I don’t do magic (despite owning four bunnies that I could pull out of a hat).
I say this because I occasionally have a client who has heard of a legal maneuver to solve her problem, yet is too good to be true. In a particular case, my client faces a foreclosure on her home after her bankruptcy is over. She has no income, and therefore cannot modify her mortgage. She has lived there rent-free and mortgage-free for three years.
She found a fellow named Jean Keating, who purports to have 50 years of experience at defeating foreclosures. I read his published materials (and you can too here, here and here). My opinion: this is total gibberish.
I have no problem with, and indeed welcome, clients getting a second opinion. That is, so long as the other opinion comes from a licensed authority. Or someone sane.
Mr. Keating suggests that I present a “letter rogatory” to my client’s bankruptcy court. A letter rogatory is an ancient procedure whereby one court asks a foreign court to subpoena someone in, say, Argentina. It doesn’t do anything in a local bankruptcy court. The foreclosure will go on and I can’t stop it.
Keating’s arguments sound very much like the claptrap I occasionally heard at the IRS – such as characters who believed a fringe on a flag meant the court was illegitimate, or that Ohio wasn’t technically a state when the 16th amendment was passed, or that the government has no authority and therefore, the government may not tax income.
Unscrupulous people sell foolish hope to desperate folks. I hate delivering harsh reality to my clients, but it is part of what I do. I could charge my client and try to follow Keating’s procedures, but I know that it won’t save her home. Failure here might hurt my reputation. More importantly, it would hurt my character: I cannot, in good conscience, take money to do something that I know won’t work. In short, I am merely an attorney, not a magician.
June 4, 2015