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Bar News - January 18, 2013

Bar Forms Legal Team for Foreclosure Project

Krista Atwater (left) and Mary Stewart provide attorney support as part of the NH Foreclosure Relief Project.
The NH Bar Association Pro Bono Referral Program has signed contracts with two attorneys with expertise in bankruptcy and mortgage lending abuse to work on the state’s collaborative Foreclosure Relief Project.

Attorneys Krista Atwater and Mary Stewart, along with staff from the NHBA Pro Bono program, will collaborate with NH Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice and Referral Center on the project, which is funded by NH’s share of the national mortgage settlement.

The Foreclosure Relief Project aims to assist New Hampshire homeowners at all income levels with financial problems related to wrongful foreclosure and deceptive lending practices, as well as to train attorneys to serve the legal needs of these homeowners. Over the next several months, the project partners will roll out a series of financial counseling clinics and training sessions for attorneys.

Atwater and Stewart are available to consult with attorneys who take on foreclosure-related cases through the project, whether they are pro bono or reduced fee cases, or full-fee referrals.

Atwater is the principal attorney at Rye-based Atwater Law. She is a former associate attorney with McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton and with Buttrey & Wing, and has a strong background in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, debt collection law violations and unfair and deceptive mortgage practices.

"When I first learned about the Foreclosure Relief Project, I was thrilled that New Hampshire consumers would finally have access to affordable legal resources to help them address their mortgage problems," Atwater said, adding that it is an honor to work with the Bar Association on the project. "I look forward to working with our colleagues to assist these consumers."

Stewart has been practicing consumer bankruptcy law since 1993, mostly as a solo practitioner, and is a former law clerk for two judges at the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire. She is a longtime volunteer consultant on bankruptcy cases for the NH Bar Association Pro Bono Referral Program.

"What I like about this project is all three legal service organizations are working together to address mortgage abuse problems," Stewart said. "Our role is to work with and support private attorneys who want to take on these types of cases. We have lots of ideas how to do this and are working to get the systems up and running."

The Foreclosure Relief Project and the NH Bar will host the first attorney training on Wednesday, March 20, at the NH Bar Center.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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