Monday, April 04, 2011

What kind of lawyer do you want to be?

This isn't directly about IP, but my guess is that it's worthwhile reading for lawyers of all stripes.  This transcript involves a judge sanctioning a bank for noncompliance with a court order (to post a bond--the bank "lost" the mortgage note, which here means "never had the note in the first place," since that's how securitization rolled, and the court ordered it to post a bond in case the real holder showed up; the bank decided not to post the bond, and then the bank foreclosed despite the pendency of a HAMP modification under which the borrower was making payments, in contradiction to what it told the court).  

The court declines to sanction the bank's lawyer individually because of concern for his career, but puts the lawyer under oath and asks him about what was going on with this mortgage.  He doesn't have much of an idea--he infers various things from what his client told him to do, but he's missing key facts and dates.  And he filed the papers (and decided not to post the required bond) anyway.  The judge points out the harm to the court system the bank's conduct caused, notes that there are 60,000 of these foreclosures in the system, many apparently subject to the same systematic error and disrespect for law, and asks him: what kind of lawyer do you want to be?

I think I'll be assigning this relatively short transcript in my first-year property course.

1 comment:

Frank said...

I'm glad you'll be sharing that. As Joseph Stiglitz has argued, "The mortgage debacle in the United States has raised deep questions about “the rule of law,” the universally accepted hallmark of an advanced, civilized society. The rule of law is supposed to protect the weak against the strong, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. In America in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, it has done neither."