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UA Law Students to Help Homeowners with Mortgage Modifications

A new program at the College of Law will help Southern Arizona homeowners in danger of losing their homes, assigning law students to assist clients in securing mortgage modifications from lenders.

Starting in August, 2011, the Mortgage Clinic will place up to ten students each semester at Southern Arizona Legal Aid, where, under supervision of experienced attorneys, they will assist homeowners in negotiations with lenders for affordable terms and in bankruptcy proceedings when necessary to save homes.

The program is funded for three years under a grant from the Office of the Attorney General of Arizona, from monies obtained through a state settlement with mortgage lenders.

“Our students will be able to learn about all aspects of home mortgage transactions and get experience working with clients,” notes Professor Jean Braucher, who will oversee the clinic and teach a required companion course, called the Mortgage Crisis. The course covers a broad range of topics, from securitization on Wall Street to Arizona law of deeds of trust and mortgage notes.

“The course will examine the origins of the mortgage crisis, solutions to restore the housing market, and prevention of future bubble-and-burst cycles,” Braucher says, “and the clinic will help a pressing and unmet community need while allowing law students to gain invaluable experience in interviewing, counseling and negotiations.”

Students involved in the project will also build a bank of useful resources for the clinic and for lawyers who represent at-risk homeowners and will participate in community education and outreach.

The Mortgage Crisis course also will bring in leaders in the Arizona bench and bar to discuss the legal and policy issues with students, and many sessions will be available for Continuing Legal Education credit to practicing lawyers. “The objective is to provide a forum in the university for all stakeholders - representative of the mortgage industry, state and federal officials, and homeowners’ advocates - to understand and then find solutions to a serious problem in our state and nation,” Braucher says.


Posted:03/28/2011