Monday, February 28, 2011

Jason lost his Head, and now he's lost his law license.

As small firm guy, and as a real property litigator, this Virginia bar opinion caught my attention for two reasons.  First, when a lawyer fails to record deeds, it is usually just the first thread of a frayed practice.  Pull that thread and you'll find things like unpaid recording fees, and ultimately missing IOLTA or escrow funds. 

But as a small firm lawyer, I was in awe of this fellows attempts to over-sell his firm.  He represented multiple fake locations, he posted a video on his website depiciting a lay person as a lawyer, he included descriptions of false "practice groups," and used pronouns like "we" to describe the lawyers in the offfice.....but there was only Mr. Head.

Ballsy.....and stupid.

So, for the record, I am the only lawyer here.  Mr. Young is enjoying his retirement, and I have chosen to surround myself with very talented folks who make me more effective.  A few of them may even pass the bar and become excellent lawyers.  And while I practice in multiple locations, they are usually places like "home," or "the beach house," or "ski lodge," and "the train."  I just can't fit them all on a business card.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

California weighs in on MERS, not ready to slide into the ocean, just yet

On February 18, 2011, Judge Irion of the California Court of Appeal, in San Diego, issued a reported decision upholding MERS right to initiate foreclosures in California. The Gomes v. Countrywide decision is worth reading. What is remarkable are the reports about the case saying that the decision was issued only one day after oral argument.

This brief was in the can, before counsel stepped to the podium!

With California leading the nation in the volume of foreclosures, this is a real shot in the arm to the foreclosure bar.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

imMERSed in a sea of differing opinions.

On February 11, 2011, Judge Karlin of the Kansas bankruptcy court sent more waves through the foreclosure and title community pool (a "title pool?"). The Martinez decision upholds MERS status as the lender's agent, for purposes of establishing standing by the current lienholder.

Compare this to New York bankruptcy Judge Grossman's February 10, 2011 Agard decision, for purposes of assignments that establish standing.

Read for yourself, and you'll be left to ask, "who's steering this boat?" I've talked with several local trustees, and they simply don't know what to do with this patchwork of analysis that is dropping from the various courts. I personally believe that recent state court decisions defining "non-possessory holders" will cut through this issue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I continue to be amazed at what lingers on the internet. Here's something from a 1998 parental rights case. Even I forgot about this one! This fellow fought to reclaim his daughter, who had been given up for adoption by her mother. I may be listed as co-counsel, but Jack Condliffe pulled the heavy weight, fired by some real passion for this client. It cemented my opinion of Jack as one of the best family law lawyers around. I was deeply dissapointed when he didn't get his appointment to the Circuit Court bench.

What do we give to our clients?

I stumbled across this link to the minutes of the Dorchester County Council describing a road abandonment case of mine. I really enjoy that part of the State, but I didn't enjoy getting to that particular hearing! It was scheduled on the same date as my wedding anniversary, while my wife and I were in Duck, N.C. on vacation with about a dozen family members.

My wife graciously dropped me at the car rental agency so I could drive to Norfolk, and then fly to BWI, rent another car, and drive to the 6:30 PM hearing in Dorchester County. I was home, in Baltimore, by 2 AM, and back to BWI by 8 AM to fly to Norfolk and then drive to Duck in order to celebrate our Anniversary, a day late.

I sure love that woman!

But the client who wouldn't allow my car rental expense from BWI to the hearing, and then wanted to cut time I spent at the hearing??? Not so much.

Oh, yes, and we persuaded the council to abandon the road.

Of course, you don't get any of that from the council minutes!