In defence of lawyers- maybe they should not go to the bottom of the ocean just yet.

LawyerI am getting regular comments on my blogs attacking me and attacking lawyers in general so I thought I would write a blog that defends lawyers.  I have been a lawyer for over 12 years now.  I Lincoln-lawyershave done many things before the law so it is not the only profession I know.  I am now doing bankruptcy law but I have practiced in the areas of Immigration and Landlord/Tenant also.

It is well-known that many people do not like lawyers.  They are considered dishonest, greedy, self-serving “blood suckers” by many.  In fact one of my kids favorite movies is Jurassic Park where the lawyer is openly called a “blood sucker” to his face and he is the first to be eaten by the T-Rex as he hides on the toilet.

Shakespeare has a line in a play about them all being killed and lawyers are the butt of many jokes like one that puts them at the bottom of the ocean (like drowned rats) as a good start.  On talk radio they are skewered often and many talk show hosts seem to consider them the root of all evil.  They seem to be blamed for many evils in society.

For those of you that have been around long enough it reminds me of what police were thought of in the 1960s.  Many hippies and radicals wrongly thought of the police as the cause of all ills in society at that time.  The implication then was that if we just got rid of them then society and everyone would be better off.

But I remember what I read in a “Mad” magazine once when I was a youngster in the 1960s.  A hippy was protesting the cops and holding up signs calling them “pigs” in full view of the police officers.  Then a mugger came along and robbed the hippy of his wallet.  He immediately called out “help, help police” and the cops did not help him and responded with “no one here but us pigs”.

And the same is true of lawyers.  The same people who say they hate lawyers will call one very quickly if they are sued, or served a divorce, set upon by the IRS, or especially if they are arrested.  The lawyers will dutifully come to their aid and help them.  What if they didn’t?

And you may say” but lawyers are paid so well for their work”.  Not always.  Many in private practice are losing money because running a law office is expensive and clients are hard to come by and they often don’t pay their lawyers.  You would be surprised at how often and how much lawyers talk among themselves about their struggles in getting paid by clients and their resulting financial difficulties.

Also it is true as you may have suspected that there are too many lawyers out there for the available clients.   And remember that things are far worse and lawyers are getting even fewer clients now with the recession.

Lawyers are well aware of their reputation.  I work in a building with a hundred lawyers and we talk about this stuff.  We know we are hated and under-appreciated.  I once got a quote from a lawyer that was very interesting:  “Your lawyer in practice spends a considerable part of his life in doing distasteful things for disagreeable people who must be satisfied against an impossible time limit in which are hourly interruptions from other disagreeable people who want to derail the train; and for his blood, sweat, and tears, he receives in the end a few unkind words to the effect that it might have been done better, and a protest at the size of the fee.”

This partially reflects the lawyers perspective.  He or she is doing these difficult tasks for difficult people under pressure and they are rarely happy with it.  And this is he can even get a client in this recessionary environment.  It is no wonder that lawyers suffer from problems with drugs, alcohol, depression, and suicide.   Very often lawyers become disillusioned with law and leave it altogether because doing it everyday is not what you might think.

Most lawyers I know now in private practice are certainly hurting now.  Business is down, clients are scarce and money is tight.  Clients just don’t have money to spend.  These lawyers are not getting rich or blood sucking but just trying to survive like everyone else.  They have kids in school and house bills to pay too.

And remember that many are providing a valuable service.  They provide this service to many people and get very little in return.  They are often doing things like helping people in very bad marriages break up peacefully, or getting people out of deep debt, or keeping people out of jail, or fighting off a lawsuit that could potentially ruin them.  In addition they are defending those against the government which has unlimited resources to come after anyone of us.  And who is going to defend you when that happens?  Only a lawyer can.

So don’t put lawyers at the bottom of the ocean yet.  In Shakespeare’s Henry VI play the character who says “kill all the lawyers” is trying to stage a revolution, take over the country, and establish himself as king.  He knows who will stop him.  Those that know the law, the Constitution, and how to get things done in court and throughout the legal system.  The lawyers would stop him from taking over so character asking to kill the lawyers is the villain in the story and the lawyers are the heroes.  This quote is usually used in the opposite way in which Shakespeare intended it.

