Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Retired Maine Attorney Joins Fight Against Foreclosures; Volunteers Services With Local Legal Aid Program

In Portland, Maine, the Morning Sentinel reports:
  • When Maine National Bank collapsed during the recession of the early 1990s, Tom Cox's job was to collect money from businesses that had borrowed from the failed bank.

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  • Nearly two decades later, as Mainers face a new economic crisis, the 64-year-old retired lawyer has emerged on the flip side of debt collection. Cox volunteers several hours each week in a program called Maine Attorneys Saving Homes. It was developed over the past year within the Volunteer Lawyers Project, a division of Pine Tree Legal Assistance. The program provides free legal help to individuals and families on the brink of foreclosure.

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  • This past spring, just as the Maine Attorneys Saving Homes program was getting started, Cox made a telephone call and offered to help. "It felt like a gift from heaven," said Juliet Holmes-Smith, director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Holmes-Smith had about 20 lawyers who had taken preliminary training on foreclosure and were ready to take some cases. But the program didn't have anyone with the expertise of Cox. And it didn't have a volunteer willing to come into the office, analyze the case files and farm them out to the lawyers across the state. Cox stepped easily into that role.

For more, see Volunteer lawyer helping save homes (Group's members negotiate new terms, go to court for homeowners caught by economic woes).

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