Rotunda Report: Attorneys Train to Become Part of Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network:

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    Attorneys Train to Become Part of Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network

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    April 22, 2013 – The Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network held a training event in Madison this month for those interested in serving as foreclosure mediators.

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    The training, held at Michael Best & Friedrich on Capitol Square, was packed with attorneys, experienced mediators, and other legal professionals. Trainees will become part of a statewide roster of mediators prepared to assist Wisconsin residents facing a residential foreclosure or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy with a past due residential mortgage.

    The Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network was created with support from Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to serve as a comprehensive, statewide response to the foreclosure crisis. 

    Holly C. Pomraning, Special Assistant Attorney General for Mortgage Foreclosure Mitigation, gave opening remarks at the training about the impact of foreclosure on the state, and thanked participants on behalf of the Attorney General. The DOJ is encouraging more State Bar of Wisconsin members to get involved.

     “Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was an early supporter of foreclosure mediation, recognizing that foreclosure mediation serves the interests of homeowners, lenders, and communities,” said Pomraning. “This program’s success is due to the efforts of countless members of the State Bar.  Pro-bono mediators, lenders’ counsel, legal aid attorneys, judges and court staff have all contributed to the success of the program.  As the program expands statewide, even more attorneys will have an opportunity to impact people’s lives through foreclosure mediation.”

    Andrea GageAndrea Gage is public relations coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org agage wisbar wisbar agage org, or by phone at (608) 250-6025.

    The Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network, funded by the DOJ, is an expansion of the Metro Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program, which started in July 2009. In March 2012, the program transferred its physical location from Marquette University Law School to the Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Courts. The program is now operated by a nonprofit, Metro Milwaukee Mediation Services, Inc. The Network’s mission will be to assist other counties in starting their own foreclosure mediation programs, with regional centers in Wausau, La Crosse, Hudson/Eau Claire, Oshkosh and Green Bay.  The program also will connect existing programs throughout the state, providing them with resources and support.

    According to the Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program, there were more than 50,000 open residential foreclosure actions in Wisconsin as of July 2012.  The DOJ reports that each foreclosure that’s avoided saves local communities and stakeholders an estimated $40,000.

    “It is so easy to volunteer for this program,” said Attorney Debra Tuttle, executive director and chief mediator for the Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network and the Metro Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program. “The case is completely prepared for you. It is very compact, meaningful involvement.”

    To learn more about the Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network and how you can volunteer, visit www.mediatewisconsin.com.

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    Tuttle is the recent recipient of the Judge Dale E. Inlenfeldt bankruptcy Award. She was recognized for her work on the Eastern District Bankruptcy Court’s Mortgage Modification Mediation Program, which is a confidential and voluntary process through which a homeowner and lender may discuss options for modifying the homeowner’s mortgage.

    “Congratulations to Debra Tuttle on this well-deserved award.  Debra has become a state and national leader in the field of mortgage modification mediation.  Her program is being replicated in counties around the state, and the model she helped designed for the bankruptcy court is being implemented in courts throughout the country,” said Attorney General Van Hollen in a recent news release announcing Tuttle’s achievement.