Impact of Legal Representation in New York City's Mandatory Settlement Conferences on Foreclosures

Client: Brennan Center for Justice
Faculty: Ana Oliveira, Dennis Smith
Team: Timothy Farrell, Henry Gascon, Anthony Giancatarino, Ashley Mueller
Year: 2010
In September 2008, New York State implemented legislation that entitles homeowners in foreclosure to a Mandatory Settlement Conference, with the hope of reaching settlements with their respective mortgage lenders. A 2009 study by the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, however, revealed that only 3% of 800 observed cases reached a satisfactory settlement. The Capstone team was asked by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law to determine the impact of legal representation for homeowners during New York City's Mandatory Settlement Conferences. They wanted to know if distressed homeowners stand a better chance of negotiating settlements with legal representation. What kind of attorneys matter? What can be done with Mandatory Settlement Conferences to give foreclosure victims a better chance? The Capstone team interviewed Judicial Hearing Officers, relevant attorneys, and other judicial personnel to clarify the nature and impact of New York City's Mandatory Settlement Conferences.