I’m not even going to pretend to know what it is like on the front lines of a legal practice in America. I’m not an attorney. But it must be tough because good attorneys keep falling for the rope-a-dope pitch from some debt relief companies to put their law license on the line. Vito Torchia, Jr. was one of those young attorneys.
In the interest of disclosure, over the years I’ve traded emails with Vito. In fact he’s a very likeable guy who has learned some tough lessons and paid a steep price for his involvement in Brookstone Law Group.
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As best as I can summize, the legal ideas behind Brookstone Law were pushed forward by attorney Mitchell Stein who is now serving a stretch in federal prison.
The Brookstone sales pitch seems to have been to persuade consumers struggling with their mortgage that they were victims of the banks and deserved their homes for free and big checks besides. The firm, Brookstone Law Group would file a big lawsuit against the banks and win, win, win. Brookstone filed more than one of those mass joinder suits, only to have them go nowhere. What did go some place was the big retainers charged to consumers with ongoing monthly payments.
While other attorneys who were involved in the Brookstone Law mess have fallen, Vito Torchia, Jr. hit the ground hard. Not only did Torchia lose his California law license but he’s now been suspended for three years in Florida, the only other state he could practice law. Vito had graduated from the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and had no prior record of discipline in either state.
The Florida Record said, “The Florida Supreme Court has ruled to suspend attorney Vito Torchia Jr. from the practice of law after being found culpable in three client matters in which he allegedly failed to provide competent legal services.”
Without disclosing too much I think it’s safe to say Vito hit the ground hard after the Brookstone mess began to unravel. Now because of his involvement in what seemed at first like a legitimate shop to help consumers, he’s learned some hard lessons, lost his law license in one state, been suspended in another, and left a professional record behind that is going to fundamentally alter the rest of his life.
I honestly feel bad for the guy and the reality is he won’t be the last to get sucked into the next debt relief scheme.