Best Law Firms

Folks & O'Connor, PLLC

American Legal & Financial Network (ALFN)


 

Practice in Detail: Mortgage Default Servicing

Location | Attorneys | Scope of Services | Reporting Capabilities | Additional Attorney Information | Other Information

Folks & O’Connor is an Arizona law firm that limits its practice almost exclusively to representing banks and other lending institutions — such as representative clients Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — concerning consumer and commercial foreclosure, loss mitigation, bankruptcy, eviction, creditors’ rights collection litigation cases, loan workouts and certain real estate related matters. The firm’s current client list includes many national and regional banks located in the Southwest and several mortgage servicers.

Folks & O’Connor is keenly interested in participating in bank and mortgage servicer Designated Counsel Programs to provide legal services concerning residential mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and REO closing cases in Arizona. This summary is intended by Folks & O’Connor to supply bank and mortgage servicer officers with background information and documents to evaluate our firm’s law practice and qualifications and feel confident in making a decision to add the firm as participant in your firm’s Designated Counsel Program.

I. LOCATION

Folks & O’Connor’s offices at 1850 N. Central Ave., Suite 1140, Phoenix, Arizona 85004, is the only location where our firm handles Arizona foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and REO closing cases.

II. ATTORNEYS

Larry O. Folks, Eugene F. O’Connor II and Lisa S. Kass are responsible for managing the foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and REO cases in the Phoenix office.

Managing member Larry Folks is our lead residential mortgage foreclosure, loss mitigation, bankruptcy, eviction and litigation attorney. He would be your company’s primary contact. He is a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist (Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and American Board of Certification). He and his staff represent clients concerning a full range of non-judicial and judicial foreclosure legal services in every county of Arizona.

Mr. Folks is the Chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona for 2009-2010, a member of the Executive Council of the Bankruptcy Section, a court-appointed panel mediator of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in and for the District of Arizona and has been an active member of the Arizona bankruptcy bar for more than 20 years. He is also a former judge pro tem of the Superior Court of Arizona. In addition, he has been a foreclosure trustee for many years, is a member of the Arizona Trustee’s Association and a member of American Legal & Financial Network (ALFN). He is a 1988 graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law and was admitted to practice law in Arizona on October 21, 1988.

His practice has always been limited almost exclusively to representing banks, the RTC and other institutional lenders concerning credits ranging from small dollar consumer loans on a volume basis to multi-million dollar loans in bankruptcy proceedings, non-judicial and judicial foreclosures, creditors’ rights litigation, eviction litigation and loan workouts. Since the mid-1990s, Mr. Folks  has successfully represented clients in more than 10,000 Arizona residential foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.

Before co-founding Folks & O'Connor, Mr. Folks was a partner of the national law firm Kutak Rock LLP and, for many years, chaired that firm's Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure department. For several years that firm's national team of foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys represented The Associates and other major lenders on a very high-volume basis concerning residential mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.

In the late 1990s, Mr. Folks dedicated approximately half of his law practice to real estate transactional matters. During that time he participated in and was responsible for closing many sophisticated commercial real estate transactions related to representing a REIT that extended securitized construction, equipment and real estate loans to fast-food franchisees to acquire, construct, sell and lease-back and refinance Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chili’s and other restaurants nationwide. He also has closed many residential real estate transactions for banks primarily in the context of deed-in-lieu, loan workout and REO sale transactions over the years.

Gene O'Connor has over two decades of significant experience in foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction, creditors’ rights litigation and loan workouts. For the nine years prior to co-founding Folks & O’Connor, he was a First Vice President and Associate General Counsel of JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA (formerly Bank One) and was in charge of all of the bank's middle-market and large-market bankruptcy and loan workout cases in Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

Mr. O'Connor began his legal career at a large Wall Street law firm, where he worked on major bankruptcy cases, including the Texaco bankruptcy. For eight years he was an associate in the Bankruptcy & Restructuring Department of Arizona's largest law firm, Snell & Wilmer, LLP, where he represented lenders concerning most of the major Arizona bankruptcies filed.

He was admitted to practice law in Arizona on October 22, 1994.

Associate Attorneys

  • Lisa Kass is a senior associate with significant experience in representing residential mortgage lenders in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure and eviction cases. She has worked directly for Mr. Folks since 2000. Ms. Kass would represent your firm in bankruptcy, excess foreclosure sale proceeds actions and eviction cases. Ms. Kass is a 1996 graduate of the John Marshall Law School and was a member of The John Marshall Law Review. She was admitted to practice law in Arizona in 2001.

