Civil Justice's Of Counsel Panel Program: A Resource for Maryland Housing Counselors

Since the beginning of the housing crisis, Civil Justice has recognized that housing counseling agencies in Maryland play a vital role in providing advice and guidance to struggling homeowners. In Spring 2013, Civil Justice unveiled the Of Counsel Panel Program, an in-person and online legal resource for housing counselors throughout the state of Maryland.

Housing Counselors: The First Line of Defense for Struggling Homeowners
Housing counselors are oftentimes the first line of defense and assistance for homeowners facing foreclosures. The Of Counsel Panel Program operates by 1) bringing Civil Justice Network attorneys to in-person roundtable meetings with housing counselors, and 2) having Civil Justice Network attorneys and staff monitor a list serv where housing counselors can post questions that are answered within 24 to 48 hours.



A Meeting of the Of Counsel Panel for the Eastern Shore

The Of Counsel Panel Program covers the entire state of Maryland, with a team of attorneys and Civil Justice staff working with counselors who are divided into  five regions:

•Western Maryland (Alleghany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties),

•Montgomery County,

•Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties),

•Central Maryland (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Cecil, Harford, and Howard counties), and

•Eastern Shore (Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties).



Of Counsel Panel regions administered by Civil Justice

For each region, Civil Justice staff and Network attorneys provide advice and guidance to Maryland housing counselors as they help homeowners apply for loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, etc.  For individuals in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure, or for those who are considering selling or conveying their homes after default to avoid a foreclosure, having access to a housing counselor who is familiar with the Maryland foreclosure process is vital to protecting their interests.

Promoting Housing Rights and  Assistance to all Homeowners in Maryland
Civil Justice’s Of Counsel Panel Program brings together foreclosure attorneys and housing counselors working in each of these regions. The goal of the program is to assist housing counselors by making lawyers available to answer any questions the counselors may have regarding loan modifications, origination documents, the foreclosure timeline, and any other legal or procedural questions that may arise. Additionally, all participants are added to the Civil Justice monitored listserv which, in addition to allowing them to ask questions, gives them the opportunity to upload documents for lawyers to review. Through these meetings with housing counselors, and the interactive list serv, Civil Justice hopes to protect the rights of struggling Maryland homeowners and provide immediate guidance to housing counselors who need advice on their cases.


A Meeting of the Of Counsel Panel for Western Maryland

How to Join
If you are a Maryland Housing Counselor and would like to know more about the Of Counsel Panel Program, contact Civil Justice at cj@civiljusticenetwork.org or call us at (410) 706-0174.

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