Promises that are too Good to be True...

Posted on October 26, 2009 08:20 by Bill Ireland

Regardless of how we feel about lawyer advertising (I'm old enough to remember when it was mostly not allowed and then when it was pretty limited), many of us in areas affected by the mortgage foreclosure crisis have seen lots of advertisements from lawyers advertising their ability and willingness to help homeowners threatened by foreclosure. That has always seemed surprising to me since I've never been sure what most lawyers can do for most of those cases. The answer seems to be that they can take their money and then do little to actually help their clients.

Unsurprisingly some State Bars have been responding to this. Last month the California State Bar identified 16 lawyers who were under investigation for so-called loan modification scams. That was surprising for several reasons including the fact that lawyers were identified who were under investigation but no formal charges had been filed. There may be as many as 200 lawyers under investigation.
Several lawyers have given up their law licenses--and others are under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission as well as the California State Bar.

I'm not sure how I feel about this--glad to see policing of lawyers--but "outing" them before formal charges are filed seems to have potential for abuse. I do know that it is incredibly refreshing to see some pushback on preposterous advertisements by lawyers.

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Grounds for Vacating Arbitrator's Award

Posted on October 26, 2009 08:18 by Bill Ireland

While the case is under California state law, the willingness of the California court to vacate a clearly wrong Arbitrator's award in Buriage v. Superior Court, 2009 DJDAR 14999 is refreshing to see. It appeared in the October 22, 2009 Daily Journal so will be available elsewhere soon.

The Arbitrator made some odd rulings on admissibility of evidence--and then awarded remarkable damages. Its nice to see some willingness to have judicial review of arbitrator's awards, and decisions. It is frustrating however to see that the Court of Appeal refused to identify the specific Arbitrator whose award they refused to allow to stand. I can understand their desire to protect his or her anonymity, but parties don't get that protection in published opinions, and other than wanting to protect a peer, its hard to figure out the reasoning for that decision.

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