McCarter & English has launched a new initiative to provide pro bono legal representation to Newark residents who are facing eviction proceedings by their landlords.
The program, slated to begin in early fall, will expand the law firm’s pro bono services to low-income tenants in its home city, McCarter announced Tuesday. The initiative also calls for collaborating with community service organizations, the mayor’s office, universities and other stakeholders to educate tenants about their rights and influence public opinion by speaking and writing on the societal and legal aspects of eviction.
McCarter’s executive committee, which unanimously approved the creation of the new fellowship program, has set a starting salary that is competitive for public interest lawyers, plus benefits, the firm said in a news release. The fellow will report to Michelle Movahed, the firm’s pro bono director, and Robert Mintz, managing partner of the firm’s Newark office.
“We will start out concentrating on the unmet legal needs of tenants, but we’re going to be flexible,” said Movahed, an experienced social justice lawyer. “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 firm, whose founder is the namesake of McCarter Highway, has deep roots in Newark that go back more than 150 years. Mintz said those ties “warranted a unique commitment to the city’s residents,” which will continue through the new fellowship.