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Efforts to aid those facing foreclosure continue

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More than 1,000 Indiana attorneys, judges, and mediators have attended CLE trainings since June about mortgage foreclosures. Chief Justice Randall Shepard disclosed the numbers today in Evansville where he also announced a new statewide initiative to help implement the state law that went into effect July 1 that provides homeowners the option of settlement conferences to save their homes.

About 35 of the CLEs, "Back Home in Indiana - Guiding Homeowners Through Foreclosure," have taken place for attorneys looking to represent homeowners, and for mediators willing to conduct settlement conferences. The final two CLEs are scheduled for this week - one today in Evansville and another Friday in Bloomington. While nothing has been set, there has been some talk to offer more CLEs about foreclosures in the future.

The CLEs were part of the court's response to the approximately 50 percent increase in the number of foreclosure cases in Indiana during the past five years. In 2008, there were 45,394 foreclosures filed in the state. In 2003 and 2004, there were approximately 30,000 foreclosures filed.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network, the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, the Indiana Commission on Continuing Legal Education, the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, bar associations, law firms across the state, and the Indiana Supreme Court supported the training sessions.

Those who have handled settlement conferences have told Indiana Lawyer that having an attorney in the room can vastly improve a homeowner's chance of success.

While the court surpassed its goal to train at least 700 mediators, judges, and attorneys, an official statewide number has not been released regarding how many of those are eligible or have offered to take a pro bono case or mediate a settlement conference. That issue, along with other issues regarding the mortgage foreclosure CLEs, will be up for discussion at the annual conference of pro bono district plan administrators, which coincides with the Indiana State Bar Association's annual meeting in November.

Beyond training attorneys, judges, and mediators, the chief justice said the courts have a new plan to be implemented.

The proposed statewide system will help local courts handle the thousands of expected settlement conferences through local coordinators. The coordinators will also track the data for success rates, something each court currently does on its own without a centralized system. The Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority will finalize plans on this effort in the coming months.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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