Bloomberg Big Law Business talked with Haynes and Boone, LLP Senior Counsel David Fleischer about the firm’s efforts to help New York City roll out its first-in-the-nation program to provide free legal counsel to indigents facing eviction.
Here are excerpts:
Senior Counsel David Fleischer has teamed with David Ratner, a tenant lawyer with 30 years of experience at Hartman, Ule, Rose & Ratner, to guide more than two dozen attorneys at CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based legal aid provider.
“Our goal is to provide lawyers with complete confidence in trying such cases. We are trying to give them a road map for what they can expect at trial,” Fleischer said.
Fleischer and Ratner initially offered to mentor legal aid lawyers in housing court, but later decided that a training program was more useful because New York landlord-tenant law is complex. Also, new housing lawyers are facing highly practiced attorneys with regular experience representing building and apartment owners in court proceedings.
Fleischer and Ratner put together a 24-page program outlining the specifics of how to prepare and carry out a tenant defense in court, from collecting documents and preparing witnesses to [offering] tips about how to deal with a “bad” judge.
“The goal is to level the playing field for tenants in housing court,” Fleischer said.
Claunick Duronville, a CAMBA staff attorney, took the first training session in August. Duronville said Fleischer and Ratner “gave a very explicit structure for how to go about developing a theory of the case then following through on things like preparing and writing motions. You don’t learn those things in law school.”
amNY also covered Fleischer's involvement in the program's roll-out.