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Representing California Homeowners and Tenants in Foreclosure 2014


Speaker(s): Brittany McCormick, Elizabeth S. Letcher, Eric Andrew Mercer, Kent Qian, Leah F. Simon-Weisberg, Madeline Howard, Nelson Goodell, Tara Twomey
Recorded on: Jun. 16, 2014
PLI Program #: 56046

Elizabeth Letcher is a consumer advocate and attorney who has practiced in the public interest for nearly twenty years.   She represents homeowners and other consumers in mortgage servicing and related litigation, and offers consulting to attorneys and others on mortgage servicing and loan modification.

Before opening the Law Offices of Elizabeth S. Letcher in 2015, she was the Director of Litigation at the nonprofit Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, leading the organization’s individual and class litigation in areas ranging from predatory lending to mortgage servicing and modification issues to unfair debt collection, and performing non-litigation related advocacy as well.  She has testified as an expert on foreclosure rescue and loan modification issues, and conducts worships and trainings for consumers and attorneys on related issues.

Before her six years at HERA, Ms. Letcher had a civil rights oriented practice, both as an associate at a small firm and on her own, which focused on challenges to government conduct and practices, employment discrimination and public benefits suits, and civil, administrative, and criminal appeals.  Ms. Letcher is a 1994 graduate of Berkeley Law.  She clerked for the Hon. Thelton E. Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Hon James R. Browning of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was a Skadden Fellow at the Employment Law Center in San Francisco.


Kent Qian is a staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project, where he started as a Skadden Fellow. He has been a leading national advocate for improving protections of low-income homeowners and tenants in the ongoing foreclosure crisis. He provided extensive assistance and litigation support to attorneys throughout state and the country on federal and California-specific foreclosure laws, loan modification policies, and foreclosure recovery-related legislation.

Kent is the Chair of the board of directors at the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC). He also serves as a commissioner on the San Francisco Rent Stabilization Board. He received his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School.


Tara Twomey is currently Of Counsel to the National Consumer Law Center and the Project Director for the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center.  She has been a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School and Boston College Law School.  Ms. Twomey is a former Clinical Instructor at the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School where her practice focused, in part, on sustainable homeownership for low- and moderate-income homeowners.  This practice area included foreclosure prevention and chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Ms. Twomey is a contributing author of several books published by the National Consumer Law Center, including Foreclosures: Defenses, Workouts and Mortgage Servicing.


Brittany McCormick

Brittany joined the National Housing Law Project in May, 2013 as a staff attorney. Brittany has drawn on her background in foreclosure prevention to inform her new role as part of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights Collaborative. As the lead writer of the HBOR Collaborative's Foreclosure Newsletter, Brittany monitors and analyzes the fast-moving world of foreclosure law and provides technical assistance to consumer attorneys working to prevent foreclosures on behalf of California homeowners. She has done training on the post-foreclosure eviction of former homeowners and contributed to the CEB California Eviction Defense Manual on that topic.


Eric Andrew Mercer

Eric Mercer is a private attorney at the Law Office of Eric Andrew Mercer in Sacramento, California. He represents consumers in individual and class action litigation involving mortgage loan servicing, mortgage origination, foreclosure rescue scams, and unfair debt collection. He graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law and started his legal career as a patent litigator at an intellectual property law firm in Palo Alto, California, where he began representing consumers through the firm's pro bono program. Since 2009, his practice has focused heavily on protecting homeowner rights through litigation in California state and federal courts and as coauthor on amicus curiae briefs.


An Honors graduate of Tulane Law School, Nelson Goodell’s practice focuses on real estate disputes, with a heavy emphasis on helping troubled homeowners prevent foreclosure through litigation. Mr. Goodell has testified before the California Legislature regarding proposed legislation designed to provide more protections to Californians in the foreclosure process. Mr. Goodell has tried cases in front of judges and juries in state and federal courts in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has had success at both the trial and appellate level.


Leah Simon-Weisberg is the Legal Director of Tenants Together (TT).  Leah directs TT’s litigation practice.  The TT practice includes class action and multi-plaintiff fair housing, habitability, tenant contract and consumer rights matters.  Through the Tenant Lawyer Network (TLN), she regularly provides technical assistance on individual cases to members of the TLN and MCLE trainings for tenant lawyers across the state.  Before joining Tenants Together, Leah was the managing attorney of the Anti-Predatory Lending and Home Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Practice at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA). Leah previously served as co-Executive Director of the Eviction Defense Network (EDN) in Los Angeles, California. At EDN, Leah litigated over 1,000 unlawful detainer cases on behalf of tenants facing eviction in Los Angeles County. Leah has extensive experience providing education to legal service providers and is core faculty for the Benchmark Institute. Before attending law school at Northeastern University, School of Law, Leah worked for Senator Barbara Boxer in her San Francisco Office and served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Morocco.


Madeline is a senior staff attorney at Western Center on Law & Poverty focusing on fair housing litigation and issues impacting tenants in foreclosed homes. Before joining Western Center in 2013, Madeline was a senior staff attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid where she represented the interests of low-income tenants against landlords and major lending institutions. At Western Center Madeline partners with legal services attorneys on impact litigation to challenge discriminatory housing practices and preserve affordable housing.  She also supports direct services attorneys through technical assistance and training on issues ranging from unlawful detainer appeals to fair housing rights. Madeline received her law degree from Berkeley after working as an advocate at Medical-Legal Partnership Boston, the nation’s first medical-legal collaborative.  She went on to become a research attorney at San Francisco Superior Court before returning to direct services work.