Mayer Brown partner John Conlon and associate Max Fiest received City Bar Justice Center’s (CBJC) “Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award” for their work with the Homeowner Stability Project (HSP), which advances racial equality by helping New Yorkers remain in their homes or to transition to affordable housing. They were selected from among 1,800 CBJC volunteers.
As part of Project Equity, Mayer Brown’s racial equity and social justice initiative, the New York office partnered with CBJC’s HSP to help New Yorkers preserve their family’s equity from predatory investors. Because these families are often poorly represented, investors are able to leverage the law of partition—which, ordinarily, is used to resolve disputes between two good-faith owners—to coerce a sale of the property for a fraction of its value. Since the launch of this project in 2021, the New York office has represented four homeowners in forced partition actions, and established new case law in this area.
Through the HSP, John and Max led the defense of a partition action initiated by a predatory investor. In this case, a company purported to buy a 50 percent stake in a home owned by a family for several generations – a property valued at more than $1 million – for $48,000.