Today, Dean Anthony W. Crowell joined dozens of law school deans across the country to issue a public statement in support of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement on the importance of the legal community in providing support for tenants, landlords, and courts for the coming housing and eviction crisis. The U.S. Supreme Court held last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had exceeded its authority in acting to prevent landlords from evicting tenants during a public health crisis. Thus, the ruling prevents a continuation of COVID-19 pandemic-related protections for tenants and homeowners, and various state and local government policies have expired as well. This is expected to cause a significant rise in eviction and foreclosure proceedings.
The statement from the nation’s law deans reads: “As law school deans responsible for training the next generation of lawyers to be stewards of an effective, equitable, and just legal system, we feel obliged to do our part. Therefore, we are working with our faculty and students to take immediate and meaningful action to combat this crisis.”
The joint statement goes on to affirm that law schools will use their resources to ensure that families and individuals facing eviction have the legal representation, counseling, and the assistance they need to exercise their rights, and that eviction proceedings are conducted in a fair and just manner.
New York Law School has a long history of leading on housing rights and representation. Throughout the pandemic, NYLS’s Housing Rights Clinic has helped clients stay in their homes. And NYLS’s Housing Justice Leadership Institute continues to train housing rights attorneys in the management skills needed to scale their organizations. Professor Andrew Scherer was a key part of the successful effort to pass New York City’s “Right to Counsel” law in 2017, and is working with NYLS students, housing and legal advocates to expand these protections statewide.
“New York Law School is proud to join our fellow law schools in answering the call by Attorney General Garland to respond to the impending housing crisis, said Anthony W. Crowell, NYLS Dean and President, “Our law school has a long record of training new lawyers and advocates, and being leaders of the legal and policy measures taken in response to urgent housing issues. We are ready to respond to this urgent national challenge.”
“The nation’s law school deans are to be applauded for their rapid and robust response to Attorney General Garland’s call to the legal community to help tenants remain in their homes in the face of expiring eviction moratoriums and an impending massive eviction crisis,” said Professor Andrew Scherer, Policy Director for NYLS’s Impact Center for Public Interest Law. “Until there is a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction throughout the country and until laws and policies are put in place to assure decent affordable housing in safe and stable communities for all regardless of income, we must of course rely on the types of volunteer efforts called for by the Attorney General. It is gratifying to see that the law schools stand ready to do their part. “