Consumer Finance Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Duane Morris has more than 100 banking and financial services companies as clients, including dozens of well-known brands. In fact, Duane Morris counts among its client roster more than half of the top 50 U.S. bank holding companies. We also handle U.S. representation of several well-known foreign banks.

Banks choose Duane Morris because:

  • We have handled thousands of cases for banks in the past two decades.
  • We have a nationwide geographic footprint with dozens of attorneys experienced with the specifics of representing banks.
  • We strive to minimize litigation and litigate only when necessary.
  • We focus on effective/efficient matter management.

Residential Mortgages: Loss Mitigation and Litigation

Duane Morris has extensive experience in the representation of real estate lenders in troubled and defaulted mortgage loans. From our offices in major-market cities nationwide, we have lawyers working on behalf of banks, non-bank lenders, special servicers of securitization trusts, debt purchasers and asset buyers. Our experience extends to more than 30 states and across all asset classes. We have negotiated and documented loan modifications and other workout agreements, appointed receivers, completed judicial and non-judicial foreclosures and protected our clients' interests in bankruptcy cases involving real estate collateral. We also handle various litigation and workout matters, including, but not limited to, resolution of threatened lender liability claims arising from potential foreclosures of commercial loans, tax sale foreclosures, interpleaders, receiverships, condemnations, various types of in rem and property claims and bankruptcies.

Duane Morris Is National Managing Counsel for Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

Duane Morris is one of five National Managing Counsel law firms representing Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, one of the nation's five-largest loan servicing companies and first among companies servicing sub-prime loans. With its recent acquisitions of Litton (from Goldman Sachs), Saxon Mortgage (from JPMorgan Chase), Residential Capital Mortgage and Homeward Residential, Ocwen now holds one of the largest portfolios of mortgage loan portfolios of any company in the United States. Duane Morris handles hundreds of related mortgage loan litigations every year for Ocwen, in numerous states, on a range of consumer protection, fair debt collection, fair credit extension, unfair trade practices and other federal and state statutes in addition to a wide range of common law claims to protect mortgage holder and investor equity in Ocwen-serviced loan portfolios. Duane Morris also represents other well-known entities with respect to defending these same types of claims and protecting mortgage holder and investor equity interests in pooled mortgage portfolios.

The breadth of Duane Morris' experience in federal consumer and regulatory laws extends across its entire national footprint and includes issues arising from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Consumer Credit Protection Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Truth in Lending and Regulation Z, Federal Trade Commission regulations, privacy acts and related state unfair and deceptive trade practice/consumer protection acts. We also provide compliance advice to title agencies, particularly in regard to their compliance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

Class Action and Consumer Protection Litigation

Duane Morris has substantial experience with class action litigation, including state unfair competition and consumer protection statutes, antitrust law, federal and state securities and financial services law, FCRA/Truth in Lending Act and FDCPA claims, employment discrimination and wage-and-hour laws, franchising, real estate assessment and commercial disputes. These claims have involved plaintiffs numbering in the tens of thousands and up to billions of dollars.

Class action litigation can drain a company's legal budget and result in significant adverse publicity, both very quickly. Our team is skilled at devising strategies for effective representation of defendants in putative consumer class actions and at navigating the complex inter-relationships between federal class action procedure and state substantive law (and vice-versa). We have also handled a number of sizeable and prominent class actions brought as plaintiffs, which gives the firm a unique, valuable perspective that more defendant-centric Am Law 100 law firms too frequently cannot offer.

Expanding Existing Services and Geographies

Duane Morris seeks to foster preferred counsel relationships with our major clients—enabling us to understand their business, provide around-the-clock attention to business and legal needs and develop a fee structure that satisfies their needs and is mutually beneficial. The advantages to both the client and law firm are significant in these collaborative relationships.

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"In my discussions with Duane Morris leaders, they frequently speak about how diversity within their firm has enabled them to better serve their diverse clients. They understand that investing in diversity is a wise business decision that positions them for the marketplace of the future."

Don Liu
Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Xerox Corporation

At Duane Morris, achieving diversity is paradoxical. By supporting and celebrating the differences of our attorneys - and the individual strengths that they bring - our firm culture expands, fostering creative solutions for our clients. But diversity at Duane Morris does not mean that we have a certain number of diverse attorneys; true diversity means that it is no longer noteworthy to see diverse lawyers leading our practice groups or managing client relationships. Ascending to positions of leadership and greater responsibility and providing the highest levels of client service is simply what is expected of all our lawyers. Diversity is another strong asset that adds to our collective abilities to meet the needs of our clients.

