Back when I was on the side of the financial institutions, I really do believe that they were mostly honest. During the S & L crisis of the late 80s and early 90s when there was a significant increase in loan collection and foreclosure activity (nothing close to what we are facing now), lawyers for the bank workout officers and for the FDIC had hard pressure to control our billings, but we never had a flat fee structure imposed upon us. We were monitored fairly closely. There were no mortgage loan servicers between us and the institutions that owned the loans that we were collecting. The work was not particularly pleasant, but we still took professional pride in doing it right and honestly. The banks and the FDIC seemed to care about hiring quality lawyers and to care about good (and fair) results.
When I came back into the fray about three years ago, just planning to volunteer in the Maine Attorneys Saving Homes project for a few hours a month, I was stunned to see how everything had changed. Now there were servicers whose interests conflicted with those of the loan owners. Professional pride among the foreclosure lawyers had disappeared and been replaced by a purely mercenary cadre of unskilled and not very bright lawyers who seemed to have little to no supervision from the loan owners or even the servicers who hired them and little care about whether they were acting professionally, ethically and honestly.
What really turned me hard against the foreclosure industry was my professional outrage at the sloppy, deceitful and unprofessional conduct of the foreclosure mill lawyers. Throughout my private practice career, I had believed that the American justice system was the best in the world, that the Maine justice system was honest and that, even when I lost a trial or two, I could look back and say that the outcomes were within the rough and imprecise range of just outcomes. I was angered by the destruction of my faith in our justice system as I saw patently unjust results occurring repeatedly; by the unwillingness of trial level judges to sanction obvious misconduct; by the willingness of the GSEs, as taxpayer owned entities, to abuse homeowners and even to deceive them by hiding their true roles in the foreclosure process and by duping them into defaults and into believing that they were engaging in honest loan modification efforts.
The outrage that I began to feel a few years ago is burning more hotly than ever. I am now working far more than 40 hours a week because I cannot stand by in the face of the abuses that I am seeing while I have the ability to raise some serious hell with regard to what the GSEs, servicers and lawyers are doing. For the first time in my career, I have filed grievances against some of these lawyers and it angers me that they put me in a position that I feel that I must do that. I am not optimistic about where the justice system is heading with all of this, but after over 40 years devoted to the American and Maine justice systems I am committed to doing all that one old lawyer can do to expose the rampant fraud that the system is now tolerating and the immense injustice being meted out to the little folks with no money and no adequate means to stand up to the massive power of the now obviously dishonest financial institutions.