Our Attorneys

Mr. Rick A. La Trace

Member

ral@johnstoneadams.com
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Main:(251) 432-7682
Direct:(251) 441-9255 
Fax:(251) 432-2800 
P.O. Box 1988
Mobile, AL 36633
 


Attorney Assistant

Cathy Hearn
t: (251) 441-9271
ceh@johnstoneadams.com

Rick La Trace is an experienced lawyer who represents lenders and financial institutions in special asset matters, where the client's primary goal is asset recovery. Working with clients on their commercial and residential troubled loans, Rick has deep understanding of their business objectives, knows what their cost and risk profiles are, and understands the borrowers' industries. This ensures sensitivity to what clients need, immediate response times and a promise that not a minute will be wasted.

Immigration is also an active part of Rick's practice. Representing large foreign employers with operations and offices in Alabama, he advises them on all aspects of immigration compliance and visas, and has represented clients under federal investigation or audit for alleged Form I-9 violations and employment of individuals not authorized to work in the U.S. Rick handles every immigration question, filing, administrative matter or controversy.


Representative Experience

  • Handled one of the single largest foreclosures in Alabama consisting of the consecutive foreclosure of 80 condominium units with dozens of bidders present. Subsequent to the foreclosure, represented the lender in multimillion dollar deficiency litigation and defended multi-million dollar lender liability counterclaims against bank.
  • Successfully worked with a banking client to negotiate and secure workout agreements for numerous defaulted commercial loans by large residential property developer.
  • Advised a banking client on and successfully obtained court appointment of receiver to preserve operation of existing bowling alley on mortgaged property to secure rents, evict tenant, and protect value of property pending judicial foreclosure.
  • Represented a banking client in foreclosure of a large residential subdivision. Filed multi-million dollar deficiency lawsuit post foreclosure against borrower and guarantors. Borrower and guarantors filed multi-million dollar counterclaims against banking client. Successfully negotiated settlement of all claims prior to trial.
  • Assisted client in UCC repossession of all of borrower's asphalt paving equipment and subsequent sale of equipment at auction. Obtained missing motor vehicle titles on some repossessed equipment and negotiated settlement with IRS on some equipment for which IRS claimed superior security interest to client.
  • Conducted over 1,000 non-judicial and judicial mortgage foreclosures of both residential and commercial properties for lenders in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, for which the process included initial loan document review, title review and analysis, demand letters, handling intervening bankruptcy filing by mortgagors and post foreclosure ejectment actions.
  • Regularly assist lender clients in creditors rights matter including preliminary analysis of clients secured and unsecured claims, perfection of judgment liens, fraudulent transfers, discovery in aid of execution, and judicial lien enforcement.

Representative Immigration Experience

  • Successfully defended client in two I-9 audits by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including design and implementation of hiring and I-9 compliance policies.
  • Regularly advise small and large business clients on employment eligibility verification matters including hiring process, I-9 Form, E-Verify, creation of compliance policies, and conducting external audits of clients I-9 forms and practices.
  • Obtained multinational executive immigrant visa (EB-1) for local steel manufacturer.
  • Regularly assist a mental-health provider in securing H1-B non-immigrant visas and employment-based immigrant visas.
  • Coordinated with Chinese immigration officials to obtain travel visas for 30 employees of local stainless steel manufacturing plant to train at foreign facility in China.
  • Regularly represent individuals locally and abroad with familial immigration matters such as marriage to a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent residence, naturalization, and other matters where clients are in removal proceedings.

Honors and Awards


Professional and Community Involvement

  • Member, Bar Association of the Fifth Circuit
  • Member, Mobile Bar Association, 2014 Chair Ad Hoc/Lawyer Mentoring Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association

Seminars / Presentations

  • Advanced Issues in Real Estate Law Seminar, December 2013; October 2011
  • As Judges See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make Seminar, December 2013
  • MERS and Securitization in Foreclosure Litigation Seminar December 2012
  • Fraud and the UCC in Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation in Florida Seminar, November 2012
  • The Frustrated Closer: Common Issues in Florida Real Estate Transactions Seminar, December 2012
  • Real Property Foreclosure: A Step-by-Step Workshop, October 2010
  • Florida Residential Foreclosure Cases: Litigation Issues, Strategies and Skills Seminar, October 2010
  • Legal Issues in Real Estate Foreclosure Seminar, November 2009

Admissions

  • 2002, Alabama
  • 2003, Mississippi
  • 2003, Florida

Court admissions 

  • U.S. District Court (including bankruptcy courts) for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama, 2002 
  • U.S. District Court (including bankruptcy courts) for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, 2003
  •  U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2003 - U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2003
  •  U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2003


Attorney Assistant

Cathy Hearn
t: (251) 441-9271
ceh@johnstoneadams.com


Related Practices:


Education:

  • J.D., with honors, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2002
  • B.A., Criminal Justice, summa cum laude, Saint Louis University, 1997
  • B.A., Psychology, summa cum laude, Saint Louis University, 1997