NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman, in an interview published Thursday, outlined some of his priorities as the state's new top lawyer.

Schneiderman takes over for Andrew Cuomo, who was elected governor, on Jan. 1.

In an interview with DealBook, a financial news report feature on the New York Times' website, the former deputy sheriff of Berkshire County, Mass., and Wall Street defender said he's "very interested" in what he describes as "the more grass-roots" consequences of the economic meltdown.

He said he also plans to shed the light on those issues related to mortgage foreclosures, debt collection and the practices of credit card companies and "others who hold a lot of consumer debt."

"I think the issue of ratings agencies is still not completely behind us," Schneiderman told DealBook.

"I think obviously the foreclosure crisis is something that has to be addressed immediately and there's a 50-state action by all the attorney generals relating to foreclosures and bank misconduct, so that's something that I'll be in from day one."

State attorneys general have taken the lead in responding to a nationwide scandal that's called into question the accuracy and legitimacy of documents that lenders relied on to evict people from their homes.

Employees of a handful of lenders already have acknowledged in depositions that they signed off on foreclosure documents without reading them.

The 55-year-old Democratic state senator also pointed to New York's financial services laws and regulations, which he says are in need of "some modernization."

"The opportunity to do that, I think, is coming because we're going to have to adjust our laws to fit in with the new federal laws and regulations," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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