When There’s Blood on the Streets Buy Property - Using Current Events To Build Your Client Base

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I attended a small gathering recently and was privy to an interesting discussion among several attorneys. One of the men was lamenting the fact that his practice was suffering from a lack of clients. He was blaming the slump on the economy and complaining that if things didn’t change soon he’d have to let go several of his employees. A couple of others in the group were nodding in agreement expressing similar laments. Though there was a single member of this group who sat quietly with a smug look on his face. When asked how his business was doing he smiled and answered that he was having a record year.

Of course, the others were amazed. Almost in unison they asked how it could be that this one attorney could be having such a good year in the midst of all the economic uncertainty. Again, the man, who went by the name Peter, flashed a smug grin and simply said, “Current events.” He then excused himself promising to return shortly. He left the group buzzing about his answer.

When he returned Peter was bombarded with questions. What did he mean, current events?

I’m not sure that he was playing coy or simply playing with them but he answered the question with more questions. The first of the questions was a simple query about what was happening on the national scene. People offered answers. They mentioned the upcoming election. They mentioned the economy, the war, the rising price of gas and food. They covered almost everything that was an issue of importance currently – everything except the right answer, that is.

Finally, he relented and offered up the answer while still maintaining control of the group. He answered starting with yet another question. He asked what the catalyst that had triggered the current recession had been. And again, he was met with several varied answers. He waived his hand in the air as if to stop the babbling and simply said, “The sub prime mortgage crisis.”

Peter explained that there were literally thousands of people locally as well as nationally who had recently bought homes or refinanced and had been grossly misled by various members of the mortgage and banking professions. People were losing homes to foreclosure and many of those who were managing to hang on were only doing so with a great deal of struggle. At this point someone asked how this was a boom to his business. And again he smiled though someone else in the group answered the question for him.

A man named Carl offered the opinion that the mortgage crisis was no accident and had come about as a result of some very unscrupulous practices in the profession. His comment was immediately complemented by the successful attorney, Peter. He went on to say that he presently has more than 20 clients all of whom had encountered various levels of fraud or misrepresentation during their loan process. Some of the clients had received inflated appraisals on their properties stating the home was worth much more than it actually was. Others had signed documents prepared by overzealous mortgage brokers that contained fraudulent statements. He finished by saying that the sub prime mortgage mess was a litigator’s wet dream and that there was more than enough business in the niche for every attorney in town.

Following his explanation, the discussion turned to how to go about exploiting such a bonanza. One of the group members who was primarily a family practice attorney specializing in divorce commented that pursuing mortgage clients wouldn’t fit his practice so it wasn’t something he’d be able to do. Another attorney claimed that mortgage fraud litigation wouldn’t be a good fit for him because his primary business was personal injury.

Peter listened politely and finally chuckled and said confidently that almost all lawyers in private practice were primarily contract specialists. He said that after all was said and done that most legal matters revolved around contracts. He went on to say that a mortgage was nothing more than a contract and what was important was how the contract was originally represented and created. Then he said that virtually any attorney could secure mortgage fraud clients and farm out the heavy lifting to the specialists in the field. Finally, he hinted that mortgage fraud litigation was only one way to capitalize on the ‘current events’ business opportunity pool. There were more.

The group casually pondered the possibilities and how they might fit each member’s particular circumstances and practice. It wasn’t long before someone asked Peter what additional business might be found under the current events niche.

Peter smiled again but rather than continue his cat and mouse act simply said, “the stock market.” He then pointed out how much trouble many of the major banks were in and how much equity in these banking securities had evaporated over the last couple of years. It was obvious that he was familiar with the overall situation as he explained that much of the trouble in the banking sector had come about as a result of unethical and unsound business practices.

He said that individuals and funds heavily invested in the banking sector had sustained heavy losses. Then he once again smiled a sly smile and explained that when people lose value in their investments as a result of fraudulent or negligent management they have grounds for a suit with the company. And again he emphasized that it wasn’t necessary to be a securities specialist to secure these clients because any attorney could contract the actual legal work out to securities lawyers.

Before he was asked again Peter mentioned that there were similar opportunities to be found in the real estate foreclosures along with facilitating real estate short sales. Then he went back to playing smug and said, “Yesiree! Business is Booming!”

It was easy to see that Peter was enjoying current events.