So the next time you are being “mugged” (i.e. sued) in court by a private party or by the government remember who is going to help you.  The lawyers and only the lawyers will and only the lawyers can.  They are the heroes of our story here.  When you call out for a lawyer to defend you be nice to them.  You don’t want the lawyers to respond with “nobody here but us drowned rats”.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Lawyer clipart courtesy of OCAL.  Lincoln quote courtesy of mrsdkrebs.

How to kick out a squatter from your home or condo in California. If police won’t remove them then you must evict.

I have written several blogs about the squatter phenomenon in America and around the world today.  There is a whole squatter movement that preaches that squatters have the right to occupy vacant homes.  As I wrote in a previous blog………..many groups are pushing the “housing as a human right” philosophy and encouraging people to take over homes that are unoccupied.  They seem to feel entitled to these homes because they believe the banks were responsible for the financial meltdown.  Whatever the justification the squatter movement is leading to a situation where vacant homes are being occupied.

It is common now that a bank will foreclose on and take back a home only to have it remain empty for a period.  During this period the squatter moves in.  A hapless individual buyer may then purchase the home in the foreclosure sale or from a middle man.  The homeowner would then be presented with the squatter problem.  He may not have been told by the bank and the bank may not have known themselves about the squatter’s existence.  Some squatters don’t make their occupation obvious.

Now the problem is that of the current owner.  These squatters can be angry, violent and have been known to attack owners or property managers inspecting property.  The people inspecting may have no idea that the squatter was there.  I reported on this in a previous blog: http://bit.ly/Iyo3g4 .

The squatters rights movement is made all the more possible and widespread by the foreclosure crisis in America which left this large number of homes vacant.  The reality is that someone does own these homes.  They are either owned by the bank or by some business or individual.  Eventually someone, either as owner or renter, will legally attempt to occupy it.  If there is a squatter in there then this could be a problem.  At that point it does not matter if the squatter is just a lone criminal or someone spurred on by a political movement.  He is now the homeowner’s problem.

Many squatters present phony, fraudulent rental agreements to anyone attempting to challenge their occupation of the premises.  This present a problem because there is an appearance of legitimacy created by the phony document.  This is enough to ward off the police who view this as a legal dispute which needs to be heard in court.  In California the police will therefore probably refuse to get involved when called and tell you to get an attorney and evict the squatter.

This is what I recommend too.  A client of mine just told me he has a squatter in his condo and I told him the same thing.  He needs to evict the squatter immediately.  The squatter should be given a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit (or a 3 day notice to vacate the premises because there is not rental agreement or agreed upon rent amount).  The notice must be delivered properly and done in the proper format in case the squatter gets a tenants rights lawyer.  In California tenants have many rights and as landlord you must be sure to do everything correctly.

Once the 3 day notice is created, signed and delivered personally or by what is called “post and mail” then the 3 days must elapse before you file and eviction.  Post and mail means you post a copy and mail a copy to the resident/squatter.  You may not know the squatter’s name so that creates another problem too.  Now you file the eviction and serve it with a process-server on the squatter.

The next step is defaulting the squatter if he does not answer but if he does then you have to set the case for trial.  If he does not show at trial then you get a default judgement and if he does then you must show that you own the property or you are an agent of the owner.  If you own the subject property then you can go in at that point and say to the judge that this is a squatter with no legal rights/lease/rental agreement.  Let the squatter show his phony lease to the judge.  It is unlikely to hold up in court.  If it does then you can object and at least demand rent be paid.  Be sure to be ready to testify to how long you believe the squatter has occupied the premises so you can demand rent for that whole period.

Chances are the whole thing will break down before this point and you will win.  I do recommend a good tenant’s attorney though because these are complicated procedures that need to be done correctly.  Remember that “self-help” is not allowed in California and this is the proper legal process if the police will not remove the squatter in the first place.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.