Rick A. La Trace
Phone : (251) 441-9256
J.D., with honors, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law,
B.A., Criminal Justice, summa cum laude, Saint Louis University, 1997
B.A., Psychology, summa cum laude, Saint Louis University, 1997
Mr. Rick A. La Trace
Rick La Trace is an experienced lawyer who for over 20 years has represented lenders, banks, and financial institutions with special asset matters, foreclosures, replevins, commercial loans, SBA loans, workouts, and collection matters in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, where he is licensed to practice law. Mr. La Trace regularly practices before the state and federal courts in these three states.
For example, in lengthy multi-year litigation spanning two states, and successful appeals in both states, Mr. La Trace presented oral argument before the Mississippi Supreme Court on the enforceability of a judgment from another state and a commercial guaranty agreement, which resulted in the successful reversal of the trial court and a 6-million-dollar judgment against the guarantor. See Biel REO, LLC v. Lee Freyer Kennedy Crestview, LLC, 242 So. 2d 833 (Miss. 2018). Thereafter, Mr. La Trace successfully helped the client enforce and collect on the judgment. Mr. La Trace is recognized by Best Lawyers® in the area of Mortgage Foreclosure Banking Law.
Mr. La Trace also successfully argued on appeal an important case involving the interpretation of express warranties and disclaimer of warranties under Alabama’s Uniform Commercial Code as applied to public auctions that has been cited by other courts and secondary sources numerous times. See La Trace v. Webster, 17 So. 3d 1210 (Ala. Civ. App. 2008), cert. denied.
In addition to representing banks and other financial institutions, Mr. La Trace currently represents clients with real estate matters, including homeowner associations, condominium associations, property management companies, real estate purchases, sales, and property disputes—including litigation, tax sales, tax sale redemptions, tax deeds, quiet title actions, sale for partition actions.
Mr. La Trace also advises business clients on entity formation, corporate governance, contract issues, and the sale/purchase of businesses via asset and stock sales.
Immigration is also an active part of Mr. La Trace’s practice for the last 15 years. Mr. La Trace represents individuals and businesses with family and employment-based immigration. Some examples include, marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, fiancée visas, visas for children and other family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents outside the US; and on the employment side H-1B, EB-2, EB-3, and TN visas. Additionally, Mr. La Trace provides guidance to employers on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, including best practices for completion and retention of the Form I-9, issues regarding foreign workers, and government audits. Mr. La Trace is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
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
- 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.
- 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