Eloise Lawrence, a community lawyering advocate, was named assistant clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and deputy faculty director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), effective Jan. 1.
She was previously a clinical instructor and a lecturer on law at HLS. She was also the director for community lawyering and strategic initiatives at HLAB, a student-run civil legal aid organization founded in 1913.
“I am delighted that Eloise Lawrence has joined our faculty. She played a pivotal role at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, finding novel and effective ways for lawyers and law students to work hand-in-hand with clients, community members, and community organizations to secure protections for individuals and families facing eviction and predatory practices,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Eloise is a terrific lawyer, advocate, and teacher, and her skill and dedication provides our students and our community with an outstanding example of what great public interest lawyers can accomplish.”
Lawrence joined HLAB in 2011 at the height of the foreclosure crisis to work with students and community organizers to defend hundreds of families—homeowners and tenants who were losing their homes due to foreclosure. During the crisis, her cases involved predatory lending, improper foreclosure practices, discrimination, and unfair practices in the servicing of loans. She also worked with organizers to advocate for policy changes at the local, state and federal level. Since 2015, she has defended families who are being displaced from their homes and communities due to gentrification and speculation. In addition to protecting tenants in the courts, she, along with her students, works closely with community organizers to ensure tenants realize their collective power.
At HLS, Lawrence co-teaches Housing Law and Policy on a biennial basis and is a member of the HLAB teaching team for courses specifically geared towards HLAB student attorneys. She also serves as supervisor and faculty adviser for the student practice organization Project No One Leaves.
From 2008 to 2010, she served as a staff attorney in the consumer rights unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), where she brought affirmative suits on behalf of mortgagors against loan originators, servicers and foreclosing entities.
Earlier in her career, she worked for the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) in Boston, leading its Environmental Health and Justice Initiative using community lawyering to tackle issues such as removing lead from Boston’s drinking water, providing accessible public transportation and ensuring adequate environmental review for bio-containment labs.
Prior to working at CLF, she was a Skadden Fellow with Business and Professional People for the Public Interest in Chicago, where she represented public housing residents in civil rights class actions.
“I am deeply honored to join the HLS faculty. This position will allow me to continue to teach and work with HLS students, to serve the individuals and communities who are traditionally underrepresented by our profession as well as to collaborate with other members of the remarkable HLS faculty,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence received a B.A. in history from Stanford in 1995 and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 2002, where she focused on a variety of social justice issues including juvenile justice, affordable housing and LGBTQ rights.