This month Nassau Suffolk Law Services honors Raymond Lang as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for his hours of dedicated service to the Pro Bono Foreclosure Settlement Project.
Mr. Lang is a native Long Islander, graduate from Fordham University and then received his law degree from New York Law School in 1984. During his career, Mr. Lang often found himself balancing his family life and formal education while working in New York City, first in the computer field, then in the banking industry on Wall Street where he practiced securities law and later managed several investment firms and businesses.These experiences and skills prove especially valuable in his current legal practice.
For Mr. Lang it has always been about networking and forging new connections. These days he uses his skills while focusing on saving homes and creating jobs. In addition to his work in foreclosure defense and loan modifications, he serves as General Counsel to several small companies, including internet and retail businesses, who rely on his prior experience as a CEO, corporate counsel, and investment banker for advice on corporate governance, business development, finance and management. Mr. Lang utilizes a cadre of outside resources and experts to provide a holistic and team oriented service to his clients. He prides his approach as being not transactional, but relationship-oriented. “I care about my clients and seek to be their family lawyer or general counsel. Anyone I introduce to a client must be good hearted,” Lang says.
Raymond Lang’s work with Pro Bono started with a particular interest in the economic crisis, analyzing the problem and possible solutions in dealing with the huge rise in mortgage foreclosures and unemployment. He founded Economic Recovery Advisors LLC, to advise governmental agencies and business enterprises to meet the challenges faced in the economic downturn. Through this firm, he has advised on foreclosure legislation at the national and state levels. He has written “white papers” on the subject and his experience in mortgage foreclosure continued to grow through his advocacy in his law practice. His familiarity with the banking industry, how banks are structured and how they think, as well as his extensive knowledge of mortgage backed securities, have been valuable assets in his foreclosure defense practice.
He soon became involved with the Suffolk County Bar Association (SCBA) as a way to better network and get a grassroots perspective. After attending a foreclosure seminar sponsored by the Empire Justice Center, he was inspired to participate in the SCBA’s Pro Bono Foreclosure Settlement Project spearheaded by Barry Smolowitz. The Project, currently being administered by Nassau Suffolk Law Services, is based on a web-based software program initiated by Smolowitz, where pro bono attorneys who are interested in volunteering at foreclosure settlement conferences, can assign themselves to a matter for a single appearance or multiple appearances, at their choosing. Lang has been a CLE presenter and loyal volunteer with the Project for several years devoting thousands of hours and seeing hundreds of clients. Notwithstanding his achievements on Wall Street and as an entrepreneur, Raymond believes that the most rewarding work of his career has centered around his participation in the Foreclosure Project. He has derived a great deal of personal satisfaction from being able to give back to the community by helping those truly in need to navigate through the foreclosure settlement process. Raymond brings a positive approach to his clients in the Project and his dealmaker skill set has enabled him to persuade banks to work out mortgage modifications in many cases.
“My pro bono activities related to settlement conferences are the most rewarding work that I do, helping those who are burdened with the stresses of a losing home,” says Lang. “We are all in this together and doing pro bono work is rewarding and inspiring.” He observes that pro bono work has also helped to build his practice and referrals, as he networks with other attorneys and continues to learn and grow. Mr. Lang’s mentoring young people through the Project, such as the students at Touro Law School, is also a rewarding part of his work. “We need to help each other, educate each other, and empower each other,” he states.
Mr. Lang shared two recent examples of how he was able to make a difference through his pro bono efforts. A senior citizen whose house was in foreclosure had not taken Social Security because he was afraid his creditors would take his retirement checks. Lang told him that the benefit could not be garnished to satisfy his credit card debt, and in fact that the Social Security income could help to qualify him for a loan modification. This advice helped to turn things around dramatically for the grateful client.
Another client suffering from muscular sclerosis had reluctantly stayed in his house while the rest of his family, including his three very young children, moved to North Carolina where his wife had an employment opportunity as a teacher. He stayed on Long Island because he was told that his mortgage lender would aggressively pursue his family’s assets if he left his house which was in foreclosure. He was living a very lonely and unhappy life until Lang told him that he had been misinformed and that nothing imminent was going to happen. He advised the client to reunite with his family and pursue a short sale instead. The client left in tears of gratitude and relief.
Mr. Lang’s personal life is also quite full. His family is very important to him and he is very proud of his wife, daughter, two sons and grandson. He is active in sports, coached CYO and has been a religious education instructor for over thirty years.
Mr. Lang’s philosophy is that if you give, you receive much more in many ways. Bringing faith, hope and positive energy to people through service in his law practice has become his ministry. We are very fortunate and inspired to have such a generous pro bono attorney working with the Foreclosure Settlement Project. Our congratulations go to Raymond Lang for this very deserved award.
Maria Dosso, Esq. is the Director of Communications and Volunteer Services at Nassau Suffolk Law Services. She has worked at Law Services for over 25 years, first practicing in the areas of disability, consumer debt, public benefits and housing law. Currently she manages the Legal Support Center for Advocates, a community education and advocates’ consultation service, and coordinates the agency’s public relations initiatives and pro bono/volunteer projects.