Ballard Spahr has created a Collection Documentation Task Force to assist clients with the rapidly developing spread of documentation-related scrutiny, from the mortgage foreclosure process to the collection of credit card, student loan, and other types of consumer debts.

The task force is composed of lawyers from Ballard Spahr’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Group. It combines litigators with experience defending mortgage lenders in documentation-related lawsuits nationwide and regulatory lawyers with deep knowledge of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s national bank foreclosure review process.

“We have already begun to see, and defend against, lawsuits attacking collection documentation used by non-mortgage lenders, and there is growing interest by governmental agencies and consumer advocacy groups in this issue,” said Task Force Chair Christopher J. Willis, a litigation partner in the firm’s Atlanta office. “Our experience on both the regulatory and litigation side enables to help clients avoid documentation problems and effectively defend claims by private plaintiffs and government agencies.”

Joining Mr. Willis on the task force are Ballard Spahr attorneys Martin C. Bryce, Jr., Burt M. Rublin, Michael S. Waldron, Mercedes K. Tunstall, Stefanie H. Jackman, and Daniel J.T. McKenna.

Alan S. Kaplinsky, the head of Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, said: “Our group has such deep experience in counseling clients on mortgage documentation issues and in defending documentation-related litigation, it was only natural for us to bring this Task Force together. And because the examination of documentation relating to non-mortgage collections is just beginning, we believe that much of the risk can be mitigated and controlled by conducting risk assessments with our clients to identify and resolve any issues with collection documentation.”

Members of the Task Force already have begun educating clients on these issues. In November, Mr. Bryce, Mr. Willis and Ms. Jackman hosted a webinar about the potential transfer of mortgage documentation attacks into non-mortgage collections. Mr. Waldron and Mr. Willis conducted a follow-up webinar with William Rudolph and Darren Donovan, principals in the Forensic practice at the audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP, to discuss preventive measures and leading practices for non-mortgage lenders and debt collectors to help reduce documentation problems.