While we criticize everyone including lenders, mortgage brokers, bank attorneys has been berated by judges lately. Now judges are lamenting and doing their scorching criticism of lawyers–notably bank lawyers. Judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or fabricated paperwork when representing their clients i.e banks. Here, is one such judge. Judge Arthur M. Schack of New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn has taken aim at an upstate lawyer, Steven J. Baum, referring to one filing as “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.” As we know, New York judges are also trying to take the lead in fixing the mortgage mess by leaning on the lawyers. In November, a judge ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay nearly $20,000 in fines and costs related to papers that he said contained numerous “falsities.” The judge, Scott Fairgrieve of Nassau County District Court, wrote that “swearing to false statements reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.”
The courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present. This also prompted a protest from the New York bar. We know that involvement of lawyers in questionable transaction can expose them to disciplinary conduct under their respective bar associations. It may reflect very poorly on our profession as a whole. The role of lawyers is under scrutiny in 23 states where foreclosures must be reviewed by a court. The situation has become especially heated for high-volume firms whose practices mirror the so-called robo-signing of some financial institutions. Robo signing, as you may know, was an accelerated process to do foreclosure without actually physically signing by someone knowledgeable and was merely a rubber stamp hoodwinked the foreclosure process.