Paralegals

  • Carmen Ruff, who joined Folks & O’Connor in 2008, is one of the most experienced foreclosure paralegals in the State of Arizona, with more than 20 years of paralegal experience specific to foreclosures and title issues. For several years she worked for Arizona’s largest foreclosure firm where, as a primary paralegal team leader, she was responsible for thousands of foreclosures. She also worked in the trustee's sale guaranty department of Security Title.

  • Sara Sanchez is a highly experienced paralegal with about ten years of experience in bankruptcy, eviction, foreclosure and mortgage deficiency litigation matters. For many years she served as the executive assistant to the managing partner of a major foreclosure law firm and his primary associate; together they processed thousands of foreclosures annually and had a high-volume residential mortgage bankruptcy and eviction practice.

  • Tina Sedlock, a full-time billing assistant, has extensive experience with a wide range of electronic billing and reporting programs, including iClear, DataCert, Examen and NewInvoice. 

III. SCOPE OF SERVICES

Folks & O’Connor completes all of the legal services for foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and REO closings referred to our firm with the following limited exceptions:

  • We use the services of a licensed and bonded bidding firm, to cry out and credit bid at our foreclosure sales scheduled outside of Maricopa County, Arizona. We hold all Maricopa County sales at our Phoenix office and complete those sales without any assistance.

  • We will occasionally retain local counsel to attend eviction hearings in outlying counties, but that it is a fairly rare. Usually, we can handle these hearings by telephonic appearances, but occasionally we will retain qualified local counsel. 

IV. REPORTING CAPABILITIES

THOffice. Folks & O’Connor uses a sophisticated foreclosure tracking program, THOffice, that is popular among several high-volume foreclosure firms in Arizona. The paralegals input the data to commence the foreclosure sale process which then results in THOffice generating the required foreclosure documents and an automated timeline that includes all of the statutory milestone deadlines required by Arizona foreclosure law. The system also includes “to do” prompts on a daily basis to ensure that no deadlines are missed and allows the paralegals to make notes concerning the progress of cases. Certain information related to our pending sales input into THOffice may be accessed on-line.

TimeMatters. Folks & O’Connor uses the TimeMatters software program to docket and track its mortgage deficiency, bankruptcy and eviction cases. The system allows the attorneys and paralegals to input information concerning each case and it includes “to do” prompts for milestone events during the case.

Other Systems. Our firm’s employees are trained and have significant experience in using client required electronic reporting systems such as VendorScape, iClear, NewTrack and NewInvoice and certain other electronic client required tracking and reporting systems. There is no question that we have the capability to adapt to any reporting or billing requirements of your firm. 

V. ADDITIONAL ATTORNEY INFORMATION

 Section II describes the qualifications of the attorneys of the firm. Please note the following additional information:

  • The firm, Larry Folks and Gene O’Connor are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

  • The firm is a member of the:

  • Mr. Folks has been a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist for more than 15 years (certifications by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and the American Board of Certification).

  • Mr. Folks is a past-chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona (2009-2010) and is a long-time member of the Section's Executive Council.

  • Mr. Folks is a member of the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization, which oversees the approval of certified specialists by the State Bar of Arizona.

  • Mr. Folks is a court-appointed panel Mediator of the United States Bankruptcy Court in and for the District of Arizona.

  • For the past three years, Mr. Folks has been a judge pro tem of the Superior Court of Arizona in and for the County of Maricopa.

  • Mr. Folks has spoken at a number of bankruptcy and foreclosure seminars. During 2008, he was the primary speaker at the following two seminars:

    • "Nuts and Bolts of Bankruptcy Mediation," U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District Of Arizona (May 14, 2008)

    • "Arizona Mortgage Deficiency Litigation," State Bar of Arizona Convention (June 19, 2008)

 VI. OTHER INFORMATION

Upon request, Folks & O’Connor will supply client references and the following additional documents in support of its request to be evaluated to perform legal services for your firm:

  • Certificate of Professional Liability Insurance

  • Firm brochure, including attorney biographies

  • Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook addendum describing the firm’s timeframes for foreclosure, bankruptcy and eviction referrals

  • Catalogue of foreclosure, eviction, bankruptcy, collection and creditors’ rights legal services offered by the firm

  • Memorandum describing the firm’s computer network

  • Letter confirming Mr. Folks’ reappointment as a judge pro tem of the Superior Court of Arizona

  • Letter confirming Mr. Folks’ AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

  • Certificate confirming Folks & O’Connor’s current membership in the Arizona Trustee Association

  • Letter confirming Folks & O’Connor’s current membership in the American Legal and Financial Network (AFN)

  • Letter confirming Mr. Folks’ certification as a specialist in business bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification

  • Certificate confirming Mr. Folks’ certification as a bankruptcy specialist by the State Bar of Arizona

  • Letters of recommendation from sitting bankruptcy judges, the then-chairman of the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona, and several banking clients in support of Mr. Folks’ professional abilities.

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