On any given day, our office fields calls from landlords and tenants in search of legal representation. We even get the occasional walk-in or two. There is one particular potential client we cannot help. That is the landlord who has already filed an eviction case.
“Wait a minute – you can’t help people who have already filed a case?”
Well, we could help them, but, it is our policy that we don’t jump into a case mid-way through. This is a policy born from experience. I am certain that there are many firms – good ones – out there who can and will take a case mid-stream. In our experience, however, it is difficult from many perspectives to jump into a case once it has started.
First, we have to spend some time getting ourselves “up to speed” with what the landlord already did. Many clients hate to pay for us for this review of what’s already been done. Even when a client says they are willing to pay for that time, they still (deep down) don’t like it and often, they underestimate the amount of time it actually takes to get up to speed.
Second, we have to deal with any problems that we “inherit” in the case from the time before we got involved. These problems can range from faulty notices, blown dates to answer or plead, or problems in the pleadings. There is no telling what kind of problems exist.
Have we passed on clients who would have turned out to be good, if not great, clients? Surely we have. That said, I am also certain that we prevented taking on some clients who would have been dissatisfied no matter what we did or how we did it.
If, however, you are a landlord at the beginning of your rental journey and have not yet filed a lawsuit with your tenant, we would love to have the chance to discuss your case with you to see if we are a match for an engagement.