a more effective advocate for troubled individuals such as my parents or the attorney’s client, I realized that law school is necessary.
- Posts: 3
- Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:27 pm
“Open the door.” A voice thundered outside the door.
“Open it, hey you.” Another person shouted and then, we heard loud “bang, bang” on the door. Several people started to knock heavily and the noise outside got louder. I could hear a regular chanting of “God is great” and "kill them...they are non-believers”. Soon this chanting grew louder as more people seem to join in. And it seemed as several people were trying to break the main door. At four years of age, all this commotion had woken me up from my afternoon nap and even though, I didn’t fully understand what was going on, my parent’s concerned faces alarmed me. I quickly ran to my dad and clung to his leg. When the chanting and door banging grew louder and people started to throw stones in our front yard, my parents took me and my two younger siblings to the back of the house. I heard the quiet whisper from the other side of our wall (which we shared with our neighbour), “Hand them to us”. At this, my father picked me up and put me on his shoulders. The trust and confidence in his eyes assured me that everything was going to be alright. One by one, me and my two younger siblings climbed up his shoulder and were handed over to my neighbour on the other side of the wall, into the hands we knew very well. However, in the past, we used to go to their house from the front door.
As I was being handed over to the other side of the wall, I was quietly anxious about being separated from my parents. In a hope that crowd would disperse after a few hours and they wouldn’t have to abandon all their belongings in a haphazard manner, my parents tried to stay put in their house, where they had spent four years, all of their post marital life. But as the banging grew louder and there was a real fear that people outside were getting a blood-thirsty mentality, both my parents also followed us and climbed the 8 feet tall wall to our neighbours. We had to stay at our neighbours for two days before it was safe for us to go back to our own house by climbing that same 8 feet tall wall in the dark of night. Looking back, I can clearly see how much I had grown in these two days. I had witnessed the dual faces of human kind; on one hand, I saw real evil (in form of insensitive, blood thirsty, religious fanatics who were gathered outside our house without any regard to women and children) and on the other hand, there were real angels (in form of our neighbours who didn’t share my faith but fulfilled their basic human obligation by coming to our help in the time of need by going against the mainstream).The reason behind all this commotion had to do with my family’s religious affiliation. In 1974, as one of only two prominent families in a small town of Pakistan, we were part of a minority religious group under and as such, victims of extreme religious persecution. Religious authorities from other groups had declared war on our sect/community and guaranteed heaven to anyone who would kill one of us. Every member of our group lived under constant threat and greatly feared for their lives. In schools, college, malls, buses, we had to be on the constant look out for each other. Growing up under these fearful circumstances in an impoverished country like Pakistan (where over 90% of people are poor, education rate is less than 5%, religious tensions are paramount, women are treated inhumanely), I inherited high hopes and dreams from my parents and wished to be in a position to make a positive difference for my community. Hence, I focused on my studies and excelling in school became my main goal. Two big influences that I had in my early life were that of my father and my idol Qaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah (founding father of our nation). Both of these men were lawyers by profession and displayed a number of qualities that I admired: leadership, honesty, discipline, hard-work, integrity. Another incident that had a great impact on me was when my father was arrested in the middle of a court session (as he was presenting defense for his client). His crime was that he had handed out a religious booklet (explaining what our community’s beliefs were all about) to a member of public. I heard the news through a police officer who came to our house to give us personal belongings of my dad. This news spread through the town and a mob once again gathered outside our house chanting, “God is great”, “As non-belivers, you shall die”, etc. However, at this time, I was older (at 18 years of age) and had police protection so I did not feel as hopeless as I did at 4 years of age. These incidents helped me to mature quicker, be strong, and independent. They made me think about people who were subjected to all types of injustices including gender-based discrimination that women face in all parts of world. I could empathize with their plight and wanting to improve the status quo, I developed the strong desire to pursue higher education (against societal norms) and hence, focused on developing myself to reach a level where I could be of help to others, especially ones who are most weak and vulnerable to injustices. As I was fascinated by the human mind, I thought that an understanding of its inner workings will help me in my quest to make a difference and hence, I pursued Psycholoy studies at university level. During my Bachelors/Masters studies in Pakistan, I learned how to stand tall – by putting my best foot forward and compensating for the prejudices that people subjected me to by being the best in everything else. I actively participated in extra-curricular activities; for example, I chaired the Urdu Club, worked as Head Copy Editor at the university newspaper, participated in speech groups, hosted several speech and poem contests, served on the College's Membership Committee, and won the best speech contest in a local Radio station. While I was studying in Pakistan, my father looked into migrating to Canada to escape the constant persecution we faced. Our application was successful and after first year of my Masters studies, I (along with my family) immigrated to Canada.
I came here with a lot of hope. We did find the freedom we were looking for. No longer were we called “Non Muslims” and we were no longer afraid to go to sleep and wake up to a mad chanting of “get out of our town”, etc. Two years ago I was sitting in my living room when the door bell rang...the urgency in bell made me rush to the door...my younger sister was there with her 2 years old son. Her newly immigrant husband has physically assaulted her...she needed a lawyer....a female lawyer who could understand our culture and tradition ...could understand and relate to the background we were coming from. There was no women lawyer in our own community of 10000+ people. During my real estate career I have met many female buyers and sellers from my community struggling to understand their rights. Inside my community (made up of approx. 10, 000 people in GTA), I see people (especially women) struggling under myriad of difficult circumstances. Many of them are still struggling for their rights. They still want to be heard inside/outside of their community. Many of them come from abusive relationships. A lot of them need support to help them integrate better in the Canadian society. A motivating factor for me to pursue law is that there’s absence of women representation in this profession. I witnessed this first hand through experience of my sister.
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- H. E. Pennypacker
- Posts: 1022
- Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:26 pm
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