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About the Authors

John Rao, a co-author, is an NCLC attorney focusing on consumer bankruptcy, foreclosures, and credit law. He is co-author of Bankruptcy Basics and editor and contributing author of Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice. He is also a contributing author to Collier on Bankruptcy and the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide. For eighteen years, he had a bankruptcy and consumer law focus at Rhode Island Legal Services and was a managing attorney there. He is a conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, vice president for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a former board member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and a former member of the federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules from 2006 to 2012, appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Tara Twomey, a co-author, is of counsel with NCLC and project director for the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center. Prior to joining NCLC, she was a clinical instructor at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. She has also been a lecturer-in-law at Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, and Boston College Law School. She is co-author of Mortgage Lending and Bankruptcy Basics and a contributing author to Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Truth in Lending.

Geoff Walsh, a co-author, worked as a legal services attorney for over twenty-five years. A contributing author to Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Student Loan Law, and Credit Discrimination, he was a staff attorney with Vermont Legal Aid and with the housing and consumer units of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. He is currently a staff attorney with NCLC in its Boston office. His practice has focused upon housing and bankruptcy issues.

Odette Williamson, a co-author, is an NCLC staff attorney with a focus on sustainable homeownership, consumer credit and foreclosure prevention, manufactured homes, and elder-related issues. She is co-author of Foreclosure Prevention Counseling. She formerly was an assistant attorney general with the Consumer Protection Division of the Massachusetts attorney general’s office.

John W. Van Alst, a contributing author, is an NCLC staff attorney whose focus includes deceptive practices law, automobile fraud, and manufactured home issues. He formerly was an attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina, where he handled a broad range of consumer issues, and was also an adjunct clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He directs the NCLC Working Cars for Working Families Project ( He is co-author of Automobile Fraud, Consumer Warranty Law and Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors. He is a contributing author to Consumer Credit Regulation, Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices, and Repossessions.

Emily Green Caplan, a contributing author, has worked in both the public and private sectors as an attorney focusing on discrimination matters. She has been an author and researcher for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination for over fifteen years and is a contributing author to Credit Discrimination. Previously, she worked in the labor and employment practice of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen in San Francisco.

Andrew G. Pizor, a contributing author, is a staff attorney in NCLC’s Washington, D.C., office, a co-author of Consumer Credit Regulation, and a contributing author to Truth in Lending. Andrew also serves as an expert witness on mortgage origination and servicing issues. He was formerly an attorney at the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Consumer Law Group L.L.C., and Legal Services Corp. of Delaware, where he worked on housing and consumer protection issues, focusing on defending foreclosures and fighting predatory lending.

Elizabeth Renuart, a contributing author, is currently of counsel to the National Consumer Law Center and was a staff attorney at the Center from 1996/-/2009. During the intervening years (2009/-/2014), she was an associate professor of law at Albany Law School where she taught commercial and consumer law. She is co-author of Truth in Lending and several other books. She is a former member of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council. She was a legal services attorney in Maryland where she litigated consumer and other cases for seventeen years, focusing on foreclosure defense work for the last five years.

Thomas Cox, a contributing author, is retired from the private practice of law where a substantial portion of his practice included the representation of lenders in residential and commercial loan litigation matters. Clients included major regional and national lenders as well as the FDIC. For the past four years he has played a substantial role in the Maine Attorneys Saving Homes (MASH) program of the Maine Volunteer Lawyer Project as a volunteer lawyer screening mortgage foreclosure cases, handling referrals to volunteer lawyers on the MASH panel, co-counseling on select cases, and acting as a consultant to Maine foreclosure defense lawyers. He was instrumental in the start-up of in 2009 of Maine’s foreclosure mediation program, providing training and consultation to lawyers representing homeowners in foreclosure mediation. He has also acted as a consultant to Pine Tree Legal Assistance in managing the litigation strategies of its Foreclosure Prevention Program. In addition he has acted as a consultant to lawyers nationally regarding residential foreclosure defense and litigation practices.

Steven Sharpe, a contributing author, is a senior attorney in the Hamilton office of the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, L.L.C., where he represents borrowers facing foreclosure. He previously worked at the Bloomington office of Indiana Legal Services, Inc. where he started advocating on behalf of low-income homeowners in 2005 with a two-year Skadden fellowship. He has been active in national efforts to address problems with the servicing of FHA-insured and USDA-guaranteed mortgage loans. He has contributed a chapter on government insured loans to Ohio Consumer Law. His article addressing strategies for defending foreclosures of FHA-insured loans appeared in the March/April 2013 edition of the Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy.