2008 News Articles

December 14, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Memphis, Shelby Plan National Lender Lawsuit

Memphis and Shelby County leaders charge that unscrupulous lending practices contributed to the rising home foreclosure crisis, which has destroyed neighborhoods and eroded local property values. Officials propose suing major national mortgage lenders with the assistance of Memphis Area Legal Services. Read More

December 8, 2008 – WMC-TV Online: Attorney Offers Advice To Avoid Foreclosure

Sapna Raj, who heads Memphis Area Legal Services’ Fair Housing Division, says a lawsuit should be used only when nothing else works to prevent foreclosure. Read More

December 7, 2008 – WMC-TV Online: North Memphis Couple Faces Foreclosure After Nearly 3 Decades In Home

Memphis Area Legal Services helps Memphis woman avoid foreclosure on the home she has lived in for nearly 30 years. Read More

December 6, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Program Updates Legal Aid For Poor

Tennessee’s top jurists launch effort to increase the availability of legal assistance in civil cases for low-income Tennesseans; a series of 5 public meetings across the state, including one in Memphis Feb. 20, 2009, is designed to educate the public. Read More

December 4, 2008 – Fox News Online: Local Leaders Consider Suing Mortgage Companies

Memphis has one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation and city leaders consider legal action to recoup some of the losses. “Properties (are) going vacant, driving down property values, which is very costly to the local government” – Webb Brewer, Memphis Area Legal Services. Read More

December 4, 2008 – Tri-State Defender Online: Foreclosure; Secrets To Saving Your Home

Memphis Area Legal Services’ Sapna Raj advices Memphians how to stave off foreclosure and save their homes. Read More

December 1, 2008 – Memphis Daily News: Plan To Stem Foreclosure Process Comes Into Focus

Mission of local task force to combat the ravages of home foreclosure begins to take shape. Memphis Area Legal Services’ Webb Brewer is a leading voice in the effort. Read More

November 21, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal (Editorial): Reckless Lenders, Beware

The Commercial Appeal’s editorial page sends a clear message to unscrupulous mortgage lenders that the legal system, aided by Memphis Area Legal Services, is taking a close look at past and present lending practices. Read More

November 21, 2008 – Much better than nothing

The Memphis City Council resurrects utility assistance program. The city’s working poor are particularly vulnerable to the high cost of utilities, says Webb Brewer, director of advocacy for Memphis Area Legal Services. Read More

November 8, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal (In Brief): Lawyers Allowed To Share Wealth

Cy Pres common-law doctrine allows lawyer to ask the court to distribute leftover legal funds to three Memphis law-related agencies; Judge agrees and Memphis Area Legal Services benefits. Read More

November 6, 2008 – Memphis Daily News: MALS, Attorney General Sue Local Foreclosure Aid Org

Eight lawsuits filed against the Tennessee Housing Protection Agency for exploiting clients; Memphis Area Legal Services and state Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. join forces in the lawsuits. Read More

October 29, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Home-loan help agency faces suit – Foreclosure rescue ‘unfair, deceptive,’ customers say

The Tennessee Home Protection Agency Inc. was the target of lawsuits Tuesday from the Tennessee Attorney General and Memphis Area Legal Services over the company’s foreclosure protection service. Read more

October 28, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Profiting nonprofits: Alliance teaches how to streamline delivery of service

“It’s been a truly transforming experience,” said Harrison McIver, executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services. Read more

September 17, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Foreclosure catastrophe needs your help
– by Paul Morris, partner with Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston and president of Memphis Area Legal Services’ board of directors

Memphis Area Legal Services’ 16 attorneys provide advice and assistance to more than 3,000 eligible clients a year — clients whose problems range beyond mortgage lending issues into other legal problems such as domestic violence and consumer fraud. Yet because of limited financial resources, we must turn down more than half of the people who seek legal help from our organization. That means many of the elderly and working poor in our community are left to face critical legal issues alone, without access to a lawyer, and thus, without equal access to justice. Read more

August 22, 2008 – Memphis Business Journal: Opponents of auto title lending industry hope legislature limits ‘outrageous’ fees

As opposed to payday loans, cars are used as collateral for title loans, says Craig Barnes, staff attorney at Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. When vehicles are repossessed, borrowers often are left with no means of driving to work. Read more

July 26, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Memphis metro area 25th in foreclosures, online marketer reports

Memphis Area Legal Services has brought in $600,000 in grants to work with those homeowners, especially in trying to help them work out deals with lenders to change loan terms, arrange alternative sales or take other actions to stave off foreclosure, said Webb Brewer, a lawyer at the agency. Read more

July 23, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Title loan reform bill still stuck

Title lenders loan money to borrowers who put up titles to their vehicles as collateral. If not ultimately repaid, lenders seize the vehicles. Webb Brewer, advocacy director of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., and Corky Neale, research director of RISE Foundation of Memphis, a nonprofit financial education agency, said a main concern is the high fees lenders may charge. Read more

July 10, 2008 – The Commercial Appeal: Home loan fix: A long time coming

After a lengthy campaign by consumer advocates, Tennessee in 2006 finally passed the Home Loan Protection Act. To get that law passed, advocates had to overcome the objections not only of well-heeled industry lobbyists but also state government officials who believed that federally chartered banks and subsidiaries couldn’t be held accountable at the state level. Some of its provisions are still being violated by some lenders, who have to be threatened with lawsuits in order to be persuaded to refinance blatantly illegal loans, according to Webb Brewer of Memphis Area Legal Services. Read more

April 17, 2008 – Memphis Daily News: MALS’ Stature Grows Under McIver’s Watch

Memphis Area Legal Services attorneys handle about 3,000 cases a year that involve 8,000 people in the four county area of Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties. It doesn’t handle criminal cases and the attorneys are not paid by clients. McIver estimated there are 155,000 people who meet the low-income standards for services from MALS… “Notwithstanding our being a not-for-profit law firm, we should provide the same quality service that any of the best law firms in the city or in this country should provide,” McIver said. “That’s my commitment. That’s my desire.” Read more

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