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Daily Real Estate News  |  March 22, 2011  |   Law Students Help Foreclosed Home Owners
Through a pro-bono program at Capital University’s Law School, about 50 law students in Ohio are working with home owners who are facing foreclosure and showing them how they may be able to stay in their homes by getting them more involved in the foreclosure process.

Capital Law professor Peggy Cordray launched the program in the fall. "I thought the program would be helpful to the students, but also to the home owners," she says.

Cordray says she hopes the program will help more home owners get involved in the process and find a solution to stay in their home, rather than just turn over the keys.

Few home owners pursue a settlement or see the process through, according to county statistics. In Franklin County, Ohio, 9,649 foreclosure cases were filed, but only about 1,800 home owners--less than 20 percent--pursued mediation through the county’s Mediation Foreclosure Project. What’s more, only about half of those 1,800 actually showed up at mediation.

"One of the things we find is home owners are very intimidated in even coming to court," says Eileen Pruett, the project's administrator. "After they file their request for mediation with us, we thought Capital could walk them through what they could expect."

About 160 home owners so far have gone through the program.

The law students do not offer legal advice. In the program, they offer tips to home owners on how to prepare for mediation.

"You read about how everyone is living beyond their means, but that hasn't been the case with the people I've spoken with," says Thomas Siwo, a 26-year-old law student who has worked with 15 home owners. "Many of these people have been in their home 15 or 20 years and are in their 50s or 60s."

Cordray plans to package the program so that it can serve as a model to other law schools across the country.

Source: “Ohio Law Students Offer Residents Foreclosure Help,” The Associated Press (March 19, 2011)


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Commentary: Do Right by Doing Good

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