Michelle Mierzwa is a veteran of the lending and default servicing industry since 1998 and currently a Partner, heading the Compliance Division for the Western Regional firm of Wright Finlay & Zak, LLP. In this capacity, Mierzwa assists mortgage loan originators, lenders, servicers, trustees, and others in the mortgage banking industry with state and federal legal and regulatory compliance matters and litigation, including ensuring the compliance of the firm’s foreclosure division. She is admitted to practice in California and Washington.
With the 2013 acquisition of Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation Assets, Mierzwa transitioned from Corporate Counsel for the Corporation to the National Managing Attorney for Non-judicial Foreclosure at a national law firm. Mierzwa also managed the California branch of the firm, providing bankruptcy, eviction and litigation services to lenders, servicers, credit unions, foreclosure trustees and investors related to foreclosure and default matters. As National Managing Attorney, Mierzwa also communicated and collaborated with operations and legal departments of clients, including most of the largest mortgage lenders, servicers and investors in the nation. Mierzwa frequently provided on-site training for servicers regarding non-judicial foreclosure processes.
In 2009, Mierzwa created the Legal Department for Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation. As one of the largest non-judicial foreclosure trustees in the Western United States, Cal-Western provided foreclosure and related services in Arizona, Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington for over 30 years. During her time at Cal-Western, the default servicing and foreclosure industry experienced its highest level of scrutiny. As a result, Mierzwa was responsible for not only the firm’s compliance with substantially enhanced state and federal laws, but the management and resolution of litigated matters and the coordination of compliance audits.
In 2010, Mierzwa was appointed to the Legislation Committees of the California Mortgage Bankers Association and the United Trustees Association. Since then, Mierzwa has monitored, proposed and analyzed new legislation affecting the industry, meeting and negotiating with state and federal legislators to amend or defeat many bills. Over the years, Mierzwa has participated on speaking panels for national default industry conferences, including the American Legal and Financial Network Foreclosure Mediation Panels, the Mortgage Bankers Association Servicing Conference Default Super Sessions, the United Trustees Association Annual Conference Trends in Litigation Panels and the Five Star Conference panel on Policies of Foreclosure Compliance. Since 2013, Mierzwa has provided education and clarification regarding the Dodd-Frank Act and the Servicing Rules of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, speaking at seminars and conferences for the American Legal & Financial Network, Arizona Trustees Association, California Mortgage Bankers Association, California Credit Union Collectors Council, Legal League 100, United Trustees Association and San Diego County Bar Association’s Real Estate Section.
In recognition of her industry support efforts, Mierzwa was awarded the 2010 New Member of the Year Award by the United Trustee’s Association at its annual convention. Mierzwa is currently serving her second three year term on the Board of Directors of the United Trustee’s Association, a national organization dedicated to the enhancement, education, and legislative support of the default servicing and foreclosure industry.
Prior to joining Cal-Western, Mierzwa was a litigation and appellate attorney for ten years at a San Diego firm specializing in the representation of residential finance lenders, servicers, investors and trustees. During this practice, Mierzwa handled all aspects of civil litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, bench and jury trials, and successful defense of a number of appeals. An Arizona pro hac vice matter resulted in the reported case of Kelly v. NationsBanc Mortgage Corporation (2001) 199 Ariz. 284, clarifying the intersection of state foreclosure statutes and federal bankruptcy laws.