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Foreclosure Litigation – Real World Solutions That Work For Both Sides 2015


Speaker(s): Christine M. Sontag, Elizabeth S. Letcher, Kent Qian, Lisa Sitkin, Nelson Goodell, Sanford Shatz, Stephen T. Hicklin
Recorded on: Jul. 14, 2015
PLI Program #: 144908

Elizabeth Letcher is a consumer advocate and attorney who has practiced in the public interest for nearly twenty years.   She represents homeowners and other consumers in mortgage servicing and related litigation, and offers consulting to attorneys and others on mortgage servicing and loan modification.

Before opening the Law Offices of Elizabeth S. Letcher in 2015, she was the Director of Litigation at the nonprofit Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, leading the organization’s individual and class litigation in areas ranging from predatory lending to mortgage servicing and modification issues to unfair debt collection, and performing non-litigation related advocacy as well.  She has testified as an expert on foreclosure rescue and loan modification issues, and conducts worships and trainings for consumers and attorneys on related issues.

Before her six years at HERA, Ms. Letcher had a civil rights oriented practice, both as an associate at a small firm and on her own, which focused on challenges to government conduct and practices, employment discrimination and public benefits suits, and civil, administrative, and criminal appeals.  Ms. Letcher is a 1994 graduate of Berkeley Law.  She clerked for the Hon. Thelton E. Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Hon James R. Browning of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was a Skadden Fellow at the Employment Law Center in San Francisco.


Kent Qian is an attorney in the Redevelopment, Real Estate & Rent Unit in the Advisory Division of the Oakland City Attorney's Office.

Mr. Qian previously worked as a staff attorney for the National Housing Law Project in San Francisco, where he litigated cases in state and federal courts to protect the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners and advised state and federal policymakers regarding the creation of new foreclosure protections.

Mr. Qian graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. He has a Master’s degree in physics from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He is a commissioner on the San Francisco Rent Board and is a member of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services.


Lisa Sitkin is a Senior Staff Attorney at National Housing Law Project (NHLP) in San Francisco, CA, where she provides technical assistance, training and practice resources to attorneys representing homeowners in connection with mortgages and foreclosure. She has been practicing law since 1997. Prior to joining NHLP, Ms. Sitkin was a Managing Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland, CA. Ms. Sitkin has counseled and represented individual clients, participated in policy advocacy regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure, and assisted with mortgage servicing, predatory and unfair lending litigation. She has conducted numerous workshops and trainings regarding mortgages, foreclosures, loan modification and foreclosure rescue scams, including programs produced by the Practicing Law Institute and the National Consumer Law Center, and has testified before the California State Legislature and other governmental bodies regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure issues. She is one of the original drafters of the bill that ultimately became the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.


Christine Sontag is Assistant General Counsel for MUFG Union Bank, NA.  She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, and her law degree from UC Davis, King Hall School of Law.  After serving a clerkship with the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, she practiced litigation for several years with private firms in Palo Alto and Santa Barbara, California.  She joined the legal department of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in 1996, and then joined the legal department of Union Bank when it acquired Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in 2012. She supports the consumer loan servicing and default management departments.


Mr. Hicklin is Senior Litigation Counsel at Dallas-based Buckley Madole, P.C. and a 1988 graduate of U.C. Davis School of Law, King Hall.  Steve started law practice at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and began his many years of mortgage-related practice as Senior Litigation counsel at Glendale Federal Bank, FSB.  He went on to supervise litigation for WMC Mortgage Corp. and became Vice President and Litigation Counsel at Countrywide Home Loans.  Post-merger with Bank of America, Steve became Chief Compliance Officer for ReconTrust Company, Inc., Bank of America’s foreclosure trustee and then General Counsel for Northwest Trustee Services.


Sanford Shatz (sshatz@mcglinchey.com) is Of Counsel to McGlinchey Stafford in Irvine, CA, and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Consumer Financial Services sections.  He has been a licensed attorney in California for more than 28 years, during which time he has actively litigated cases in the areas of commercial law, real estate, and consumer financial services, specializing in mortgage-related issues.  In 1998, he joined Countrywide Home Loans where he organized and established that company’s California In-House Litigation Group.  Mr. Shatz focused on all aspects of mortgage-related litigation, including originations, servicing, trustee, escrow, title and modification issues.  In 2008, after Bank of America acquired Countrywide, he managed outside counsel on a pool of several hundred litigation cases, and helped to develop case-resolution strategies.  In 2010, he returned to private practice, and currently practices at McGlinchey, where he works on litigation and regulatory issues, and appeals.  Mr. Shatz is active in the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee where he organizes and moderates a monthly call-in program on current issues in consumer financial services.  He has published journal articles and papers, and organized and presented seminars on various aspects of current events in the mortgage world.


An Honors graduate of Tulane Law School, Nelson Goodell’s practice focuses on real estate disputes, with a heavy emphasis on helping troubled homeowners prevent foreclosure through litigation. Mr. Goodell has testified before the California Legislature regarding proposed legislation designed to provide more protections to Californians in the foreclosure process. Mr. Goodell has tried cases in front of judges and juries in state and federal courts in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has had success at both the trial and appellate level.