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What’s the deal with KEL Attorneys?

It’s rare that I talk openly about other foreclosure defense attorneys or bankruptcy firms, especially in a manner that could be construed as negative.  I respect the foreclosure defense industry a great deal, as I do most of the attorneys in it.  That said, I’m exceptionally concerned about some things I’ve seen in recent days from Kaufman, Englett & Lynd PLLC, a.k.a. KEL Attorneys. 

First, there was this article, which explains how KEL has been banned from practicing bankruptcy law in the Middle District of Florida.  Banned!  I don’t know the particulars, but I have to imagine there were some serious offenses here to cause a judge to take such an extreme measure. 

Meanwhile, I am suing KEL Title Insurance Group on behalf of a client.  The case has nothing at all to do with mortgage foreclosure; it’s a title insurance issue.  Apparently, however, KEL Attorneys have parlayed me being opposing counsel in this lawsuit into the mistaken belief that I am somehow an existing client of KEL on a pending foreclosure case. 

To illustrate, in recent days, I hae received multiple email solicitations from KEL Attorneys, including one trying to solicit me for credit repair and another trying to solicit me for a lawsuit under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.  In a third email, KEL gave me a login and password to my own, personal page on their website, where they were supposedly storing confidential information about my pending foreclosure lawsuit.  The emails are such that KEL clearly believes I am an existing client of theirs in a pending foreclosure case. 

I don’t have a foreclosure lawsuit against me, and I certainly don’t have KEL Attorneys representing me in such a lawsuit.  I can only speculate that KEL believes otherwise because I’m opposing counsel in a lawsuit against their title company.  Respectfully, though, it’s quite a stretch to think I’m an existing client in a pending foreclosure simply because you got my name as opposing counsel in a pleading in a non-foreclosure case.  Is that a mistake?  Undoubtedly.  But in my view, that’s a pretty big – and pretty careless - mistake. 

I’ve seen KEL advertise a lot – TV, radio, etc.  It seems that Matt Englett, their managing partner, does nothing except advertise.  Respectfully, it seems to me like KEL should be doing a little less advertising and pay a little closer attention to their files.  That sounds harsh, but they have a lot of cases, and Florida homeowners deserve better.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

Posted in Main | 45 Comments »

45 Responses to What’s the deal with KEL Attorneys?

  1. Pingback: What’s the deal with KEL Attorneys? | Foreclosure News Online

  2. Hunter says:

    You are right to be concerned Mark.
    I too usually refrain from speaking negatively about fellow lawyers, but these guys are just over the top. I am amazed how they have mistaken you as a client. It appears they are a marketing machine with little to no concern for the clients they “sign up”

  3. Jon says:

    I won’t go into extreme detail and try to bash on any business, but KEL is a “Sales” organization first, and help second. It is understandable that you must have revenue to make a business, but revenue cannot be the ONLY focus.

    I have personally had a consultation with KEL and did much research on foreclosure/strategic default before I went in, but in NO way am I an expert. Expecting to meet with an attorney for my consultation I was surprised that I only got to meet with a “client counselor.” The issue here is the “counselor” was basically a sales rep trying to get you to sign a retainer. I had many questions I wanted answers to and for the most part the response was: “I am not sure.” Well, I was not sure either; this is why I was looking to have a useful consultation. In the defense of the client counselor, he/she did try and get a couple answers; but by no means all of my answers.

    All in all I was told to sign the retainer and we can figure it out from there. Huh? I don’t sign things without thinking them through. A mortgage being the largest financial decision most people have to make means I also need time to think, research, and have answers before I sign. Apparently most people just sign and move forward blindly.

    I have friends who are attorneys in other states who admittedly don’t know much on the foreclosure topic, as they work in other areas, I asked if this was normal. Simply put the response I got was if they are begging you for a retainer and making multiple calls to you after the consultation, how desperate are they for money versus how much will they actually help.

    • M. Novak says:

      From personal experience KEL are “bottom feeders”. They prey on the misfortune of the depressed, distressed, and desparate. Kind speaking Matt Englett gets on the radio and TV and pimps their practice. Once you get in their office they have you. It’s all the same story. $2500 down (with payments) and they do nothing more than you can do yourself. If you pressure them, they do even less. The way they operate I would swear they are tied to the same ones that are trying to make the public homeless. STAY AWAY FROM THESE FORECLOSURE WHORES.

