Archive for January 22nd, 2014

A Tale of Caution for Pro Se Homeowners

I had a hearing recently.  As always, I had prepared beforehand, so I was ready and I was confident.  As the hearing time arrived, though, I had to wait.  This hearing was on a mass-motion calendar, such that several hearings in various cases were all scheduled at the same time.

Frankly, it often feels like a waste of time, having to wait and watch other cases while waiting for my turn.  That said, it’s sometimes interesting to watch other lawyers argue.

Anyway, as I was watching these other cases, waiting for my turn, I realized that one lawyer’s argument was exactly the same as the argument I was about to make.  Same facts, same argument, same judge.  When that lawyer lost (“motion denied”), I was discouraged.  My argument, after all, was the same.  And that lawyer, frankly, hadn’t done a bad job.

About 30 minutes later, it was my turn.  I argued the same issue, just in a little different way.  “Motion granted.”  Case dismissed.

Why would a judge rule differently on the same issue and the same facts in less than an hour?  From where I was sitting, just one thing was different – the lawyer.

Maybe that judge knows I can (and will) go to the appellate court.  Maybe that judge respects the work I’ve done and passion I exhibit representing homeowners.  Maybe there’s something about the way I argued it that made the judge agree.

Whatever the reason, ask yourself this.  If a judge can deny that first lawyer’s argument, when he did a pretty good job and presented the argument correctly, how do you think you’ll fare as a pro se homeowner trying to argue it yourself?

This is one aspect of this blog that has always troubled me.  I want to help educate the public and spread information.  But this information has to be used in the right way.  If you think you can copy a form or something you’ve read here and use it to win, please take this story as a word of caution.  Foreclosure defense isn’t just presenting the right argument – it’s making the right argument at the right time in the right way (and, often, from the right lawyer).

Mark Stopa

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