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The Effects of Legal Representation on Tenant Outcomes in Housing Court: Evidence from New York City’s Universal Access Program

Mike Cassidy and Janet Currie
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Mike Cassidy: Princeton University

Working Papers from Princeton University. Economics Department.

Abstract: Housing is one of the areas where it may be most critical for poor people to have access to legal representation in civil cases. We study the roll-out of New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel program (UA), using detailed address-level housing court data from 2016 to 2019. The program, which became law in August 2017, offers free legal representation in housing court to tenants with income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline. We find that tenants who gain access to lawyers are less likely to be subject to possessory judgments, face smaller monetary judgments, and are less likely to have eviction warrants issued against them. Lawyers have larger effects in poorer places and in those with larger shares of non-citizens. UA also reduces executed evictions in these locations. Our results support the idea that legal representation in civil procedures can have an important positive impact on the lives of poor people.

Keywords: Housing; Legal; Universal Access to Counsel program; Legal Representation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K40 K49 R39 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-ure
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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