More than 150 years since McCarter & English LLP set up its headquarters in Newark, the firm and the city took another step Tuesday in their shared history by unveiling a pro bono fellowship to serve the unmet legal needs of Newark residents, with an initial focus on assisting tenants facing eviction.
With about half of the firm’s 400 lawyers located in Newark, McCarter & English is planning to launch the program this fall with a fellow who will work with other firm attorneys in representing residents of New Jersey’s largest city and take part in advocacy on housing-related issues, firm leaders said during a news conference at its offices.
“The firm’s partners have always believed that McCarter’s unique relationship with Newark warranted a unique commitment to the residents of this city,” Robert Mintz, managing partner of the firm’s Newark office, told reporters.
The firm also has represented tenants in housing court as part of its existing pro bono program, but the time felt right to “double down” on those efforts and have a full-time lawyer dedicated to providing legal services to Newark tenants who need them, according to Michelle Pallak, the firm’s pro bono director.
The fellowship’s initial focus on housing is “in response to the urgency of the need in this area,” Pallak said during the news conference.