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State mortgage monitor launches consumer protection clinic

UCI law professor Katherine Porter establishes center to help borrowers

by Griffin RogersPublished: June 15, 2012

The UC Irvine law professor charged with the task of overseeing the major mortgage settlement in California has started a Consumer Protection Clinic that will enlist attorneys and law students to ensure the five banks deliver on the $18 billion in relief to distressed borrowers in the state over the next three years.

Along with helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, Katherine Porter’s new clinic seeks to change unfair and deceptive practices, such as the illegal actions of the five largest loan services in the U.S. that sparked the $25 billion national settlement.

“This is a truly unprecedented development, not only the size and nature of the settlement and monitoring process, but also the involvement of law students in helping the Attorney General aid troubled consumers,” Porter said. “There is no other legal clinic like this in the country in terms of offering multiple perspectives on consumer law. It will prepare UCI law students for sophisticated careers in law and policy--all while helping distressed homeowners.”

Porter, named by California Attorney General Kamala Harris as the state’s mortgage settlement monitor, will establish the clinic at UCI’s law school and co-teach it with another professor who will advise the law students. The Consumer Protection Clinic will serve as a partnership between the California Attorney General’s Office and the UC Irvine School of Law.

Students will have the opportunity to work directly with homeowners, government lawyers and bank representatives, and will be asked to help with the following tasks: helping homeowners obtain loan modifications, developing and implementing compliance plans to monitor banks, communicating with the public about the settlement, preparing public compliance reports, and providing advice and support to the Attorney General.

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