King County Bar Association Housing Justice Project
Shelby Adsero is interning with the King County Bar Association Housing Justice Project (HJP). HJP is a homelessness prevention program providing accessible volunteer-based legal services to low-income tenants facing eviction in King County.
July 1, 2013
I am beginning my sixth week at the King County Bar Association Housing Justice Project (HJP). Interning with HJP has been a magnificent experience! HJP only has three staff attorneys and two program coordinators and everyone else involved with the clinic is a volunteer. This has given me the opportunity to meet and work with numerous attorneys from King County.
I have learned a great deal about landlord-tenant law in Washington. Landlord-tenant law is very interesting because it is always dependent on the type of housing a client has. There are specific rules for federally funded housing, there is the Residential Landlord Tenant Act which applies to private housing in Washington, and there is a separate set of laws applicable to mobile home housing.
Every day with HJP is a little different and always interesting. I have the opportunity to work on all types of eviction issues. The most important thing I have learned so far is the value of great negotiation skills. Most of the cases we see are settled through negotiations without having to go to a hearing. This saves time and money for all parties involved and we can usually secure a deal that is amenable to our clients. In addition to learning about negotiations, I have also had the opportunity to help draft stipulations, answers, and client letters. I also help with client intake and interviews.
So far I have been working on two projects for HJP. The first was creating a pocket brief for a recent landlord-tenant case related to federally funded housing and drafting a form pleading that could be used by volunteer attorneys who have clients in similar situations. This project has been a huge learning experience as I have never drafted a motion before. My second project involves researching and writing a memo on the issue of whether tenants can be evicted for recreational use of marijuana now that it is legal under Washington state law. This project is interesting because the marijuana law is very recent and case law related to this issue is very limited. Both projects have been very interesting and educational and I have wonderful supervising attorneys that have been instructing me along the way!
I love working at HJP! I am gaining valuable and relevant work experience and the people are absolutely wonderful and passionate about their work. Moreover, at the end of every day, we are able to help our clients one way or another, whether it is big or small. I love having the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help others and I look forward to the rest of the summer!