Foreclosure Mediation Outreach Project
The Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project (FMOP) is a collaborative project between the Access To Justice Institute 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. The law school received a $100,000 grant from the Legal Foundation of Washington to help fund the project.
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. They also partner with legal aid attorneys to assist the attorney in representing clients in pre-foreclosure mediation.
FMOP offers three opportunities for students to be involved:
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 seminar 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 or clinical 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 to give law students direct opportunities to do advocacy work. Students work on a range of projects including client interviewing, drafting motions, drafting complaints, legal research and writing, attending 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 you are helping low to moderate income individuals who otherwise might not receive any legal help at all. You will also...
- receive valuable training in foreclosure mediation, mortgage, and consumer law.
- work one-on-one with a practicing attorney.
- help to develop and execute a community outreach plan.
- have the opportunity to represent actual distressed homeowners in pre-foreclosure mediation.
- have an opportunity to do legal writing and research.
- accumulate pro bono hours under the Pro Bono Pledge Program.
- have the opportunity to help shape and improve upon the functioning of the program.
What kind of a commitment do I 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 per week for one summer term (10 weeks).
Attend a brief orientation and supervise their law student volunteer through the duration of their placement.
How do I apply?
For law students:
FMOP Legal Clinics
Sign-up on 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. Students who do not meet the prerequisites may request a waiver. Contact Angeline Thomas, FMOP Staff Attorney, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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 in the Spring semester, a couple weeks before finals.
What training is offered?
Training is offered for all FMOP opportunities. Trainings include both substantive areas of law, including mortgage mediation, bankruptcy, evictions rights when the property is being foreclosed, and other areas of consumer and housing law.
What are students saying about FMOP?
"I have truly valued working with NJP this semester and feel I have learned more from this practicum than in most any other law school class. I wish more classes were this hands on and taught real world lawyering. I thank you for all your instruction and opportunity to give back to my community while pursuing my education[.]" - Practicum Student, 2L
"This semester has been a rollercoaster of an experience. I have enjoyed this class immensely. My only regret is that I didn't take some class like this sooner in my law school career. I may have actually enjoyed law school. The internship portion [of the practicum] made me realize that I am meant to be a lawyer and I cannot wait to get back to work[.]" - Practicum Student, 3L
Contact FMOP Staff Attorney Angeline Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 398-4304.