About Us

On March 16, 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Professor Katherine Porter from University of California Irvine School of Law to serve as the California Monitor. The California Monitor assists the California Attorney General in monitoring the implementation of the National Mortgage Settlement.

What We Do

  • Monitor the Banks – We communicate with key decision-makers at each of the five settling banks. We review information and reports from the banks about their progress under the Settlement, and we tell the banks about complaints from their customers. In some cases, we request relief or assistance from a servicer on behalf of a homeowner.
  • Homeowner Assistance – We provide personalized responses to homeowners and assist those who are eligible for benefits under the Settlement. We read every homeowner communication carefully and note all concerns in our internal database. Our analysis of complaints focuses on whether a servicer might be violating the Settlement and whether the homeowner might be eligible for relief under the Settlement. Our database framework allows us to easily search across cases for key issues, such as upcoming foreclosure dates or common problems with particular mortgage companies. We do not represent individual homeowners as attorneys. To find out how to contact us, visit our contact page.
  • Outreach and Education – We provide educational materials and trainings about the Settlement to community groups, housing counselors, and attorneys. We meet homeowners and their advocates at community events. To access resources to learn more about the Settlement, view our resources page. For a list of upcoming events that the California Monitor Program will attend, view our events calendar.

Who We Are

Katherine Porter California Monitor

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Katherine Porter is Professor of Law at the University of California Irvine School of Law, where she teaches commercial law, bankruptcy, and consumer law. In March 2012, she began serving as the California Monitor for the national mortgage settlement. In this role she assesses bank compliance, evaluates and responds to homeowners’ complaints and inquiries, and provides advice and support to the California Attorney General. From 2005 to 2011, she was a law professor at the University of Iowa. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, UC Berkeley Law School, and the University of Illinois College of Law.

Porter conducts empirical research on families in financial distress and on consumer protection law. She has been a principal investigator in several studies of consumer bankruptcy, including the 2001 and 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Projects, and the Mortgage Study, which generated early data on the illegal practices of mortgage servicers. Porter’s recent work includes The Damage of Debt in the Washington & Lee Law Review, The Pretend Solution: An Empirical Study of Bankruptcy Outcomes in the Texas Law Review, and editing the book, Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class. She has testified several times before Congress on consumer credit issues and is a regular contributor to the blog, Credit Slips. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Lynh Tran Chief of Staff

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Prior to joining the California Monitor Program and the UC Irvine School of Law, Lynh was the Manager of the International Center for Writing and Translation and the Program Administrator for the MFA Programs in Writing, both at the University of California, Irvine.

Jennifer Song Senior Staff Attorney

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Jennifer earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 2009.  Before joining the California Monitor Program, she was an Equal Justice AmeriCorps Legal Fellow and then staff attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles where her work focused on foreclosure relief, tenants’ rights, and immigration.  During law school, she was a judicial extern for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and for the Honorable Kathleen Thompson Lax (retired) of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District.

Alexandra Alvarez Staff Attorney

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Alexandra earned her J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) in 2013.  During law school, she worked with the Consumer Protection Clinic, which assisted the California Monitor in providing assistance to homeowners.  Alexandra also externed with Justice Raymond Ikola of the California Court of Appeal and was an article editor for the UCI Law Review.

Talon Powers Staff Attorney

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Talon earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2013.  During law school, he worked for Minnesota’s Civil Practice Clinic, which provides a wide variety of legal services to low-income individuals.  Talon also externed in the chambers of Judge Jay Quam and Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Keyes, directed the Middle School Program for the Minnesota Urban Debate League, and worked as an Article Submissions Editor for the Minnesota Law Review.

Denise McDaniel Project Analyst

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Before joining the California Monitor Program, Denise worked as a research assistant for Professor Katherine Porter on several large scale bankruptcy research studies. Denise has over 10 years of experience conducting telephone interviews and gathering information concerning families in crisis.

Faye De Leon Project Assistant

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Faye earned her B.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine in 2013. She plans to attend law school after her work at the California Monitor Program.

Contact Us

To contact us, send an email to CAMonitor@doj.ca.gov.