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  5. Marie says:

    I came across this article as I was doing some research on foreclosure defense; and, sadly, my husband and I were two of the uninformed individuals who retained KEL attorneys to help us fight our foreclosure. In the process of speaking with them we were advised to enter into a debtor workout at the same time. Fast forward two years and several thousand dollars and we are still in the middle of our foreclosure (thankfully with a different attorney who is doing his best to fight for us despite the mess created by KEL) and we are now facing judgements on several credit accounts because of KEL’s advice. I would obviously NEVER recommend them to anyone I know. I have filed a complaint with the Florida Attorney General, but that turned out to focus more on the problems we had with our lender and failed modification attempts.

    So, here is my question for you… Do you know if there are any Class Action Suits in the works (or grounds for such) against KEL? They are clearly taking advantage of people who are at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. I think what they are doing is just as bad as some of the predatory lending that led to the foreclosure mess in this area. I know that people are very quit to judge people who fell behind on their mortgage or took bad advice. However, until you are in a situation where you are desperate to save your home you never know what you might be willing to believe.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      This doesn’t strike me as the sort of thing that gives rise to a class action. Rather, each person who has been damaged by KEL could file a suit on their on behalf, in their own names.

      I understand what you mean about feeling desperate. That’s what makes it so important for law firms to be honest. For what it’s worth, I am friendly with many foreclosure defense attorneys in Florida, and KEL is pretty universally disliked in the industry (for many of the reasons you discuss).

  6. desperate says:

    unfortunately, I have retained KEL and I thought I had done my research by calling the Florida Bar and checking to be sure that each attorney at the firm was in good standing..I didn’t make a haste decision because it took me 6 or 7 months before I gave them any money…after 1 year of attempting to get the mod directly from my bank I was unsuccessful and decided to seek legal help…it turns out that KEL appears to be as political as the banks are…I have never spoken to an attorney directly and each week I get emails requesting the same documents that have already been given to them..when I call for an update I am instructed to check the portal or send an email to client status…I wish I had come across this article earlier because I would have never retained this firm..the phone call were continuous when I was in the process of deciding whether or not I would retain them and all of sudden once the retainer agreement was signed the call stopped except for solicitation for credit repair.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      I’ve been told that KEL Attorneys prohibits phone calls with clients under the terms of their fee agreements (requiring that all communication be via email).
      That’s pretty wild if you ask me.

  7. Charles Bkack says:

    We could never get past a legal clerk. William Sanchez was listed as our attorney but we never met him. A lot of contact with paralegals and clerks. We did close but had a couple of answers after hearing about giving up our home (which the counselor and an attorney? said we had to give up). We never received answers direct no matter how hard we tried. We still have need answers but were told sorry you have release from court your case is closed. I think we were given bad advise about home but I guess it’s too late.

  8. Bobby Sinnott says:

    I can’t believe the Florida Bar hasn’t come down on KEL for their obviously fraudulent TV commercial, wherein over a hundred people are standing on a skyscraper balcony and the huckster partner say, “Everyone you see here is an attorney.”

    Sorry… No way that commercial is honest. And if everyone on that balcony IS an attorney, then I’d be willing to bet it was some random reception hosted by KEL and they don’t all work for KEL.

  9. steven says:

    I just read your posts, please explain what you would be able to do differently if I retained your firm?
    I am not impressed with KEL but they have been retained through 2011.
    I have tried to do this myself starting in 2009 with no luck at all. Just not sure what better representation your firm might offer a distressed homeowner like myself.

  10. Hazel says:

    KEL law firm resigns from Better Business Bureau amid client complaints

    An associate attorney adds a case to the hearing scheduling… (JOE BURBANK, ORLANDO SENTINEL)

    November 02, 2011|By Richard Burnett, Orlando Sentinel

    Peppered with complaints by former clients, the KEL law firm has been forced to resign from the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida — the first area law firm to be ousted in the business-rating agency’s 27-year history, the local BBB chief has confirmed.

    The resignation of Orlando-based KEL, formally known as Kaufman, Englett & Lynd, from bureau membership followed a jump in the number of complaints during the past year and the BBB’s determination that KEL had “failed to resolve the underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints,” the agency’s latest report states. The agency gives the firm an F rating — a rarity for a law firm.

    This article is why I am getting concerned. Please contact me..

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I was a paralegal working for KEL. My heart ached everytime people called me wanting to get answers. I was instructed by the attorney not to address their questions!! After a few months butting heads with same attorney for not returning phone calls or filing documents timely, I was “let go”. Now I am not sure if I am being blacklisted because I am having problems finding a job!

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  14. Denise says:

    KEL got me too. $2,750 and they tried for a 2nd year another $2,750, but I stopped short, realized I had been duped and filed a complaint with FL Bar. Haven’t heard anything, but…..definitely do not recommend KEL. I think the only attorneys there are the names KEL – never met with one or spoke with one, only counselors.

  15. Garett says:

    STAY AWAY FROM KEL! Their service and response time is so poor that they have now put me in a position of a foreclosure instead of the short sale I hired them to represent me in! It is nearly impossible to get any correspondence from them. Maybe after you leave numerous voice messages or emails you may end up getting a response a week or 2 later but by that time it’s too late. Throughout the 2 years they “represented” me (I use that term VERY loosely) I spoke to several employees who admitted that they are so overwhelmed with the number of clients they are assigned to that they can’t spend the time necessary to “work” (another term being used VERY loosely) on each client’s case. I have also been told by employees that they have designated customer service reps who do nothing else all day but handle a continuous stream of phone calls from upset and frustrated clients. One even told me that KEL has full time security on staff to secure their office because, almost daily, frustrated clients show up at their office demanding to speak to someone about their case because they have been ignored. Oh and get this, the 2 lenders for my property ended up contacting me to ask for help reaching KEL to discuss my case. KEL wouldn’t even return their calls or emails! One of the lenders even had to go as far as to have their legal department write a letter to KEL asking them to respond. The lender was trying to negotiate my short sale so that I wouldn’t be foreclosed on! Can you believe it? The lender had more interest in helping me with a short sale than my own attorney!! KEL are unethical and money hungry predators. STAY AWAY! My family and I have been victims of their shady practices. I was virtually forced out of their office after asking for a partial refund of the $5,000 I paid them. Their extreme lack of effort and care ended up with me losing the opportunity to short sale my home and now I face a foreclosure. There’s more. I could go on for hours with unbelievable, almost laughable (if it didn’t hurt so bad) experiences I had with them over the past 2 years. Let my and hundreds of other’s horrible experiences serve as a warning. Protect yourself and your family and look elsewhere for proper representation. I don’t know if I have grounds for legal action against KEL but I am motivated to somehow put a dent in their business. Maybe picket outside their office on “walk-in Wednesday” in an effort to deter others from hiring them?

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  17. Randy says:

    Stay Far Far away from Kel
    I had paid over 3,000,oo no returned calls back,or emails. they spent more time on trying to get your money then they leave you and move on to the next,i did not even go into a short sale or forclosure yet then my contract was up and they did nothing for the 3,000.00 but wanted more money to keep my file open, i could not meet with a attorney, i Final walk in one day and said i had a appointment never did,and requested my money back, short of asking me to leave the office, of course not one dime was given back just bad advise,
    i also would like to go downtown on Wed and pass out flyers and have signs wanting money back!!! anyone in!!!! lets do this, i already said i was going to but more people would be better

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  19. Maria says:

    I applied for a job with KEL 3 years ago as a foreclosure fraud researcher. Matt Englett was impressed with my resume and sent me an email with cc’s to 2 of his team leaders stating he wanted me on his team. The first director called me to say his team was full didn’t have any openings but the second team leader was interested. I asked the 1st team leader what his team did and he told me to ask the 2nd team leader. When team leader # 2 called, I asked him the same question and he responded “I’m the director who’s thinking about hiring you”. Never got a straight answer. Never met Matt Englett but his team leaders weren’t attorneys but long time buddies of ME. Neither struck me as being well educated professionals.

