(PRWEB) May 07, 2014
Struggling homeowners on Chicago’s north side may now get legal help thanks to a grant from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The grant will enable law students from the John Marshall Law School, partnered with Northside Housing Cooperative (NHC), to provide additional legal assistance to home buyers in the city’s northern communities.
The Pro Bono Clinic at the John Marshall will provide expert legal assistance on homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention and employer-assisted housing, thanks to an agreement with Madigan.
The $800,000 grant to NHC comes from a national settlement involving the nation’s five largest bank servicers that were cited for fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners. As part of the settlement, Madigan is disbursing funds to mitigate the effects of Illinois’ widespread foreclosure problem. A portion of those funds has been allocated for pro bono work from John Marshall, to help troubled homeowners who are entering foreclosure, and pre-purchase homebuyers trying to avert predatory lenders.
The Pro Bono Clinic will review foreclosure complaints and interview homeowners subject to foreclosure, and will, among other tasks:
- Provide representation in litigation when defects or defenses are identified
- Provide representation in mediation in cases where litigation is not currently the best option
- Provide representation in negotiations with the lender outside of mediation where necessary
- Provide legal advice, assistance and representation to tenants of foreclosed buildings
John Marshall law students will be under the direction of Pro Bono Clinic Director F. Willis Caruso. Caruso has provided pro bono legal assistance in at least 1,000 cases over the past 20 years and was a founding member of the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. Caruso also worked as general counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority helping the agency as it transitioned from housing developments to scattered site housing that enabled Section 8 voucher holders into neighborhoods.
“The JMLS Pro Bono Program has a track record of working with the foreclosure courts and the foreclosure process in Cook County,” said Anthony Niedwiecki, associate dean of Skills, Experiential Learning & Assessment at John Marshall. “This partnership is intended to bring sustainable changes to Chicago, particularly on the far north side. The Pro Bono Program’s staff will add to the robustness of the Northside Housing Collaborative’s efforts by coordinating on outreach with local groups and training members of local ethnic bar associations in fair housing and housing foreclosure issues.”
About John Marshall’s Pro Bono Clinic
The Pro Bono Clinic is one of John Marshall’s eight clinics offering law students the opportunity to develop real legal experience, while embracing the school’s mission of providing access to justice. John Marshall encourages its students to participate in pro bono work to foster commitment to community service, both during law school and after graduation. By cultivating a culture of service, John Marshall’s pro bono clinic not only provides a valuable resource for clients in need, it also prepares students for a life of purposeful citizenship.
About the Northside Housing Collaborative
The Northside Housing Collaborative is a multicultural team-based, housing counseling initiative that will be providing a linguistically and culturally proficient program model of HUD certified housing counseling services, with translation assistance in over ten languages, combined with culturally appropriate community outreach and other wrap-around services through collaborating agencies.