Irv Ackelsberg joined the firm in September 2006. A prominent public interest lawyer, Irv practiced for 30 years with Community Legal Services, Inc. (“CLS”) of Philadelphia. At CLS, Irv led its consumer law work. He is an expert in the areas of consumer credit, foreclosure defense, bankruptcy, and consumer fraud. Irv has been the recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Andrew Hamilton Award for exemplary service in the public interest, and the prestigious Vern Countryman Award from the National Consumer Law Center, for his lifetime achievement on behalf of low-income consumers.
During his years at CLS, Irv concentrated much of his attention on combating predatory lending practices, combining a high-volume home-defense practice with creative, complex litigation and legislative/administrative advocacy. In the area of foreclosure defense, Irv pioneered many ground-breaking approaches. See, e.g., Fleet Real Estate Funding v. Smith, 530 A.2d 919 (1987) (equitable defense based on lender’s violation of FHA servicing guidelines); Newton v. United Cos. Fin. Corp., 24 F.Supp.2d 444 (E.D. Pa. 1998) (first reported case to apply TILA rescission remedy to violation of special notice requirements applicable to high-cost mortgages and approving cause of action under ECOA for lender’s bait-and-switch application and closing practices); Green Tree Consumer Discount Co. v. Newton, 909 A.2d 811 (Pa. Super. 2006) (narrowing earlier decisions that had limited defenses to foreclosure; approving as defenses that mortgagor had not knowingly conveyed mortgage and that financed home improvements were not done as promised).
Irv has appeared before the United States Senate and the Federal Reserve Board as an expert on mortgage abuse, and advised state agencies on reform strategies. He is the author of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure, Pennsylvania Law and Practice (2012), and is a contributing author of the Pennsylvania Consumer Law treatise.
At Langer, Grogan & Diver, besides continuing to represent victims of predatory financial services, Irv has developed an interest in combating abuses in the employment background screening industry, see, e.g. Goode v. LexisNexis, 845 F. Supp.2d 532 (E.D.Pa. 2012) (class action for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act), and representing consumer classes as creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, see Gentry v. Seigel, 668 F.3d 83 (4th Cir. 2012) (recognizing right to file class bankruptcy claims and adopting position advocated by Irv as counsel of amicus curiae).
Irv is also an active and well-known community leader. He helped develop a successful campaign to keep state-authorized gambling casinos out of his residential neighborhood. He was the lead counsel in the 2009 lawsuit that enjoined the closing of eleven neighborhood branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia as part of a municipal budget-cutting plan.
Irv is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and of the Philadelphia Bar Association.