A May, 2008 article by Mark Hamblett, published in the New York Law Journal reports, “March 22, 2007, right on the cusp of a five-year statute of limitations, Jerry Brooks was indicted for allegedly lying on forms he needed to win a contract. His attorney argued that the period for bringing charges had expired because 2004 was a leap year. A New York judge has rejected that idea — to the disappointment but not the surprise of the attorney, who said, ‘This is something that wasn’t really litigated or touched on before, so we thought we’d give it a shot.’”
Ah yes, I have to applaud the inventiveness and old-fashioned gumption of an attorney that would seriously present a judge with the idea that a date, which doesn’t exist, could actually be missed as a deadline, and result in no charges on a fraud case. Inspiring.
For all that, please do not confuse a tinge of sarcasm with disrespect: Not only does this example demonstrate the zealous advocacy that I hope I present to and for my clients, but it underscores the importance of explicitly addressing “technicalities.” Though often overlooked, taken for granted or simply ignored, there are real and concrete technicalities that companies and employees inside those companies, must manage on a daily basis that can have very real and costly results.
The banking and mortgage industry does a better job than most in identifying and addressing technicalities. Given the new status and heightened demands of compliance since 2008, it would be redundant and a waste of space to review examples from specific company’s profit-generating objectives. You know what you’re doing, or at least what might happen if those technicalities are ignored. Think about what might happen if the “and” rather than the “or” is struck through on a real estate contract… or installment payments are scheduled for February 29 of each year… These seemingly small details could cost a house, a commission, a client, and perhaps worst of all: jeopardize a reputation.
So on this February 29, take the extra day to consider some of the details that may be overlooked throughout “regular” years: write the thank you notes to repeat customers, or be the colleague that rinses the coffee pot. Yes, those are helpful and considerate, and sometimes overlooked. But in the spirit of creativity, and in the example of Mr. Brook’s attorney, don’t be afraid to also newly appreciate little details and seeming technicalities for the opportunities that they are. How have you lately showcased your own in-depth knowledge and expertise by finding and sharing some little tidbit that could improve the corporate climate, save a customer some money, spot a mistake in their credit report, or find a niche program that could lower their interest rate? It is those little details that set you apart in this competitive market, bring referrals and establish strength for you in this business. So, Happy Leap Day, and remember some small details can really help make successful leaps.
Attorney Kate Knowlton is the founder and lead attorney of Knowlton Law Group, LLC and a corporation counsel for Inlanta Mortgage, Inc.
Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.