This is Where …

Broadway-0837-SlaveShip. . .I came in.

There’s a phrase that’s fast dying out. Oh, a few people still say it, usually when they get stuck listening to a repetitive argument – you know, a roll of the eyes as the speaker comes back to the same point yet again, then, “This is where I came in, I’m outta here.”

Easy to envision, we’re in the middle of a Presidential Election cycle.

Most people, though, don’t know what the origin of the phrase is. And, there’s no reason they should, it gets increasingly more archaic every day. It’s from the days when movie theaters ran features on a continuous loop. Walk in for a 4:15 show at 5:00, watch the last 45 minutes or so, then stay as the movie starts again. Bang, right back into it, you stay until you’re caught up, you leave … where you came in.

This was such a thing that some movies – Psycho, in particular – used it as a marketing Psycho_tiftool. “Absolutely No One Admitted After The Start!”

Today, there are so many ads and trailers before every movie that I, at least, need to be reminded what film I’m there to see by the time the theater finally goes dark. Even without all that, in this day of Spoiler Alert, it would never work without some form of violence.

Also – can you imagine seeing Pulp Fiction this way? Impossible to follow, I’m willing to bet.

Which – you had to know this was coming – is exactly what showing up in court after the case starts is: close to impossible to catch up. If they still let you in, because a lot of court actions come with the Alfred Hitchcock admonition, “No one … but no one” can participate after certain court proceedings start.

In court particularly foreclosure proceedings, we have to show up on time, sit through the ads and the coming attractions and go step by step, on time, from there. There’s little to no room for ‘coming in’ at any other time.

So, Trolls …

 Nothing against trolls – the fairy tale, Tolkien type trolls, that is. You know the type, big, strong, intellectually challenged, easily influenced. Big, shambling brutes that you sorta feel sorry for.

Then, though, there are internet trolls. These you sorta feel sorry for the way you felt for the Nazis in Inglorious Basterds. I had one a few weeks ago, he commented (don’t look for it, it’s long gone) on a picture of me testifying before the Connecticut Legislature about  the mediation program.

He – I should point out he is not a follower of the blog or page, he just came out of the ether – made a comment I’ve heard a thousand times in a hundred different forms. This: “Why don’t your clients just pay their bills.”

So, I did a quick click over to the guy’s page, he’s a member of a quasi-official offshoot of the Republican party and an ardent follower of the guy who would make us all great again. The irony, of course, is drippingly clear, his icon of fiscal responsibility became rich by using the bankruptcy laws.

Be that as it may, I started thinking about a response to this type of self-righteous remark. I’m certain pointing out that my clients would pay if they could because no one likes being sued or foreclosed on would fall on closed ears. I also suspect that my previous posts about the reasons people miss payments, how everyday things like divorce, job loss, or illness effect the best intentioned ‘consumer,’ would be scoffed at even while I pointed out the inevitability of one of those things happening over the course of an average mortgage.

Nah, this guy has neither empathy nor a sense of history.

So, I’d tell him this – we should all care, deeply, because foreclosed on homes are blights 4677237in the neighborhood and anchors pulling down everyone’s home values. That’s it. Simple. Unless you are the only person in the country who believes that banks do a sparkling job of managing the homes they foreclose on, you want the people who love their homes to stay there.

That’s it. Foreclosures hurt the community in a host of ways. If you’re into draconian actions to punish delinquent homeowners because of … well, whatever your personal hobgoblins are … you would do well to remember that somewhere along the line, you’re harmed by every foreclosure that goes through in your community.


Contracts, French Meals, Debt, and Groucho Marx

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.” ~ Groucho Marx

Groucho-MarxIf you’re looking for a car, or a student loan, or a credit card, or short term loan and there are investors out there dying for you to take on the debt, you have to wonder why . . . and consider deeply before joining the club.

Look at it this way: You’re walking down the street, hungry, deciding between Five Guys, In and Out Burger, and a couple of decent Chinese food take-out store fronts when the owner of a new French restaurant runs up to you, offers to set you and your friends up with a world famous 7 course meal.

You’re tempted – you’re salivating, in fact – but explain you simply can’t afford it. No sweat, he tells you, 7 courses, a couple bottles of fine wine, all the baggettes you can eat, and a dessert to die for AND you have 90 days to pay the meal off. Continue reading Contracts, French Meals, Debt, and Groucho Marx

Flow Charts, Decision Trees, Venn Diagrams, and Foreclosure Defense

decision-model-diagramI know someone who zipped through law school finals (usually the one and only grade for a class, so, hey, no pressure) by creating flow charts. Elaborate charts that, if used properly, would lead to a well organized, rational, factually-based answer. The trick for him – and anyone using it in lieu of an outline – was to properly identify the issue. Miss the issue and the flow chart was useless. Hit the issue, sit back and fill in the blanks.

Most options are, of course, at the beginning. Start with the basic issue(s) and it begins to narrow down, and down, and down to the logical end point – a logical, legally supportable result.

I thought of this last week when I was giving a short talk at the Connecticut Bar Association about foreclosure defense. I was talking about the process – always the process – and it aways came back to options. As in, what options are available to the client at what point in the process.

Like my friend’s flow charts, the options are very much front-loaded. The issue is not in doubt, but the way to a good result for the client is certainly not a straight line.

After I fielded a few questions it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, that my colleagues and I are seeing clients at the mid- to late stages of the process . . . the place where – under the flow chart scenario – the options narrow.

This is disturbing because this isn’t a legal exercise, it’s peoples’ lives. It’s their homes. It’s even more disturbing if the reason for this is because people who are going through foreclosure don’t think they have options . . . and by the time they realize they do, those options have been significantly reduced.

Either way, foreclosure defendants have a textbook worth of options at the start of the process, and need to take advantage – otherwise the flow chart looks like this:





Behind the Scenes in Foreclosure Defense . . . or Show Up Part II

In a blog post a week or so ago I wrote about the importance of showing up – a theme I’ll be writing more about in the next few days. With foreclosures it’s also important to show up – in some regard – at legislative hearings … for all the same reasons.