Pro Bono News

Law Firm to Provide Free Legal Services to Low-Income Newarkers Facing Eviction (NJ)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Law Firm to Provide Free Legal Services to Low-Income Newarkers Facing Eviction

"A Downtown Newark law firm has stepped up to provide free legal services to low-income tenants in the city who are facing eviction.

McCarter & English will dedicate a fellowship position at the law firm to take on this huge task in the city. Overall, 40,000 evictions in Newark were sought by landlords in 2016, according to a study from the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality & Metropolitan Equity.

“Landlords file tens of thousands of eviction proceedings against tenants in Newark and surrounding communities every year,” said the firm’s pro bono director, Michelle Movahed, in a statement. “Only a tiny fraction of those tenants have legal representation, and we intend to change that.”

Over 20,000 households in Newark are considered "extremely rent burdened" and paying more than 50 percent of their income towards rent, according to the 2017 Rutgers study. Last year, the median rent advertised on classified websites was almost $1,400, which was a jump from 2015, the study found.

The city in May reportedly announced it was looking to provide a free lawyer for city residents who faced eviction. McCarter’s executive committee approved the creation of this fellowship program.

The firm plans to start the pro bono fellowship in the fall, once they have filled the position, and yesterday announced the program at its offices on Mulberry Street with Mayor Ras Baraka. The program will work with community service organizations, the mayor’s office and universities..."

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