Our vision of diversity at Duane Morris is to realize an environment in which our lawyers' outstanding qualities are not just measured by ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, but more importantly, that our lawyers are remarkable as excellent attorneys above all else. Only then can we celebrate our differences while focusing on the common pursuit of legal excellence which everyone shares at Duane Morris.

To reach this goal, Duane Morris understands that the familiar diversity strategies and policies that most law firms have are needed. Without demanding results from such policies, most law firms are bound to fail in even achieving numerical hiring and retention goals. Duane Morris has been proactive and ambitious in its efforts to improve diversity at the firm, and has set deadlines for reaching the milestones which mark our progress. To create a more diverse law firm, Duane Morris is:

  • Committed to strategically increasing our diversity levels, which is currently at 10 percent.
  • Bringing together our Diversity Committee and our Hiring and Retention Committee to raise diversity as an important factor in our hiring decisions.
  • Dedicated to improving retention by building upon our monitoring and mentoring program for all diverse associates.

Combining new initiatives with our longstanding diversity efforts, Duane Morris has seen increasingly positive results. In the Minority Law Journal's annual diversity survey of the nation's largest 260 firms, Duane Morris continued to improve its regional and national ranking, rising to number 136 of all firms surveyed. Our strides in Philadelphia are encouraging; in a city known for both the racial diversity of its population and the lack thereof in its law firms, Duane Morris is one of only two law firms to exceed the national average of minority partners at all law firms. Additionally, Duane Morris leads all national law firms based in Philadelphia in the number of Latino partners. Nearly 30 percent of all of our attorneys are women, and more than 20 percent of our partners are women.

In our approach to diversity, progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity cannot be measured in numbers alone. Duane Morris has focused our diversity initiatives on both increasing the number of diverse associates and addressing the challenges diverse attorneys face in building lasting careers and rising to senior and leadership positions. While several of our key practice groups are led by diverse partners and female partners, Duane Morris endeavors to create a culture which will foster a deep pool of such attorneys who can then develop into the firm's future leaders. Duane Morris understands that simply hiring diverse associates will not change the diversity of the firm; Duane Morris is working to mentor and retain diverse associates so that our progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity is also reflected at the highest levels of leadership within the firm.

Our progress on gender diversity has been profound. We have no glass ceilings: women hold positions of leadership at all levels of management at the firm. Women lead a number of our key practice groups, including our Energy, Immigration and International practices, and serve on the firm's Executive Committee. The success of our female attorneys at Duane Morris has not gone unnoticed. Barbara Adams was chair of the firm's Finance Practice until her appointment by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell to serve as General Counsel of the Commonwealth. In 2004, our longtime General Counsel, Gene E.K. Pratter, was approved by the United States Senate and is now a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Our efforts to improve diversity extend beyond our firm's walls. The chair of our Diversity Committee, Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., recognized the lack of diversity in Philadelphia's legal community and formed the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. Nolan now serves as the chair of the organization, a consortium of 25 law firms and corporations that commits to employing at least one diverse first-year law student each as a summer associate. From this program, law students of diverse backgrounds gain access to what was once an exclusive legal community, and now have the opportunity to learn and develop their legal careers with experience at Philadelphia's top law firms.

In addition to our involvement in the Philadelphia area, Duane Morris has increased our presence at national conferences and events focused on diversity. We sponsor the Hispanic National Bar Association and its job fair. Duane Morris is also a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Equality Forum, a national gay and lesbian rights organization. Duane Morris continues to sponsor the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and is active in other associations of diverse attorneys including: the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley; the Charles Houston Bar Association; Cuban Bar Association; Korean American Lawyers Association; National American Indian Housing Counsel and the National Bar Association.

The challenge of improving gender, ethnic and cultural diversity at Duane Morris is an ongoing effort that has the support of the entire firm. Duane Morris has been at the vanguard in supporting gender diversity throughout the firm beginning a generation ago. Our diversity programs are leading to similar success in improving racial and national origin diversity at Duane Morris. But even as we share these examples of Duane Morris attorneys and our involvement in numerous legal events, associations and programs for diversity, our hope is that such examples will no longer be necessary to mention in the future. We hope that through our efforts, and the efforts of other law firms, these stories become so common that they are no longer the remarkable accomplishments they are today, but simply routine aspects of the legal world tomorrow.