Closing of law firm Steven J. Baum alters NY foreclosure landscape

Steven Baum
Big changes could be coming to the New York State foreclosure process now that law firm Steven J. Baum PC, which handled about two out of every five foreclosure cases in the state, has shuttered, the International Business Times said.

Baum announced it was closing yesterday, after being investigated by the U.S. District Attorney and blacklisted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly mishandling foreclosure documents. The firm also generated controversy when photos of employees dressed as foreclosure victims were recently published in the New York Times.

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According to the International Business Times, Baum’s business would likely be divided among many local firms, who have intimate knowledge of the different laws in various regions of the state. Stuart Saft, partner and chair of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s global real estate department, said having local firms take over foreclosure accounts would likely benefit distressed homeowners who will get better access to the attorneys handling their cases.

But because foreclosure cases that were being reviewed by Baum will likely have to be restarted by a new firm, the move could further delay a process that’s already moving at a snail’s pace. But rival attorneys see the Baum closing as a step in the positive direction, as the firm’s owner “gave the legal profession a black eye,” according to one attorney. [IBTimes]