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The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

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Using Foreclosure Settlement Funds for Effective Mortgage Dispute Resolution

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, May 21st, 2012

The settlement was huge. Five major banks signed an agreement with 49 Attorneys General after the AGs instigated an investigation into the foreclosure crisis and the banks’ involvement in it. The result: an unprecedented $25 billion is flowing into states over the next three years to repair the damage the foreclosure crisis has caused to infrastructure, lending and homes. The settlement agreement earmarks $2.66 billion of this money for foreclosure prevention efforts, which could include increased housing counseling availability and more robust dispute resolution programs.

So where is the money going? (more…)

E-Discovery Mediation and Litigation Planning

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, April 30th, 2012

Welcome Jennifer LaDuke, RSI’s guest blogger, writing about her experiences at a recent e-Discovery mediation training.

As an attorney shifting her career toward mediation, I am always on the lookout for training opportunities to further my skill set and knowledge base. I have previous experience with litigation and electronically-stored information, including participating in a half-dozen large-scale cases where tens of thousands of electronic documents had to be reviewed, tagged, and logged. So, I was thrilled to link my interest in mediation and my previous experience by attending a recent two-day training program offered by the American College of e-Neutrals on the use of mediation to (more…)

Part 3 of 3: Foreclosure Mediation Best Practices

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, March 14th, 2012

MEDIATION SESSION ELEMENTS

Ensure Mediators are Well-Trained

Some programs, fearing they will not be able to attract people to mediate, lower the requirements for training mediators. Instead of the normal 40 hour mediation training, they may require only 12 hours of training with an additional training in foreclosure law, or only require that the mediator be an attorney. This lack of training jeopardizes the mediation process itself, as people may not have the tools after 12 hours of training to manage such a complicated discussion. Connecticut’s program boasts a high settlement rate, in part because (more…)

Part 2 of 3: Foreclosure Mediation Best Practices

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, March 7th, 2012

PRE-MEDIATION SESSION ELEMENTS

Conduct Extensive, Personalized Outreach to Borrowers

Outreach to borrowers is key to getting participation in the program. Most people do not open their mail or answer the phone when they are in foreclosure. For those that do, legal notices should be written in simple language with a clear instruction for what borrowers should do next. Programs should find ways other than mail to help borrowers access mediation programs.

One jurisdiction has dedicated funds for (more…)

Part 1 of 3: Foreclosure Mediation Best Practices

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, March 1st, 2012

With the proliferation of foreclosure mediation programs, legislation, and reports, states and other entities attempting to create such programs need clear, expert guidance about lessons learned during foreclosure mediation’s four-year history. Especially with additional funding from the 49 state attorney general foreclosure settlement, states have the powerful opportunity to create high quality mediation programs. This report, which will be featured in three parts on this blog, highlights wisdom collected from existing programs, failed attempts to create programs, and mediation’s long history of success in resolving court-based and other types of disputes. The first section is on how to begin a foreclosure mediation program to ensure its success.

PROGRAM BEGINNINGS

Set Goals and Define Success

The initial step of gathering everyone in a room to talk about goals is a difficult one, but is essential for the subsequent foreclosure mediation program to succeed. (more…)