LSC Files Amicus Brief with Law Professors in Third Circuit MERS Case

LSC Files Amicus Brief with Law Professors in Third Circuit MERS Case

Last Monday, on March 23rd, the Predatory Lending Unit of the Legal Services Center filed an amicus brief with the Third Circuit urging it to uphold a groundbreaking decision from Judge Curtis Joyner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which found that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) violated the Pennsylvania Recording Statute by failing to document and record debt/mortgage note transfers. Student attorney K-Sue Park led the drafting of the brief, with assistance from Attorneys Max Weinstein and Charlie Carriere, and professors from Harvard Law School, Georgetown Law, Brooklyn Law and Cardozo School of Law signed and contributed comments.  The brief described MERS’ contribution to the foreclosure crisis, and the system’s destruction of the county recording system that has ensured the orderly transfer of real property across the country by making real property interests public and transparent since colonial times. MERS is a private system created by the mortgage industry in the mid-1990s to speed the process of securitization of mortgage backed securities (MBS) and to reduce the costs of recording. Now for the majority of mortgage loans across the country, MERS is recorded as nominee for the mortgage note holder in the public record, but MERS does not require that its members record or enter subsequent transfers into its database. By accelerating the securitization of MBS and encouraging sloppy transfers of interests in land in the early 2000s, MERS helped precipitated the foreclosure crisis. To save costs for sellers of MBS, MERS eliminated rules and procedures that protected the rights of mortgage holders and homeowners, putting the security of their homes at risk and causing the costs of enforcing their rights to skyrocket. Without legal authority or public accountability, MERS wrought havoc on the public land records by rendering the national record of interests in land largely inaccessible, inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable.

LSC Presents: The 3rd Annual People’s Law School: Community Education Workshops

The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School

Presents
The 3rd Annual
People’s Law School:
Community Education Workshops

Saturday, March 28th 2015
1:00pm – 5:00pm
122 Boylston Street
Jamaica Plain, MA. 02130
(Directly next to the Stony Brook MBTA station on the Orange Line)

This is a Free Event
Appointment Required for Income Tax Filings
For More Information Call 617-522-3003

The Legal Services Center is a neighborhood law office that serves the legal needs of the community. We provide attorneys and legal assistance to financially eligible clients in civil matters.  The People’s Law School is intended to educate and empower community members around everyday legal issues. You are welcome to attend up to three workshops.  Workshops include a presentation and question answer segment. 

Consumer Protection Workshop 

1:00pm – Loan Modifications and Avoiding Foreclosure in Massachusetts

2:20pm – Individual Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Employment Workshop 

1:00pm – Basic Employment Rights in Massachusetts

Family Workshop 

1:00pm – Custody & Child Support

2:20pm – When DCF enters your family’s life – What are your rights? How to proceed? 51A Report

3:40pm – Custody & Child Support

Housing Workshop 

1:00pm – Basic Tenant Rights in Massachusetts

Predatory Student Lending Workshop 

1:00pm – Dealing with Defaulted Student Loans

2:20pm – Disability Discharge of Student Loans

Small Claims Workshop 

1:00pm – How to file or defend a Small Claims lawsuit

3:40pm – How to file or defend a Small Claims lawsuit
Social Security Workshop 

1:00pm – Winning your Social Security or SSI Disability Case

2:20pm – Winning your Social Security or SSI Disability Case

3:40pm – Resolving Overpayments of SSA Benefits due to Earnings, Marital Status, etc…
The Community Enterprise Project of the Harvard Transactional Law Clinic Workshop 

2:20pm – Legal tips for small business owners and people who want to start a business
Veterans Workshop 

1:00pm – Estate Planning for Veterans and their Family Members

(Wills, Trusts, Healthcare Directives, Powers of Attorney, Probate Court) 

2:20pm – VA disability benefits

3:40pm – Discharge Upgrades

3:40pm – Legal tips for Veterans who are small business owners or want to start a business

(Offered by the Veterans Enterprise Initiative, an alliance of the Veterans Legal Clinic and 

The Community Enterprise Project of the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics)

Students Reflect on LSC’s Role in their Pursuit of Public Interest Careers

In a recent post on the HLS Admissions Blog, two students of the Project on Predatory Student Lending wrote about Building a Public Interest Career at HLS.  They name four building blocks for a career in public interest law, including clinical work.  Of their experience at LSC, they write:

Clinics are a key part of the law school experience for public interest students because they give us a chance to learn important lawyering skills while gaining experience working on issues that we care about.  We are both enrolled in the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic at HLS’s Legal Services Center.  As part of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, we directly represent low-income borrowers who have received predatory student loans.  We’re experiencing firsthand what it is like to be a lawyer: conducting client meetings, filing motions in court, and making strategic decisions about cases.  We are closely supervised by a smart and energetic attorney who makes sure that we constantly improve our skills while offering top-notch services to our clients.

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/admissions/2015/03/16/building-a-public-interest-career-at-hls/ 

LSC’s Project on Predatory Student Lending Featured on German Public Television

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The Project on Predatory Student Lending was recently featured on Welstpiegel (“World Mirror”), the Sunday evening newsmagazine of ARD Television, the largest national public broadcaster in Germany.  The segment (video) features the Project’s clinical students holding a meeting at LSC, as well as an interview with Toby Merrill, the Project’s director. The segment begins with footage recorded outside of LSC’s building at 2:14. A transcript of the story is also available (in German).

Creating Community: A Social Justice Artwork Project

Through a unique collaboration, the Legal Services Center was the site of an art dedication on February 26th titled Creating Community:  A Social Justice Artwork Project.  The artists and guests of honor at the event were more than 50 sixth-graders from the Helen Y. David Leadership Academy in Dorchester, along with their teachers and the school’s executive director.  The children’s artworks—which speak to issues of community and justice and include paintings, drawings, collages, and masks—will be on permanent display in the Center’s library.   Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and 3L Blake Strode, a Skadden Fellowship award winner and alum of the Center’s Post-Foreclosure Clinic, were the featured speakers at the art dedication, which the children kicked off with moving descriptions of what inspired their art. Click here for more about the event, including photographs of some of the artworks.

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To see snapshots of the neighborhoods we serve, continue to the Our Community page.