If you would like to start doing modifications, I would say that would be a very good decision. A modification can really help people: They can stay in their homes, lower their cost of living, salvage what they can, get general advice about whether they should file bankruptcy, and have more money to survive and help their children.
Modifying mortgages is the practice of law. Most of the non-attorney modification companies have been driven out of business. The clients need an attorney’s help, and the lenders will take the modification more seriously if the client is represented by counsel.
So if you want to start doing modifications, we are available to help you. For us this is straightforward legal work. We feel that we mostly have it figured out. Most of our cases turn into successful modifications.
However, every file is different. Modification can be very tricky. There are a lot of mistakes you can make, dead end streets you can go down. Lenders will decline a modification and not tell you why. Often they do not tell you why because they do not know why. They will just say: “It came out NPV negative”. “Net present value negative” means that the bank will probably lose less money if they foreclose than if they modify. When you ask why the result is NPV is negative they will say, “We just ran the loan through the NPV program and it came out negative”. The NPV program is a black box, and when the servicer puts bad information in, a bad result comes out. You have to figure out why the result was negative and adjust accordingly.
Most of my clients have tried it on their own. I find that people who do their own modifications either fail to get a modification or get a poorer modification than we could have gotten for them. I look at modifications non-attorneys have obtained on their own, and the modification is often not very good.
If you want to share a case, we would draw up a memo about working together and split the work and share the fee in a fair way. I will supply you with all the forms including fee agreements.
Obviously I am not going to co-counsel with other lawyers right here in the Lynnwood area, but I would be glad to help attorneys in other areas.
If you have a potential modification client: Discuss the situation with him or her. Gather as much information as you can. Email or call me, and we will decide how to proceed. I prefer to talk with clients briefly for no charge. The next step is to offer them a 1.5 hour consultation for an agreed on fee. I will tell them everything I can about their situation. If I believe I can help them, I offer them a flat fee package to handle their modification. People prefer flat fees.
If I find I probably cannot help them, I tell them so and turn down the case. If I am fairly certain I can help them, I take the case. If it is only possible I can help them, I tell them that the outcome is uncertain but that I can possibly do better for them than they could do on their own. Every situation is different, and some outcomes cannot be predicted with certainty.
Note, that I am only licensed to practice in Washington. I no longer take cases in other states unless I have a sponsoring attorney in the other state. Property and foreclosure laws are too different from state to state for me to feel comfortable working there without co-counsel.
So if you are an attorney licensed in another state, and want to get started in this interesting practice, I would be glad to share the work and the fees with you.