STATE BAR ASSOCIATION PROGRAM INCREASES NUMBER OF PRO
BONO ATTORNEYS TO ASSIST HOMEOWNERS FACING FORECLOSURE
Free Continuing Legal Education Seminar Provides
Training for 250 Volunteer Attorneys to Help Represent Homeowners in
Foreclosure Settlement Conferences
In its continuing effort to address the foreclosure
crisis and fill the need for enhanced pro bono civil legal services, the
New York State Bar Association, in conjunction with several local bar
associations, sponsored a free CLE seminar and at the end of the day,
more than 250 volunteer attorneys had the tools and resources to assist
homeowners facing the growing threat of losing their homes.
Significantly, each participating attorney also committed to provide pro
bono legal services to a homeowner going through foreclosure settlement
The residential foreclosure training program was held yesterday at
the Queens County Bar Association in Jamaica. Queens and Kings
have been among the hardest hit counties in the State, with more than
4,600 foreclosures and 3,000 foreclosures filed this year,
respectively. Suffolk County, where a similar CLE training program
is being planned, has been the hardest hit county with nearly 5,900
foreclosures filed as of November of this year.
“With the number of foreclosures rising into the tens of
thousands across New York this year alone, it is absolutely essential
that we mobilize as many volunteer lawyers as possible to assist
homeowners,” said State Bar President Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox
“Through outstanding training programs, members of the
Association really stepped up to assist in ensuring there are critical
civil legal services available to homeowners in these difficult economic
times. I commend all of the attorneys who donated their time and
expertise to these worthwhile initiatives that I know will make a big
difference and will undoubtedly help many struggling families to save
their homes,” Leber added.
The initiative is a joint venture co-sponsored by the Empire Justice
Center as part of the NYS Subprime Foreclosure Prevention Services
program administered by the NYS Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR), along with the Queens County Bar Association, the
Brooklyn Bar Association, the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project, the
Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, and the State Bar Association.
For attorneys who were not able to attend, the program will be
recorded, and course materials will be made available both online and to
all local bars and legal service offices throughout the state to help
train more attorneys to handle residential foreclosure cases.
A new law that took affect on September 1, 2008 entitles all New York
homeowners with subprime loans in foreclosure to mandatory court
settlement conferences that provide a forum for the lender and the
borrower to meet together with a mediator with the ultimate goal of
achieving a workable resolution to avoid foreclosure.
The CLE training seminar also provided attorneys with background
information regarding the foreclosure process, and explained the
potential remedies that borrowers can employ to protect their
homes. An expert panel of attorneys, educators and civil legal
service providers gave an overview of recent legislation and discussed
how new developments may effect the ability of borrowers to negotiate
short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, forbearance agreements, and
other settlement tactics. Attorneys participating in the training
seminars also received eight credits toward their CLE requirements.
The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the
largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in
1876, the Association's programs and activities have continuously served
the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993