Suffice it to say there are a lot of those banalities that come to mind on the news that “Baum to shut down foreclosure law firm; at least 90 expected to lose their jobs.” But notwithstanding their overuse, the clichés underscore the truth and power of karmic justice.
Apparently not happy with the notoriety of once having handled some 40 percent of all the foreclosures in the state of New York, the law firm went one better when the news broke about a 2010 office Halloween party that made the firm even better known as the “NY foreclosure firm that threw Halloween party mocking homeless.” Also see “Classless foreclosure mill lawyers.”
Of course, if there was ever a basis for gloating, it would understandably come from all those foreclosed-upon homeowners who were blithely tossed out on their keisters by the firm’s client mortgage servicers.
But as concerns the law firm and its associates, could this be one of those hackneyed “teachable moments”? Assuredly, after mocking the downtrodden with such a mean indifference, a life lesson does present itself. Perhaps the cold-hearted can yet find warmth through rediscovered humanity and relearned grace and compassion?
Then, again, maybe not. Here’s a case in point. As reported in a follow-up column by NY Times Columnist Joe Nocera, who first broke the firm’s unseemly Halloween story, principal Steven J. Baum sent an email blaming Nocera for having “destroyed everyone and everything related” to the law firm.
So there’s a reason that old lawyer joke still gets rehashed:
An elderly patient needed a heart transplant and he discussed his options with his doctor. The doctor told him, “We have three potential donors. The first is a young, healthy athlete who died in a car crash. The second possible donor is a middle-aged businessman who never drank or smoked and who died in private plane accident. And the third donor is an attorney who died after practicing law for 30 years. Which do you want?”
“I’ll take the lawyer’s heart,” the patient replied. After a successful transplant, the doctor asked the patient why he had chosen the lawyer’s heart. “It was easy,” he explained. “I wanted a heart that hadn’t been used.”
But as for those homeless families on the outside now looking in, if ever a healthy dose of schadenfreude was called for, it’s now.