Steven J. Baum PC Foreclosure Law Firm to Close

Published in New York Law Journal: November 22nd 2011 – By Andrew Keshner

New York’s largest foreclosure firm, Steven J. Baum P.C., yesterday announced “mass layoffs,” signaling that the firm is closing its doors. The move followed recent decisions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop referring new cases to the embattled firm.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae recently dropped the Baum firm from their attorney networks but spokesmen for the government-sponsored enterprises declined to discuss the reasons behind those decisions (NYLJ, Nov. 16).

Last month, however, the firm came under fire after photos from a 2010 Halloween party where employees donned costumes spoofing the homeless surfaced in a New York Times column by Joseph Nocera.

Ivan E. Young of the Young Law Group in Bohemia exclusively handles foreclosure defense, with about one-third of his approximately 200 cases handled by the Baum firm for the plaintiff lender.

Mr. Young expected another firm would eventually become the leader in lender representation.

“It’s only a matter of time before another firm steps up and becomes a foreclosure mill,” he said, adding “the most immediate impact is the logjam on all these cases Baum has been representing.”

Mr. Young said when defending against actions represented by the Baum firm he would raise defenses including perceived conflicts of interest with staff attorneys signing off on MERS assignments and poor cooperation from Baum attorneys.

“I think that when you play loose for an extended period of time, it tends to catch up with you,” he said.

The Baum firm has been called a “foreclosure mill” by critics, a term Mr. Baum told the Law Journal earlier this year he found “offensive.”

Mr. Baum observed in a February 2011 profile that foreclosure attorneys are “an easy target for criticism.”

“[W]e don’t see firms being called ‘securitization mills’ for the vast number of mortgage securitization work they did,” he said. “If what we did was easy, there would be hundreds of firms doing it, yet there are about a dozen who actually practice in the area” (NYLJ, Feb. 17).

The New York State Attorney General’s Office is investigating the Baum firm, according to media reports. Read the full article at NewYorkLawJournal.com