If this is your first visit to my website, welcome! My name is Christine Springer and I'm the founder of Desert Edge Legal Services and the author of this blog post.
Disclaimer: I’m a paralegal, not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice. Nothing on this website is meant to be legal advice, and there is no guarantee that the information on my blog will work for your individual situation. See a competent attorney for legal advice on your individual situation.
I started my business, Desert Edge Legal Services, right before the last foreclosure crisis happened. I was still young at the time and I had just finished my master’s degree. I got a job at a very large law firm in Phoenix months before I finished at Wash U in St. Louis, and was both parts excited and anxious to be moving to a new city and starting a new job.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan when I got to Arizona. The job was definitely not what I thought it was going to be, my relationship finally fell apart, and I was in a new city without many job connections. I hired a life coach and made some changes, one of which was starting my own business, and then everything crashed.
Arizona was hit hard and things were terrifying. There were days I couldn't get out of bed because I was so scared. I took a big risk and it seemed like my timing couldn't have been worse.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know know my views about how things are in the legal field. I was an independent paralegal at a very early stage, when nobody else was doing anything remotely close to what I was doing.
Being a trailblazer is not all it’s cracked up to be, and I didn't have any idea that I was doing anything unusual. I was naive about a lot of things, and I had no idea that I would become a whistleblower or doing anything that would piss people off.
I was under the microscope for a lot of things. At first it was because I wasn't supervised by a lawyer (I mean, God forbid!) but as the foreclosure crisis wore on, I ruffled a lot of feathers because of all the ugly things I was finding in foreclosure documents.
I was followed and harassed for who knows how long, because I was completely oblivious to it. I wasn't doing anything wrong and why wouldn't people get loan modifications?
Like I said, I was naive, but my naivete is also probably what saved me, too. I was just someone who wanted to help, an inadvertent whistleblower, and had absolutely no interest in scamming anyone.
Once I did figure out what was happening, it was frightening for awhile but eventually things unfolded that vindicated my work in helping homeowners.
I am now 47 and have lived through all of these obstacles and difficulties and I have a different perspective now. I haven’t felt in alignment personally with doing this kind of work in years. I had some other plans in the works but the pandemic knocked that all sideways.
Now, in what seems like a strange turn of events, I can see how the knowledge and experience from the last real estate crisis is valuable. I'm in a position to help others based on what I've been through.
The pandemic also took me back to being with my family, where I had to confront my ancestral issues and family toxicity. When I began peeling back those layers, I realized that a significant part of the problems I had with my business was directly related to the dysfunction in my family.
Many of us have endured societally enforced codependency through trauma and suffering. The enmeshment with codependent people and situations have forced us to adapt to things we don’t like and in some situations, don’t seem to be able to leave.
I have also figured out that I chose the legal career field in response to my family’s trauma, and now that I'm no longer codependent I have an opportunity to recreate my life in a more authentic way. The new me is no longer in alignment with my old legal career.
By extension, how I relate to my business and my clients is different now. It’s much more important to be authentic. In the past, I was afraid to fully be who I was, out of fear that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.
I could honestly care less about working in the legal field anymore. That’s the truth. I am no longer interested in fighting against a broken system.
Still, if my knowledge and experience can help people successfully navigate through their own challenging legal situations, I’m all in.
In order for me to continue doing this work, I have to be authentic about who I am and what I want, and if my business no longer serves the new version of myself, it’s time to move on.
Ultimately, what really lights me up is authentic connection with people and seeing them work through their own difficult situations. Now that I understand that choosing this work was in response to trauma, being authentic is the ONLY way I can be in alignment with any form of legal career right now.
And this authentic connection is ultimately WHY clients choose to work with me.
It also helps that I have a legal background and have worked with many other homeowners in foreclosure. I know why things are the way they are, and what to do about it. You're not going to get led down an unproductive path. Facts and evidence are what will give you leverage. That has not changed.
We all know that there are many serious problems with the justice system, so it’s no surprise that the legal field as a career is full of unpleasantries.
Lawyers are some of the most unhappy people on the planet, and their old business model doesn’t entirely work anymore because few people can afford them. There are fewer people going to law school these days, and some of these problems will naturally correct themselves, but it’s going to take time.
There are a lot of good lawyers who do care about their clients, but are frustrated that they can’t get good outcomes for average people. It’s super easy to represent the banks, creditors and corporations. The law has gradually shifted in favor of big business and this has been intentional. Also, corporations have the money to pay higher hourly rates. It simply doesn't pay very much to help the average person.
If you are ambitious, you will quickly outgrow the limited opportunities for non-lawyers in the legal field. In comparison to the medical field, where there are many options for people who want to make a good living but don’t want to go to medical school, the legal field is top heavy and is based on lawyers and what they are willing to pay.
I refuse to allow someone else to tell me what I’m worth in the marketplace.
Lawyers are also very transactional and that turns people off. They are not trained in empathy, and frequently don’t do a good job of dealing with the emotions that come up with their clients. Interacting with the legal system is incredibly stressful for people, and law firms do a disservice by not helping clients address the legal-related stressors. People are left to struggle on their own, sometimes traumatized by their experience, because they were wholly unprepared for what is happening.
These are all reasons why we will see a lot more people like me starting their own businesses in the legal field. Arizona recently implemented a new program that will allow non-lawyers to represent people in certain situations, provided you are licensed and meet certain education and training requirements. It's a good step but it's not without problems for the new licensees. But I'll save that for another blog post.
Experienced paralegals are the ones in the firm who make everything come together. We organize everything and make sure it goes smoothly. We explain complex topics to clients and are often the human face for the lawyers we work for.
I apply this same skill with my clients. In fact, I spent a significant amount of time in the last foreclosure crisis counseling people about what to expect and how to deal with their emotions on top of investigating their home loan issues.
As such, my property analytics services are part coach/counselor/guide and part analysis. I'm not going to judge you, talk over you or tell you what to do.
If you've ever worked with a professional who made you feel like shit for something you were already struggling with, you know what I'm talking about.
When you work with me, we work together and through this process, the magic happens and you come into alignment with your desired outcome, or you find another way forward.
It can feel like the system is against you, and in many ways, it is. But it doesn’t have to be traumatic and full of loss. How you engage with the situation makes a huge difference in terms of the outcome.
When you work with me, you also get the benefit of my 25+ years of legal experience and 10 years of property analytics/foreclosure defense experience. There’s a good possibility that you will need a lawyer after the investigation is complete, but you’ll be prepared for it.
You won’t have to figure everything out by yourself, and you have a compassionate person who actually gives a shit about your outcome to help.
Believe me, no one is more angry than me after I saw how they were taking peoples homes with fabricated paperwork. Seeing you beat the bankers at their own game gives me great satisfaction.
And, now that you have heard about WHY I do this work, and HOW I can help you, it's my intention for you to make an informed decision about how to solve your foreclosure problem.
Typically, homeowners work with me before they hire an attorney. We discuss what your goal or outcome is first, and then I look at the loan documents and other documents. I do a lot of research into things I find in your loan documents, and then we discuss the findings. After that, we deal with any follow up issues, and discuss the next steps. If you need additional support finding an attorney, I help with that too, and if you still have questions and concerns after we're done with the investigation, I'll be around for that, too.
Please e-mail me directly at Christine [at] Desert Edge Legal dot com to set up an exploratory 30 minute call to discuss your situation.