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Howard Law Supports California Bills That Would Forbid Lawyers and Others From Taking Advance Fees

July 17, 2009

Our Orange County loan modification lawyers have been meeting with legislators and others over the past few weeks about two very important bills intended to protect homeowners from loan modification scams. Senate Bill 94 and Assembly Bill 764, both pending before the California state Legislature, would forbid anyone in the business of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure from taking fees before they do any of the work. The professionals targeted include attorneys, who would not be permitted to take retainers or other advance payment. This directly affects our work at Howard Law, and we are proud to say that we support both bills because we believe they would protect our clients as well as the integrity of our profession.

The bills were written after weeks of publicity about dishonest loan modification companies in California that take their clients' money and do little or nothing to help. In many cases, these companies were started by out-of-work mortgage brokers or other real estate professionals whose work had dried up with the housing bust. We're sorry to say that the scammers also included licensed attorneys who took on cases they didn't have the skills or experience to litigate, in order to make a quick buck. They would often then delegate the work to a non-lawyer who didn't understand the cases. As a result, the California State Bar reported that it was getting 800 to 1,000 calls per month about dishonest lawyers who took clients' money and did nothing -- just like the brokers.

We believe these laws would ultimately protect homeowners by taking away the easy profits that encourage the get-rich-quick crowd and the outright scammers to enter the loan modification business. In fact, even though the law would delay our compensation until the end of the case, we believe it would help honest law firms like us by discouraging competition from lawyers without the skills to actually help. Under the new law, our Encino loan modification attorneys will go back to the practice of filing lawsuits right at the beginning of cases, when appropriate, while also pursuing loan workout negotiations. That's something we only stopped doing as a courtesy to lenders, to allow them to work out loan modifications without the expense of hiring an attorney to do what they should have been doing all along.

Based in Anaheim, Howard Law LLP has an active loan modification practice, helping homeowners make changes to their mortgages that allow them to stay in their homes. Unlike the foreclosure prevention scammers that inspired these laws, our Temecula loan modification lawyers have a clean ethics background and a track record of success that we are proud to show potential clients. While no reputable attorney can promise specific results, we believe part of our effectiveness stems from the fact that we are attorneys -- meaning we can and will sue a lender if we believe it has violated our clients' rights. Our ultimate goal is always to win a loan modification that lowers clients' monthly payment to a realistic number and keeps them in their homes for the long term.

If you are at risk of foreclosure and your lender isn't responding to your calls and letters, Howard Law can help. To learn more at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us via email or call us anytime at 1-800-872-5925.