J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

I had a gentleman come in recently that had gotten behind on his house payments here in Houston last year, and then when his house was posted for foreclosure, he got a letter from an out of state law firm.

The law firm gave him legal advice about how to file a "bare-bones" or skeleton chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, which he did, paying them $2800.00.

And then they told him to ignore everything else he received, because they were going to handle it. Unfortunately, they did not handle it, and the bankruptcy was dismissed. Then the house was foreclosed on.

Then the mortgage company (which bought the house at foreclosure), filed an eviction suit against him, and got a judgment for eviction. By the time this gentleman came in to see me, it was too late. He had lost his house.

Please, if you want to hire an attorney to help you stop your Houston foreclosure, make sure that they are licensed to practice law in Texas. This is not the first time that I've seen this happen, in a similar case it was lawyers from California practicing law here, without being licensed here.

That likely constitutes the unauthorized practice of law, and could even constitute a crime under Sections 38.122 and/or 38.123 of the Texas Penal Code. Why do people hire lawyers from faraway places, over the phone or internet, to handle a legal case pending here in Houston? I don't understand it.

If you want someone to help you save your Texas home from foreclosure, hire a Texas attorney. And don't wait until it is too late! If you cannot even go to their office and meet with them when you need to, that is a bad sign. The gentleman that lost his house found out the hard way that he should have hired a local Texas attorney.

Have you had an experience in Texas with an attorney not licensed here? Did it go well or poorly? Do you think lawyers should be able to practice law in other states without being licensed to practice law there? Please leave your comments below!

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