By David Brand
Amid a growing demand for housing lawyers, New York Law School (NYLS) announced the introduction of a new training program to teach supervision and management skills to housing rights attorneys citywide.
In August 2017, New York City became the first municipality in the United States to introduce a right-to-counsel law for low-income resident at-risk of eviction and homelessness. The NYLS’ 10-day program, known as the Housing Justice Leadership Institute (HJLI), will train attorneys to prepare others to take on cases in housing court. By 2022, the city will require more than 1,000 housing attorneys, NYLS estimates.
“The Housing Justice Leadership Institute will help housing rights supervisors assure that low-income tenants are provided with the high-quality legal representation they deserve,” said NYLS Professor Andrew Scherer, co-director of the HJLI and co-chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Civil Right to Counsel Task Force. Professor Kim Hawkins serves as the other co-director.
The HJLI curriculum was developed by NYLS faculty and a panel of experts, who modeled the program after the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Curriculum topics include developing supervisory systems, understanding nonprofit finances and addressing structural racism.
“Providing innovative, high-quality legal training that strengthens our city’s antipoverty work is at the heart of NYLS’s mission,” said NYLS Dean and President Anthony W. Crowell. “I am grateful to Professors Andrew Scherer and Kim Hawkins for their vision and leadership of the HJLI, to the program’s generous financial supporters, and to those leading our city’s pioneering right-to-counsel work.”
The initiative received funding from the New York State Interest on Lawyer Account Fund and the Robin Hood Foundation and has received support from the City Bar Fund, Inc., the New York City Human Resources Administration’s Office of Civil Justice.
“As the agency administering New York City’s first-in-the-nation Universal Access to Counsel initiative, HRA is proud to support and applauds New York Law School and the Shriver Center for establishing this groundbreaking program,” said New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “The Housing Justice Leadership Institute will enable our legal services provider partners to continue expanding their high-quality legal assistance programs, and to create a group of leaders in the fight for access to justice and a fair legal system for all New Yorkers.”
NYLS is currently seeking applications for the HJLI from housing supervisors in New York City nonprofit legal service organizations that are contracting with the city to provide services under the right-to-counsel program. Applicants should also have less than three years of supervisory experience.
The program will accept 20 participants for the spring 2019 program, which begins on Feb. 28 and runs through June 14 at the NYLS Tribeca campus. The application deadline is Thursday, Jan. 24.