Foreclosure Mediation Outreach Project
What is the Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Program?
- The Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project (FMOP) is a collaborative project between ATJI and the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic's Predatory Lending Clinic in partnership with Northwest Justice Project , Columbia Legal Services, Tacoma-Pierce County Volunteer Legal Services and other community partners.
- The purpose of the project is to expand outreach and foreclosure prevention services to low and moderate income homeowners in Washington State under Washington's new mediation law: the Foreclosure Fairness Act.
- Currently, the project is focused on Pierce County, which has some of the state's highest foreclosure rates, as well as disproportionately low numbers of foreclosure mediation requests; however, the project also works in King and Snohomish counties.
How does the program work?
- The Foreclosure Fairness Act allows homeowners facing foreclosure to have the opportunity to be referred by a housing counselor or attorney to mediation with their lender to review available options to keep their home.
- Law students raise awareness about the options available to homeowners under the law through community outreach.
- Law students also partner with legal aid attorneys to assist the attorney in representing the client in pre-foreclosure mediation.
- FMOP offers three opportunities for students to be involved. Pick one or do them all:
- Short-term volunteer opportunities: (Minimum of 12 hours per semester including training) FMOP sponsors walk-in legal clinics for distressed homeowners to learn about their rights, get legal advice, and obtain referrals to reputable organizations. FMOP holds trainings at the beginning of each semester and students can volunteer at one or more clinics throughout the semester. Open to 1, 2 and 3Ls.
- Mortgage Mediation Practicum: (Semester long course) This is a unique hybrid between an internship and an externship where you will learn about pre-foreclosure mediation and mortgage modification under the Foreclosure Fairness Act in the classroom and then have an opportunity to put your learning into action during a 12 hour on-site internship with the Northwest Justice Project's Foreclosure Prevention Unit. This class DOES NOT count toward externship hours. Offered in the Fall and the Spring. Open to 2 and 3Ls.
- Summer Internship: (10 weeks, full-time or part-time) FMOP works together with community partners such as the Northwest Justice Project, Columbia Legal Services, and the Northwest Consumer Law Center (which are each attacking the foreclosure crisis from different angles) to put law students directly in the work. During the summer of 2013 students worked on a range of projects including client interviewing, drafting motions, drafting complaints, legal research and writing, attendance at pre-foreclosure mediations, writing demand letters and more. In addition to working at their placement sites, students are responsible for developing and implementing a community outreach plan. Open to 1, 2 and 3Ls.
Why should students get involved?
- It is satisfying to know that you are helping low to moderate income individuals who otherwise might not receive any legal help at all.
- You will receive valuable foreclosure mediation training.
- You will work one-on-one with a practicing attorney.
- You will help to develop and execute a community outreach plan.
- You will have the opportunity to represent actual distressed homeowners in pre-foreclosure mediation.
- You will have an opportunity to do legal writing and research.
- You can accumulate pro bono hours under the Pro Bono Pledge Program.
- You will also have the opportunity to help shape and improve upon the functioning of the program.
What kind of a commitment do you need to make to be involved?
- Short-term volunteers should expect to devote a minimum of 12 hours for the entire semester.
- Students enrolled in the practicum should expect to devote a minimum of 12 hours per week to the program for one semester term.
- Students accepted to FMOP's summer internship program should expect to devote a minimum of 15 hours for one summer term.
- Attend a brief orientation and supervise their law student volunteer through the duration of their placement.
How do I apply?
For law students:
- Short-term Volunteer Opportunities: Sign-up for the FMOP Legal Clinics TWEN page to learn more about the available opportunities. Fill out a volunteer application (under the important documents section on TWEN). Attend the FMOP training sessions early in the semester. Sign-up for a clinic(s) on TWEN.
- Mortgage Mediation Practicum: Enroll in the class like you would for any other class. Students who do not meet the prerequisites may request a waiver. Contact Angeline Thomas, FMOP Attorney, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Summer Internship: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Send a cover letter and a resume to Angeline Thomas, FMOP Attorney, at email@example.com. Interviews are typically scheduled a couple weeks before finals.
For interested attorneys: Contact Angeline Thomas, FMOP Attorney, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What training is offered?
- Students will attend a three-day intensive training session focused on foreclosure mediation and the Foreclosure Fairness Act along with other trainings on community outreach and the role of housing counselors and mediators.
- Attorney Mentors will attend a 45-minute program orientation and enroll in a free CLE live or via the web through the Washington State Bar's Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project.
- Other training opportunities will be offered throughout the year.
Who do I contact for more information?
- For questions regarding working with student interns, contact FMOP Attorney Coordinator Angeline Thomas: email@example.com or (206) 398-4304
The law school received a $100,000 grant from the Legal Foundation of Washington to help fund the project.