Why did I entitle the book Occupational Hazard?
In the mid-90’s, a client had a mortgage loan refinance closing scheduled. The holder of a subordinate mortgage that was to be paid off as part of the new financing was in bankruptcy, so a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee needed to sign off on the payoff amount and collect it and distribute it to the debtor’s creditors. I had delivered to the trustee in advance everything he needed to confirm the correct payoff amount, and he confirmed that he would complete his review and be ready by the proposed closing date. For reasons I forget, the trustee informed me at past the 11th hour that he was not ready and that the closing would have to be adjourned. I was beside myself, but maintained my cool and contacted the various parties promptly so they would not come to the closing unnecessarily. I was unable to reach a young attorney for another mortgagee who had already left his Long Island office to travel all the way to downtown Brooklyn. When we finally spoke on the phone, I told the attorney how terrible and embarrassed I felt and I apologized profusely. I never forgot what this fine young gentleman of an attorney said to me in response: “Please, do not worry. It was not your fault. This kind of thing is an occupational hazard for us attorneys.” These words stuck with me and I decided that they would be an appropriate title for this book, expressing the kinds of pitfalls and minefields that attorneys sometimes encounter as part of the practice of law.
I have actively begun to write the second installment of the Al and Mick Forte series. I will only say that Mick’s cousin Eli B. Ativa, who is mentioned in Chapter 12 of Occupational Hazard, will have a central role in the next book which I hope to publish in 2019.