April 11, 2012
Damien Troutman, '12, wrote an article that appeared earlier this year in the San Jose Mercury-News, one of the 50 largest circulation newspapers in the country.
Troutman received a Public Legal Services Society grant from McGeorge to work as a legal intern for the Fair Housing Law Project (FHLP) last summer in his hometown of San Jose. He collaborated with James Zahradka, one of his supervisors, to write the op-ed, "Harris Helped Strengthen Mortgage Settlement, But It's Only A Start," which was published on Feb. 16, 2012.
The authors acknowledged the merits of a decision by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to join a $25 billion multistate mortgage servicing settlement with several major banks, but argued that she should do more to protect and reimburse current and former California homeowners.
". . . Harris should keep pushing for the other measures needed to address the crisis, including additional investigation, legislation and regulations," they wrote.
FHLP is one of five programs of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. It provides free legal services to people who have experienced discrimination in acquiring or keeping housing in Santa Clara County. Troutman supported five attorneys in representing victims of housing discrimination and loan modification scams.
"Most of my time was spent on the latter," he said. "Unfortunately, many distressed homeowners had been ripped off during the foreclosure crisis either by attorneys or realtors with dubious or patently false claims that they could help them secure a loan modification for four-figure fees."
Troutman, who is a graduate of Bellarmine College Preparatory and Loyola Marymount University, plans to return to the South Bay after taking the July 2012 bar exam and pursue a position in public interest law.
"I am looking for a position where I can utilize my writing ability, which has always been my greatest talent," he said. "In fact, my interest in legal journalism was what motivated me to approach my boss about the op-ed in the first place. I've also become increasingly interested in appellate law, again because it's so writing-intensive."