Jan. 31, 2022 - Senior Biden Administration officials convened a virtual event last Friday where they announced law schools which responded to the Attorney General’s Call to Action to the Legal Profession to address the housing and eviction crisis. Members of the White House, Justice Department, and Treasury Department participated and acknowledged UH Law Center as one of 99 law schools who took immediate action to increase housing stability and access to justice.
“Five months ago, I asked the legal community to answer the call to help Americans facing eviction. Law students and lawyers from across the country stepped up to take on cases, and assisted their clients and communities at a time when our country needed it the most. Today, our work is far from over, and making real the promise of equal justice under law remains our urgent and unfinished mission,” said United States Attorney Merrick Garland.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building a legal system that is just, fair, and accessible to all, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we salute the law school deans, faculty, and students for answering our call, and for using their legal skills to further the cause of access to justice. Their efforts will provide dignity, housing security, and justice to millions of families across our country,” said Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.
99 law schools in 35 states and Puerto Rico committed to help prevent evictions. In just a few months, law students across the country dedicated nearly 81,000 hours to provide legal assistance to households in their communities.
UH Law Center’s efforts were led by Director of the Consumer Law Clinic and Professor of Practice Ryan Marquez. UHLC’s faculty, staff, and students have expended more than 800 hours in these efforts. With special grant funding of $300,000 from the Texas Access Justice, Professor Marquez was able to hire additional staff who dedicated an additional 2,900 total hours towards the initiative.
“Many congrats to Professor Marquez and his team for their efforts which involved providing legal services to more than 200 households and training to over 100 legal advocates, said UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “The UH Law Center has a historic mission of providing legal services to under-resourced communities. We do that through our clinics, which are focused on consumer law, immigration law, entrepreneurship law, mediation, and many other areas of the law. Under the supervision of faculty members, students handle many of these cases and become practice ready while serving the societal interest of achieving justice. I am delighted that UH Law Center was recognized and was able to make a difference in the Houston community for the many families who faced home insecurity.”
“Everyday, the UHLC Clinical Programs strives to assist those underserved in the Houston-area community. It is great to be appreciated and recognized for our accomplishments, but there is still more work to do to make sure that those facing housing instability are afforded basic legal representation throughout the Houston area and the State of Texas,” said Professor of Practice Ryan Marquez.
Participants in the virtual event were Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, Associate Attorney General of the United States Vanita Gupta, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, Senior Advisor to the President, American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, and deans representing 99 law schools across the country.
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