At a White House forum on the state of civil legal assistance held this week, the national director of the Legal Services Corporation noted the value of the The Mortgage Clinic, founded at the University of Arizona.
"Southern Arizona Legal Aid proves the value of collaboration in providing access to justice," said James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, or LSC.
"SALA's partnership with the University of Arizona law school extends the reach of the program's foreclosure prevention work," said Sandman, who moderated the panel of directors from LSC-funded programs.
The Mortgage Clinic was established during fall 2011 through a grant from the Office of the Attorney General of Arizona.
Jean Braucher, the UA law school's Roger C. Henderson Professor of Law, supervises The Mortgage Clinic, which engages UA law students. Also, students are directly supervised in this work by SALA attorneys Beverly Parker and Lydia Glasson.
Anthony Young, SALA executive director, was a panelist at the White House forum, representing one of LSC-funded programs chosen to participate. Only six of 135 programs were selected.
Young discussed how his program has compensated for budget cuts by marshalling volunteer resources in their nationally recognized Volunteer Lawyers Program, VLP.
Many UA law students participate in the VLP program administered by SALA.
President Barack Obama also spoke at the forum and emphasized the importance of access to civil legal assistance to achieve equal justice.
Braucher, who praised Young's leadership and vision in the collaboration with the law college, said 11 law students are currently participating in the clinic.
The students, she said, are gaining invaluable practical experience as they work with clients and seek mortgage modifications, recourse against mortgage relief scammers and debt relief in bankruptcy.
Under supervision, law students also learn to interview clients about their debt problems, to organize clients' finances and come up with sustainable budgets. They also learn how to apply for mortgage modifications and how to advocate on behalf of clients during the application process, among other things.