One Newark resident says his landlord has brought him into housing court four times in two years to try to evict him. While NJTV News can’t verify his story as to why, he is one of the lucky few to have a lawyer.
“Dismissed. The lawyer came in and dismissed the case,” he said.
Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka says the city needs a lot of lawyers to handle the thousands of eviction cases each year, and one law firm is planning to help.
McCarter & English plans to hire a pro bono attorney who will work on landlord/tenant disputes in Newark. It’s one piece of the mayor’s initiative to offer free legal aid for low-income residents facing eviction.
“There are staggering numbers of eviction proceedings filed in the city of Newark each year and only a tiny fraction of the tenants actually have legal representation. We know that having a lawyer in housing court makes a difference. Lawyers can help negotiate settlements that give people time to make a plan,” said Michelle Movahed, pro bono director at McCarter & English. “We know that having a lawyer means that tenants can assert the defenses they may not even know exist.”
“Our executive committee enthusiastically endorsed this great idea of hiring a full-time pro bono attorney whose job it will be to be dedicated solely to serving the unmet legal needs of Newark’s residents,” said Robert Mintz, managing partner of McCarter & English’s Newark office.
Click to watch clip: Law Firm Partners with Newark to Provide Free Help in Eviction Cases