Housing Justice Leadership Institute

Program Information and Application

The Housing Justice Leadership Institute (HJLI) at NYLS is a 10-day leadership, supervision, and management skills training program that commenced on February 28, 2019. Program participants will receive CLE credits for attendance and a certificate from NYLS upon satisfactory completion of the program.

Foundational Principles

HJLI’s program is designed to help supervising attorneys develop the skills and strengths they need to lead, supervise, manage, and support delivery of the highest quality legal assistance to tenants who face eviction from their homes. The program, rooted in a commitment to housing as a basic human right, will build supervisors’ capacities to help those they supervise recognize and address the racialized nature of housing exclusion, instability, and segregation. It will be based on an understanding that New York City’s right to counsel law is not as an end in itself—but rather a vehicle to shift the balance of power in support of tenants’ rights: to protect against evictions, mitigate gentrification, preserve communities, and invest in the development of affordable housing. It will reinforce the critical role of lawyers in supporting a community-led housing justice movement and building power and voice in community-based groups. And it will build the skills needed to manage program operations and supervise and support attorneys and paralegals in providing high quality legal assistance that is effective in achieving these goals and consistent with these values.


The HJLI curriculum is largely based on the work of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and will include topics such as: communicating with strategic intent • understanding systems and identifying strategic points of intervention • recognizing and addressing structural and other forms of racism • understanding the supervisory role • working effectively in and with low-income communities • developing effective supervisory systems • giving effective constructive feedback • supporting the development of writing skills • nurturing talent • understanding the uses and limitations of technology • developing authentic, reliable and trustworthy leadership • managing from the middle • ensuring accountability • understanding situational supervision • working and supervising across difference • handling difficult conversations • managing and resolving conflict • understanding nonprofit finances and funding • developing and using metrics • dealing with contract-driven performance goals • addressing motivation and burn-out • planning and facilitating effective meetings • delegating successfully • preparing for and conducting effective performance reviews • developing work plans • time management • guiding ethical practice • integrating and supporting non-attorney staff • supporting professional development • supervising former peers • developing and strengthening individual renewal practices • and more.


NYLS faculty and the Shriver Center have developed the HJLI curriculum with the expert assistance of an advisory committee of leading members of New York City’s advocacy community. The program has been made possible with the financial support of the Robin Hood Foundation and the IOLA Fund of the State of New York, in collaboration with the City Bar Fund, Inc. and in cooperation with the Office of Civil Justice, New York City Human Resources Administration. Twenty candidates will be selected for this initial program. The program will be repeated again in the fall of 2019 and twice each year for at least the following two years.

Applicant qualifications and application process: Candidates for this training program must be housing supervisors in nonprofit legal services organizations in New York City who have less than three years’ supervisory experience. Preference will be given to candidates who are working in legal services organizations that are participating in New York City’s right to counsel program for low income tenants facing eviction. Candidates must have the support of their legal services organizations for their applications and commitment from their organizations to release them from a sufficient amount of work obligations to participate actively in the training program. Candidates must commit to remain in their current positions for at least two years after completion of the training program. They must also commit to attend all sessions of the training program. The selection decisions will emphasize diversity in the trainee cohort, including representation from different boroughs, different legal services organizations, and diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ identity, age, ability and other factors.

The inaugural program is now in session. Note that while there was a limited number of slots for this initial program, the program will be repeated multiple times.


The program will be held at NYLS in lower Manhattan and will run on a total of 10 intermittent days, mostly Fridays and some Thursdays, through June 14, 2019. Participants may need to spend some additional time between sessions.

The dates for the Spring 2019 program are:

  • Sessions 1-2: Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1
  • Session 3: Friday, March 15
  • Session 4: Friday, March 29
  • Session 5: Friday April 12
  • Session 6: Friday, April 26
  • Session 7: Friday, May 10
  • Session 8: Friday, May 31
  • Session 9-10: Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14.


The HJLI Application for the inaugural program can be found online. Note that applications are not being accepted at the moment. The inaugural program is now in session.

Housing Justice Leadership Institute: Professors Andrew Scherer and Kim Hawkins, Housing Justice Leadership Institute at NYLS, Co-Directors; Ellen Hemley, Sargent Shriver Center for Poverty Law, Chief Consultant; Jarienn James, Racial Justice Fellow at NYLS, Program Administrator; Advisory Committee: Professor Paris Baldacci, Cardozo Law School, Emeritus; Professor Carol Buckler, NYLS; Helder Coehlo, City Bar Justice Center; Marika Dias, Legal Services NYC; Jonathan Fox, New York Legal Assistance Group; Leah Goodridge, Mobilization for Justice; Amy Hammersmith, NOLSW, United Auto Workers; Ignacio Jaurequilorda, Center for Court Innovation; Doreen Odom, Legal Services NYC; Runa Rajagopal, The Bronx Defenders; Kerri-Ann Wright, Legal Aid Society