Novice defines many foreclosure attorneys

MIAMI, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Almost half of the attorneys working at the largest foreclosure firms in Florida have scant legal experience, a newspaper's survey found.

The Palm Beach, Fla., Post reported Monday that a review of Florida Bar records found 48 percent of the attorneys at four law firms specializing in foreclosures had less than three years experience as lawyers.


The law firms known as "foreclosure mills" are at the center of a controversy over fraudulently handled paperwork.

The four firms, including David J. Stern's firm based in Plantation, Fla., had 260 attorneys on their payrolls at the start of 2010.

Numerous court challenges to foreclosures due to short cuts by law firms caused several national lenders to suspend pursuit of foreclosures in court.

As the controversy grew, many of the attorneys at the Stern law firm left, but found work at other firms working on foreclosures.

"It's like a game of Whac-A-Mole. These unethical, dangerous attorneys just pop up somewhere else," said Lisa Epstein, who manages Forclosure Hamlet, a Web site that advocates for homeowners.

Foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner said, "The attorneys are the key. They played an essential, critical role in all of this. But I know the younger attorneys had no idea what they were doing."


But managing attorney at Gulfcoast Legal Services, a non-profit firm in Saratoga, Fla., said inexperience was moot. "I'm really surprised that lawyers would approach the practice of law in this way and file sworn documents that are not valid."

"They are so insensitive to their obligations," she said.

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