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  23. Brett says:

    I have retained KEL to represent me in liquidating five investment properties. So far, four have successfully been disposed of via short sale. All deficiency judgments waived, and bank refunds/incentives paid to me totaling $42,000.

    I have the one last property currently under contract for short sale and hope to close within a month.

    Maybe I was lucky? Sure, you have to stay on top of KEL, but you can’t expect to blindly hire an attorney and expect them to do all of the work and research for you. Every time I email the attorney directly, he replies within an hour. I have also spoken to two attorneys via phone calls that I scheduled beforehand.

    I have no issues with KEL. I have had to “trust but verify” several times with them, but I am not one to sit back and hand my case over to anyone without proper supervision. That would be irresponsible.

  24. Bonnie K says:

    I hired KEL to represent me on a loan modification after my lender served me with foreclosure papers. I had been trying to get a loan modification on my own for almost 2 years. Not only did they get me the loan modification,it only took 6 months from start to finish. I think the key here is what the above poster said, don’t just blindly turn your case over to anybody. You have to check in with your case, by emails or phone calls. I even hand carried some of the requested documents to the Orlando location to be sure my paperwork wasn’t “lost”. Yes, due to the large size of the practice,some things did’t make it right to the place it needed to be, and I did have to send some papers more than once, but I did it right away. I also stayed in contact with my lender to let them know my case was being handled by an attorney, and that I wanted to keep my home. The long and short of it is this… it’s YOUR home. If you want to keep it, stay in the loop. If you are not satisfied with your attorney’s progress, fire them. You probably won’t see a lot of satisfied clients on this website because they’ve moved on. Just thought someone might want to hear a success story for a change!

  25. Renee says:

    I am unfortunatly a client of KEL attorney’s and have been so for 3 years. Apparently our “case” has not yet progressed out of the paper work portion! As my husband beleives whole heartedly in this company to save our home. I do not have not for the last 2 years. We are on our 3rd year of paying for their attorney fees, the last update of communication they have had with our lender was in 2010. Not acceptable. In the 3 years of having this case which of course was started due to my husband’s loss of job when his company was sold, in 2009, we now have a sink hole on said property, when I asked KEL they told me to call my lender. Anyway my question is this, is there any more help we can get and where do I go to help our family? I feel we have been treated unfairly, in the 3 years of paying them so much money I could have spent that money purchasing another home, buying my son much needed braces etc. I beleive my family and I have been scammed and I am asking for help. Please anyone advise us on where we need to go from here. I greatly appreciate it.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      Hi, Renee.

      This is a very sensitive subject, as I don’t want to be seen as undermining your relationship with your current law firm.
      That said, I’ve blogged in the past about the fees that some foreclosure defense firms charge, includng this post, here – http://www.stayinmyhome.com/blog/2010/11/paying-a-foreclosure-defense-lawyer/.

      Also, your complaints/concerns are, quite frankly, why I don’t charge a monthly fee. I don’t think it’s necessary, and I don’t think it’s fair to homeowners such as yourself to pay that money when that money could have gone towards your own savings (and, ultimately, another house).
      I do think it’s possible to charge a monthly fee and do so fairly, and I know some firms do so, but there should be a LOT of work getting done on your case if that is the situation.
      Passively defending a foreclosure case but charging monthly is not fair, in my opinion.

      Mark

  26. Taylor H. says:

    We worked with KEL attorneys on our short sale for almost 2 years with absolutely no movement. They were horrible, really bad customer service too. A friend referred us to Kara Homes, a local real estate office that specializes in short saless and other similar things and they got our short sale done in less than 6 weeks or so. they did this for FREE… whereas I was paying KEL through the nose. So, I can’t recommend Kara Homes enough, but also just generally I think that any experienced realtor is better than paying attorneys to do the same thing.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      Taylor,
      Please don’t judge all lawyers based on the performance of KEL.
      I don’t know the realtor to which you refer, but the biggest problem with a realtor is that they can’t defend your foreclosure lawsuit.

