Correction: This article has been revised to correct the possible value of the settlement to California homeowners. The figure is $18 billion.
Students at the University of California, Irvine School of Law will serve as watchdogs over a major California foreclosure settlement with five banks as part of a new law clinic.
The school’s Consumer Protection Clinic is a partnership with California Attorney General Kamala Harris. She appointed Irvine professor Katherine Porter to monitor compliance with the agreement, which could result in as much as $18 billion in benefits to California homeowners and borrowers, and Porter decided to expand that work into a clinic.
Students will work alongside attorneys to ensure that the banks fulfill their obligations, including avoiding certain foreclosures and ending deceptive practices including the so-called “robo-signings” of mortgages. They will assist homeowners in modifying their loans, develop and implement compliance plans to monitor banks, help communicate with the public about the settlement, prepare compliance reports and help advise Harris.
Porter, who will co-teach the clinics with a visiting professor, told the Los Angeles Times that students will visit at least 12 California counties and make at least 24 presentations to explain the 300-page settlement to the public. Students will have opportunities to work with homeowners, government lawyers and bank representatives.
“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’s first report on the progress of the settlement is expected by Sept. 1.
Contact Karen Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.