Lawyers Giving Back looks at a side of lawyers you don’t hear too much about—the side that gives back…pays it forward..and shares the love. We’ve found quite a number of attorneys who log non-billable hours helping others—simply because they believe it’s the right thing to do. Their stories are inspiring, and hey, who knew lawyers were so…good? If you’ve got a story to share about an attorney who’s doing the right thing, let us know—we’d love to let others know, too. Today, we’re talking with “The Park Slope Attorney”, Jaime Lathrop…
It is a big job, but somebody’s got to do it. Thousands and thousands of people in the New York area are facing foreclosure, many without the money to pay a lawyer to help them save their homes.
“We have no shortage of clients,” says attorney Jaime Lathrop, a private practice attorney from the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, who is the Director of the Foreclosure Intervention Program.
Since March 2009, working with the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) and a grant from City of New York’s housing division, Lathrop has gathered together a group of 80 lawyers to do pro bono work for homeowners who are staring down the barrel of foreclosure. “I recruit, train and assign volunteer lawyers who represent homeowners in settlement conferences, negotiate workouts and help with mortgage modifications for Brooklyn homeowners in foreclosure.”
About 80 lawyers are now working on foreclosure issues for homeowners.
Lathrop, who is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, clearly feels for homeowners who were often steam-rolled into a precarious financial situation as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.
And he also feels a true obligation to help. “We have a system of law in the United States that left unchecked will always favor the interests of the few over the interests of many,” says Lathrop. “It is important for attorneys to see that everyone gets equal protection under the law.”
The Huffington Post recently posted a story about the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project calling it a “lifeline for people trying to avoid foreclosure”.
In addition to its work for homeowners in foreclosure crisis, the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project has been providing pro bono civil legal assistance to Brooklyn residents who need it most since 1990. It matches up volunteer attorneys from private practice with people in need of critical legal services.
Its mission is to “help people regain dignity and control over their lives”.
VLP receives funding from the New York Bar Association as well as private donors.
Jaime Lathrop is in private practice in Brooklyn, NY. His practice is focused on real estate law, family law, criminal law, bankruptcy and elder law. He has also been selected as a featured speaker at today’s New York State Bar Association’s General Practice Section’s Annual Meeting at the Hilton New York.