Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Fall 2015, Vol 41, No. 3 - Page 9

BP: Let’s go back for a second and talk about foreclosure mediation, because you have been a leader in this area. I know you do a lot of cases; I know you have been in CLEs where you lecture on this, and on the committee to propose legislative changes. I see mediation as a way to really help the court system get through those cases, because without that, I think things would be a mess. JEB: Yes, and I think this is a huge percentage of the civil docket and certainly foreclosures come in waves, but the sheer volume bogs down the court a lot. The statute exists to help borrowers because a lot of them don’t even answer the complaint and they don’t know what to do, but then of course, at or after the final whistle, they come in and say, “Oh, what do I do?” That does bog down the court system. Mediation is a great way to impart some understanding to the borrowers and get the parties together to see if anything can be worked out. In over 50% of the cases, and I have done over 150, the borrower gets a modification or it works out for the borrower in some way or another. You would think taking out 50% of the cases where it doesn’t involve the court at all until they get a mediation report that says “modification granted, case dismissed” is hugely valuable. Mediation generally is supposed to do just that, by limiting litigation and creating resolutions. It would be nice to increase mediations in all fields. Interview with Jennifer Emens-Butler got by the legislative session without losing very much. They are also in the process now of recruiting three judges and a magistrate, hopefully later this year another two, three, or four judges may be added back to the bench. The next legislative session is not very far away, and the revenue picture for the state doesn’t look a whole lot better for next year. JEB: No, it’s a real problem. Fortunately, we don’t feel it as much in foreclosure mediation cases, because while mediations tend to take longer than the court thinks, the courts are so busy that they don’t have time to push us and we get it done on our own. There are lots of horror stories about trials being broken up over several months and not being able to get court time ˈ]