One of the nation’s largest foreclosure law firms, Butler & Hosch, surprised everyone by shutting its doors once and for all on May 14th, leaving around 700 attorneys and employees jobless without warning. Based in Orlando, Florida, the firm has represented banks and lenders on over 60,000 cases across the nation, so their sudden closing is likely to have widespread effects in the courts.
In fact, already the Florida court system has been struggling to keep up with the backlog of foreclosure cases ever since the Great Recession. Now, officials worry this development could make matter worse.
“This is a big deal because it’s going to end up clogging up the court even more,” said Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock to the Orlando Sentinel.
A greater number of law firms nationwide are having to expand their practice areas in order to survive, especially those dealing in real estate and land use. For instance, Icard Merrill, a full-service Florida law firm based just a couple hours away from the recently deceased Butler & Hosch in Sarasota, has over 15 individual practice groups that provide legal representation in all manner of practice areas – including business, commercial, and construction litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning.
However, while expanding the practice works for some, it can also be a double-edge sword, as Butler & Hosch found out too late. According to CEO Robert Hosch Jr., the expansion was the reason for the firm’s sudden demise. “He claimed that lenders were unwilling to extend anymore credit to the firm,” said the Sentinel.
In other words, to survive and thrive, the modern law firm must walk a fine line. Of course, those who are able to do so stand to profit bigtime.