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PHILADELPHIA-Call it the inevitable sign of the times. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll LLP is forming a practice to address legal fall out from the subprime crisis. Called the Subprime Lending Group, it is being coordinated by locally based partner Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., in Ballard’s Litigation Department, and partner Alan Kaplinsky.

The need for such a practice has become more evident over the months, Hockeimer tells GlobeSt.com, with the most recent example being reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened inquires into the practices of at least 14 investment and mortgage banks for possible fraudulent activities. Civil suits are sure to be part of the landscape in the coming months, he adds, as well as other regulatory actions. “Mortgage companies, bank rating agencies and appraisal companies have all been looked at by various regulators.”

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll is drawing upon lawyers in a variety of practices to staff the new group including the consumer finance, securities, white collar, regulatory, real estate, investment management, bankruptcy, securitization and tax practices. The attorneys will continue to work in their respective offices, while assuming this new case load. Hockeimer declined to guess exactly what the case load might be. “It’s too hard to say right now. Federal and regulatory investigations are still in the early stages and it is too soon to determine how many and what type of companies will be targeted.”

The firm has eleven offices including in those states hit hardest with defaults on loans. “Arizona, Nevada and California are all areas with high default rates and all are states where Ballard has a strong presence,” he says.

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