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For immediate release: October 30, 2008
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Judiciary Offers Attorneys Free Training on Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation

The Judiciary is offering several one-day training sessions to enable attorneys who are already trained as mediators to lend assistance to homeowners and lenders in mediating residential mortgage foreclosures, announced Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts.

"We are grateful to the members of the bar who have volunteered to help us by endeavoring to bring both sides to an agreement that could allow homeowners to remain in their homes and to allow banks to avoid being overburdened by an alarmingly high inventory of foreclosed properties," said Judge Grant.

The training was developed as part of a Judiciary program that will provide mediators to help homeowners and lenders try to work out agreements to avoid foreclosures. Training sessions will be held at various locations throughout the state to ensure that all interested mediators will have the opportunity to participate.

The training demonstrates swift and decisive efforts by the Judiciary to implement a statewide program requiring mediation in all contested mortgage foreclosures. About 5 percent of all foreclosure actions are contested. The Judiciary expects that number to grow as homeowners become aware of the program.

"Scores of attorneys have volunteered for the program so far," said Judge Grant. "We are grateful for their willingness to assist and we are confident that even more attorneys will endeavor to join the program."

Faculty for the training sessions will include Michelle Perone, Esq., chief of civil practice for the Judiciary; Eric Max, Esq., director of the Office of Dispute Settlement within the Department of the Public Advocate; and Caroline Petrilla, Esq. assistant director of the Office of Dispute Settlement. Also participating in the training will be representatives from Legal Services of New Jersey, the Department of Banking and Insurance, the Office of the Attorney General, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, as well as HUD-certified housing counselors.

Training dates are as follows:

Wednesday, Nov. 5 R.J. Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton
Friday, Nov. 7 R.J. Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton
Monday, Nov. 24 Gloucester County Courthouse, Woodbury
Monday, Dec. 1 Somerset County Courthouse, Somerville
Tuesday, Dec. 2 Bergen County Courthouse, Hackensack
Thursday, Dec. 4 Atlantic County Courthouse, Atlantic City
Monday, Dec. 8 R.J. Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton
Tuesday, Dec. 9 Ocean County Courthouse, Toms River

The Judiciary also will offer the mandatory three day training to attorneys who wish to be approved mediators so they may participate in the foreclosure mediation program.

The three-day general mediation program will be held on Friday, Nov. 14, Monday, Nov. 17 and Tuesday, Nov. 18. All training sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Attorneys interested in the training should register by contacting Shoba Chopra at 609-292-8470 or shoba.chopra@njcourts.gov.

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