Newark law firm McCarter & English plans to create a pro bono fellowship to help Newark tenants facing eviction.
“We will start out concentrating on the unmet legal needs of tenants, but we’re going to be flexible,” said Michelle Movahed, the firm’s pro bono director, in a statement. “If it becomes clear in the future that the city’s residents need our support in another area, the fellowship program will adapt accordingly.”
The fellowship, which will be filled by one person for a one-year renewable term, will begin in early fall. The position is salaried with benefits.
The firm is taking applications for the fellowship through Aug. 31. Ideally, candidates will be multilingual with four years of experience including two litigating in housing court.
The successful candidate will serve low-income tenants and collaborate with service organizations, the Newark mayor’s office and local universities to educate tenants on their rights and to educate the public on the social and legal aspects of eviction.
“We believe that our focus on the rights of tenants can make a real difference for Newark families,” Mohaved said. “Landlords file tens of thousands of eviction proceedings against tenants in Newark and surrounding communities every year. Only a tiny fraction of those tenants have legal representation, and we intend to change that.”
The idea for the fellowship came out of talks with Mayor Ras Baraka, who told the firm that representing tenants in eviction issues would be a great way to give back to Newark.
“We are very grateful that the firm is teaming with us to protect the rights of some of Newark’s most at-risk residents, tenants waging unequal battles against landlords unjustly seeking evictions,” said Baraka in a statement. “These residents desperately need the seasoned talented and compassionate representation that McCarter & English will provide.”