GRAND RAPIDS — Chapman Law Firm Co., a prime contractor for the federal government, has set up shop in Grand Rapids to service the needs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ohio-based Chapman Law Firm represents the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture in addition to HUD and provides those agencies with real estate law counsel, loan processing and servicing and asset management services. The firm also represents the interests of financial service providers, said founder Frank H. Chapman II.
The company is leasing a 3,750-square-foot warehouse at 2400 Turner Ave. NW. Chapman said opening an office in Grand Rapids just made sense due to its geographic proximity to HUD’s Western Michigan assets. His firm also has an office in Warren to service HUD assets in Eastern Michigan. The firm is also servicing HUD offices in Detroit and Flint.
“It is our hope that that this geographic proximity and willingness to listen and quickly respond will bring a new, improved level of service to Grand Rapids, as well as the entire state of Michigan,” Chapman said.
HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing. The agency supplies Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages for that purpose. If someone with a HUD mortgage can’t meet payments, the lender forecloses on the home, and HUD pays the lender what is owed. HUD then takes ownership of the house and sells it at market value, and that’s where Chapman Law steps in to assist.
“It is our goal to return local homes to families through FHA loans, and while doing so, make single family homes serviced by HUD add value to a neighborhood rather than detract from surrounding home values,” Chapman said.
Chapman Law employs five lawyers along with a sizable paralegal and administrative support staff. About 75 of Chapman Law’s 150 employees work out of the firm’s headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, and the remainder work in five other offices throughout Michigan and Ohio, he said. The firm has one attorney counsel in Michigan.
Chapman pointed out that his firm has won 19 government contracts since 2002 and will continue to compete for further contracts. He said the firm will be bidding on a large government contract this year and, if successful in its bid, will add several more jobs in this area. The majority of government contracts are for a period of three, four or five years. The current HUD contract is for five years.
“The competition for these contracts is intense,” Chapman said. “I was told by HUD that there were over 1,000 proposals submitted in response to the management and marketing request for proposal.”