      Mark

  27. Jill Walters says:

    Stay away from KEL at all costs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hired them 14 months ago and have had nothing but issues with them since we began. Everything that’s been posted about them is true, and I’m no closer today to unloading my condo then I was when I first signed my contract. They have not contacted me directly in 6 months, as I am the one to iniate all calls too them. They are very prompt in cashing my checks and sending me paperwork to renew my contract though. Not enough space to write about all of the issues we’ve had with them, but they clearly want to cash checks and sit on these cases indefinitely. Looking for another attorney to help me now DIL my property and we live out of Florida. Makes me sick that I trusted this company and paid them so much money to do so little in 14+ months. I wish there was more than an “F” rating with the BBB- thats what they deserve.

  28. Karen says:

    I just made the big mistake of hiring KEL and have been experiencing numerous problems. I’m disabled on a limited income and need good legal advice. I can’t afford to pay KEL and get some real legal help. What are my options if I signed a 12 month contract for a flat fee?

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      Karen,

      I don’t know what your fee agreement entails, but I’ve often been told my firm is less expensive than KEL.
      Please call if you’d like a consult. 888-450-1549.

      Mark

  29. Bob says:

    My daughter is an attorney and told me that KEL is not a place you want to have on your job resume. I just wish I had asked her before I had hired them. We never hear from them unless it’s time to renew our contract and the price goes up each time. We’re in the third year and still trying to do a short sale. It’s very frustrating dealing with them and I would not recommend them to anyone.

  30. KEL associates Speak Out! says:

    Don’t be fooled by KEL Attorneys

    KEL Attorneys – Misleads consumers thinking attorneys answer the phones. It’s a minimum wage sales associate who gets a bonus for every consumer who signs up for legal services. If you set up one of their free consultations you then will spend majority of the time with a non-attorney. The actual attorney will come in for about 10 to 20 mins and that’s it. Also the attorney that does briefly come in isn’t even your attorney. They too get a bonus if you sign up.

    Don’t be fooled by KEL Attorneys!

  31. After my company dowsized and i was forced to take a position making 1/3 of what i was making i needed help contacted bank of america for help and at first they agreed to do a loan modification after i was unsuccessful doing it myself a friend sugested KEL.to make a long story short pd KEL 3.000 pd500.00 mo auto debit from my actt at first every week they requested the same documents after they got the money i dint here from them when the year was up they wanted me to pay againwhen i dint they droped my case i never spoke to a lawyer r paralegal had to hire someone else that would help me . Kel are crooks that legally steal people monies that are in need of help and they do this hinding behind the legal system .

  32. nonya says:

    I too hired KEL attorney’s from one of their seminars Worst mistake of my life, got the runaround and total confusion just as the above posters, no in person appearances from said “counsel” Requests for hearing by my counsel of which counsel never set a hearing date, so that point or filing got dismissed or approved by opposing counsel they promised to “defend my case” in turn I was shoved thru mediation of which was of course denied by the bank, and ALL of my rights were not preserved which could have been preserved within plenty of time and I have now lost my home to a scamming bank who never had a note or mortgage to begin with….how do attorny’s allow this to happen? I think we all need to sue for malpractice in our own names, I think a class action would only return pennies on the dollar anyway
    STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE KEL SCHEISTERS

  33. cathy says:

    I also hired KEl in aUGUST OF 2010. i WAS TOLD FOR A LOAN MOD IT WOULD BE BEST FOR ME TO DO IT A CHAPT 13. WITH THAT SAID IT TOOK 9 MONTHS FOR THEM TO FILE THE CHAPT 13 WITH A HOST OF ISSUES IN THAT TIME FRAME. ONE OF THE ISSUES WAS THAT MY CAR WAS IN MY AND MY MOTHERS NANE DUE TO A CAR ACCIDENT AND KEL TOLD ME I HAD TO PUT THE CAR IN THE BK. INSTEAD I ASKED IF I COULD PAY IT OFF WITH A 401K LOAN AND I WAS TOLD THAT IF I WANTED TO DO THAT I NEEDED TO PAY IT OFF BEFORE FLING, WELL THE COURTS NOW WANT ME TO PAY WHAT THE CAR IS WORTH $5000. i WILL BE ENDING MY TIME WITH THIS LAW FIRM AND TRYING TO GET A LOAN MOD ON MY OWN AND WILL BE STOPPING THE CHAPTER 13 MARK STOPA IF YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HELP IN THIS MATTER??????

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