Foreclosures have hit epidemic levels in the US. According to a June report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, nearly 10% of homeowners with a mortgage faced foreclosure or fell behind in their payments during the first three months of 2008.This crisis has created an overwhelming need for legal assistance for struggling low-income homeowners who are bewildered by the foreclosure process. It is just the sort of problem that, in the past, law firms have tackled by donating pro bono help. A few big firms have taken foreclosure cases but most have said they can't help. The reason: they represent banks - or want to represent them - and see a conflict."We were trying to get some of the big firms to help," says Daniel Lindsey, the supervising attorney of the home ownership preservation project at Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. In particular, he has sought help for homeowners who were duped into turning over the title of their home in shady refinancing schemes. But the group continually ran into conflict problems: "The only pro bono help we have gotten has been from solos and small firms."
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