Course Description

601:792 Mortgage Foreclosure Project (6 credits) (Skills) Mallgrave


Prerequisite: Students must have already taken Professional Responsibility or must be taking the course concurrently.

The Mortgage Foreclosure Project clinical course is open to second, third and fourth-year students. The course consists of both a weekly two-hour seminar component and live-client casework. Students will learn interviewing, counseling, advocacy and negotiation skills, along with the substantive and procedural law relevant to mortgage foreclosure and foreclosure mediation, in the seminar component of the course and will have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned, and develop lawyering skills, through casework. The coursework and casework will also present students the opportunity to consider issues in social justice and public policy in relation to mortgage financing and mortgage foreclosure.

Students, working in teams of two, will be assigned cases in which they will assist homeowners at risk of losing their home in foreclosure. All students will have the opportunity to interview clients. The exact nature of other work each student may perform will depend on the specific case assigned, and the student’s status as a second, third or fourth-year student, but might include:

interviewing a client to determine legal issue(s) and question(s), performing legal research, analyzing the facts in light of the law, preparing a memo and counseling the client based on the research and analysis;

representing a client seeking to have a sheriff’s sale postponed so that they can modify their mortgage and prevent foreclosure;

preparing an application for court-ordered mortgage modification mediation and representing that client at mediation;

preparing an Answer to a foreclosure Complaint and representing the homeowner in litigation (including, possibly, preparing and responding to discovery, preparing, responding to and arguing motions, negotiating mortgage modifications, appearing at hearings);

representing a client on appeal of a final judgment of foreclosure, including preparing brief and all other required documents and arguing the case on appeal.

Casework will require students to perform a number of tasks, including:

legal research and fact investigation;

interviewing and counseling clients;

drafting documents such as letters to clients, interview plans, interview memos, counseling plans and memos, phone call memos, pleadings and possibly discovery documents and briefs;

engaging with opposing attorneys and court personnel;

considering and addressing any ethical issues that may arise in a matter;

properly documenting all work done on the case and properly maintaining both the physical file and the electronic file.

In all of their casework, students will be closely supervised by the professor who will meet regularly with each case team and provide both guidance and feedback to students.

In addition to participating in the weekly seminar, students must be available to meet with the professor for weekly case team meetings during the week and with their partner weekly at a mutually agreed-upon time. Students must also be available to meet with their clients as needed; depending on client availability (many work), client meetings may need to take place during regular business hours or during evening or weekend hours.

Second-, third-, and fourth-year students may enroll in this course. To enroll, students must have successfully passed all first-year courses. Professional Responsibility is a prerequisite or may be taken concurrently.