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Thursday, December 7 • 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Being an Advocate: Community Organizing and Community Lawyering

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This workshop will evaluate the legal model of group representation, educate about how to organize and advocate for group clients from the perspective of community-based organizations (CBOs) and community-based lawyering, and discuss the strengths and risks in this approach to advocacy. An attorney and organizer will provide a framework of group representation as practiced at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (BKA) in the housing advocacy context. After a review of the harassment tactics landlords use to force out lower-income tenants, we will discuss how attorneys at BKA work with tenant organizers at CBOs to form a horizontal team to provide group representation. This workshop will illustrate how the team works with groups of tenants to identify issues and goals, gain commitment of tenants, and organize tenant associations (TAs). Participants will gain an understanding about power imbalances and how collective action shifts the power into the hands of the TA members. The workshop will discuss how group representation provides a grassroots movement among the tenants in each building and how the success of the litigation is directly tied to the commitment of each member to the TA. Presenters will share case examples of how group action in Housing Court and other forums have been a strong tool for TAs. Participants will learn about other ways the group can choose to advocate for its goals outside of court, including press actions, lobbying politicians, and working with community coalitions. All these tactics serve to empower the group by requiring them to work together. The workshop will also address other strengths and major risks that come along with group representation.


Rachel Nager

Staff Attorney, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
Rachel Nager is a staff attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A’s Preserving Affordable Housing Program, Group Representation Unit. In this position, she brings affirmative litigation on behalf of tenant associations against unscrupulous landlords. She also defends individual... Read More →

Milagros Sandoval

Community Outreach and Intake Specialist, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
Milagros Sandoval, a lifelong resident of Bushwick, is a community outreach and intake specialist at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A’s Preserving Affordable Housing Program, Group Representation Unit. In this position, she organizes residents of 6- to 50-unit buildings into... Read More →

Thursday December 7, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm EST
Meeting Room 2 Meeting Room Level