ASU Law School logoArizona State University was recently recognized internationally for its work in alternative dispute resolution. Specifically, its Foreclosure Mediation Unit was honored.

The recognition came from a “New York City-based nonprofit think tank and alliance of global corporations, law firms, scholars and public institutions dedicated to the principles of commercial conflict prevention and alternative dispute resolution.”

As Tom Orewyler at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU describes it:

for its innovative work in the field of alternative dispute logo“The Foreclosure Mediation Unit at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has received the 2012 Outstanding Practical Achievement award from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution for its innovative work in the field of alternative dispute resolution.”

“Established in 2011, the Unit was created by the College of Law’s Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program to provide impartial mediation services between lenders and residential borrowers facing foreclosure. Law students in the program learn commercial mediation skills and work with Unit staff to prepare for and conduct mediations. The Unit currently is administering a program to assist the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona in the management of bankruptcy cases that involve disputes concerning residential mortgages and foreclosures.”

“‘We are grateful to the Institute for recognizing our unique work in creating dispute resolution avenues for lenders and for borrowers facing foreclosure,’ Dean Douglas Sylvester said. ‘This prestigious award is a testament to the innovation of our Foreclosure Mediation Unit specifically, and our clinical programs, generally. This honor would not have been possible without the tireless effort and student-focused leadership that our world-class faculty regularly exhibit.’”

Congratulations to those who have worked very hard to make the Unit an agent for change in a tough economy. You can read the complete story, including remarks by Tim Burr, the Unit’s director, here.

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Tim Burr graced the magazine cover of Arizona Attorney a few years ago. That’s when he made waves as he helped to bring admission on motion (rather than by bar exam) to Arizona’s (dry) shores.

This week, I see he’s landed on another forward-thinking beachhead, this time at the ASU Law School. As the school reported, he and Mary Ellen Natale have been hired as faculty to address issues related to the foreclosure crisis.

Tim will be director of the new Foreclosure Mediation Unit, “which will provide impartial mediation services between lenders and residential borrowers facing foreclosure.”

Mary Ellen Natale

Natale directs the new Homeowner Advocacy Unit of the Civil Justice Clinic, “in which student attorneys will represent families who are at risk of foreclosure or victims of mortgage fraud scams and engage in advocacy and community outreach on foreclosure law and related issues.”

Previously, Tim Burr practiced commercial alternative dispute resolution and real estate law with Jennings, Strouss & SalmonFennemore Craig, and Morrison & Hecker. Natale was an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University School of Law and has several years of housing law experience with legal services programs in New York and Ohio.

Here is more information on both programs. And more information about Burr and Natale is at the law school’s website. Congratulations—and good luck—to them and the school.

And here’s some more information on our 2008 photos of Tim by the terrific Karen Shell: The inside shot has him leaning over a wall map that I took down and borrowed from our family room—I think it worked pretty well there! And the cover shot—with him holding map puzzle pieces—demanded that we confirm the states he held in his hand actually were reciprocal to Arizona. After all, you and I both know someone would have noticed—and complained—if we got it wrong!