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New Eviction Right to Counsel Program for Low-Income Renters

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, announced today that Elizabeth Leiserson and Zane Jud have joined the firm’s new Eviction Right to Counsel program for qualifying low-income renters, with Leiserson serving as project director and Jud as project coordinator. 

The two-year, $2.6 million Eviction Right to Counsel pilot program is aimed at providing outreach, education, and legal aid to qualifying low-income renters. Legal Aid Society is partnering in the effort with Conexión Américas and the Nashville Hispanic Bar Association. The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan, is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee to take a comprehensive approach to provide legal counsel for tenants facing eviction.

“The Eviction Right to Counsel program is a historic investment by Davidson County to help protect the rights of residents having trouble staying in their homes,” said DarKenya W. Waller, executive director of Legal Aid Society. “To ensure the success of this important program, we’ve expanded our existing group of housing attorneys, who will be led by Elizabeth, an intelligent and motivated attorney with experience helping to secure justice for low-income clients. We’re also so glad to have Zane, whose previous management and coordination experience will be hugely beneficial in managing the inflow of cases we’re already receiving.”

Leiserson comes to Legal Aid Society from Southern Migrant Legal Services, where she had served as a staff attorney and Skadden Fellow since 2019. In that role, she represented farmworkers and other low-wage workers in administrative complaints and litigation regarding housing, workplace conditions, wages, program oversight, and forced labor. She has also previously served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as a Stevens Fellow for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2017 and graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2009.

“Nashville is my home, and I’m ready to get to work helping other people keep their homes here,” Leiserson said. “Everyone deserves a chance to have their side of the story heard in court, and our staff here at the Eviction Right to Counsel program is already working hard to make that happen.”

Jud has previously served as hall director of Bradley University Residential Living since 2019, and has also held positions with the City of Indianapolis’s Mayor’s Office and Office of Public Health and Safety. He earned his master’s degree from Bradley in nonprofit leadership and business in 2022. He received his bachelor’s in political science and history from Bradley in 2020, graduating summa cum laude.

Legal Aid Society has also recently hired two additional housing attorneys, two paralegals, two legal navigators, and two intake workers, who will join the existing housing attorneys to round out the Eviction Right to Counsel team.

All low-income Davidson County residents will be eligible for the program’s services, including immigrant communities, for whom Legal Aid Society will be partnering with Conexión Américas and the Nashville Hispanic Bar Association. The program aims to eventually provide legal assistance to anyone facing eviction who meets eligibility requirements.

About Legal Aid Society

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands advocates for fairness and justice under the law. The nonprofit law firm offers free civil legal representation and educational programs to help people in its region receive justice, protect their well-being and support opportunities to overcome poverty. It serves 48 counties from offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma. Legal Aid Society is funded in part by United Way. Learn more at www.las.org or by following the firm on Facebook.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. Current General Manager Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1 and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (28 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,662 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served 4 years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for 6 years at Grundy County High School.

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