New Article: Addressing the Eviction Crisis and Housing Instability Through Mediation

New Article: Karen Tokarz, Samuel Hoff Stragand, Michael Geigerman, & Wolf Smith, Addressing the Eviction Crisis and Housing Instability Through Mediation, 63 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 243 (2020). Abstract below:

The United States faces a staggering eviction crisis. St. Louis City and St. Louis County illustrate the numbers found in major cities throughout the country. The high number of eviction lawsuits filed in these areas present opportunities to address evictions outside of litigation, specifically through housing court mediation. The Mediation Project provides free mediation services for the pro se housing dockets in both St. Louis City and St. Louis County Circuit Courts. Using the Mediation Project as an example, this Article proposes that mediation is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective ways to intervene to decrease housing evictions and promote housing stability.

Call for submissions: Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy


The Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy (GJPLP) at Georgetown University Law Center invites original submissions for publication in Volume 29. The Journal is seeking timely articles about poverty and related legal and policy issues in the United States. Submissions may address topics including:

  • Health Disparities
  • Housing Insecurity
  • Financial Systems & Economic Mobility
  • Labor & Employment
  • Educational Access & Attainment
  • Trump Administration Policies
  • Biden Administration Policies
  • COVID-19 Impacts and Repercussions

This list is not intended to be exhaustive and we welcome submissions on other topics, with a poverty-oriented focus, as well.

Submission Guidelines: GJPLP prefers articles not exceed 25,000 words in length, including text and footnotes, formatted in Bluebook style. Submissions at any stage of development are welcome, though more developed submissions may receive preference. Please submit the materials as a Microsoft Word document either through Scholastica or via email to with the subject “GJPLP: Volume 29 Submission.” For full submission instructions, please visit this link.

Submission Information: We welcome submissions from diverse authors (including students) across disciplines and encourage submissions from authors that may be featured in our “Voices of Poverty” Section. Questions: Please email any questions to

New Book: Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems

9780815739289_FCNew Book: Jenny Schuetz, Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems (2022). Overview below:

Much ink has been spilled in recent years talking about political divides and inequality in the United States. But these discussions too often miss one of the most important factors in the divisions among Americans: the fundamentally unequal nature of the nation’s housing systems. Financially well-off Americans can afford comfortable, stable homes in desirable communities. Millions of other Americans cannot.

And this divide deepens other inequalities. Increasingly, important life outcomes—performance in school, employment, even life expectancy—are determined by where people live and the quality of homes they live in.

Unequal housing systems didn’t just emerge from natural economic and social forces. Public policies enacted by federal, state, and local governments helped create and reinforce the bad housing outcomes endured by too many people. Taxes, zoning, institutional discrimination, and the location and quality of schools, roads, public transit, and other public services are among the policies that created inequalities in the nation’s housing patterns.

Fixer-Upper is the first book assessing how the broad set of local, state, and national housing policies affect people and communities. It does more than describe how yesterday’s policies led to today’s problems. It proposes practical policy changes than can make stable, decent-quality housing more available and affordable for all Americans in all communities.

Fixing systemic problems that arose over decades won’t be easy, in large part because millions of middle-class Americans benefit from the current system and feel threatened by potential changes. But Fixer-Upper suggests ideas for building political coalitions among diverse groups that share common interests in putting better housing within reach for more Americans, building a more equitable and healthy country.

New Article: To Outgrow a Mockingbird: Confronting Our History–As Well As Our Fictions–About Indigent Defense in the Deep South

New Article: Sarah Gerwig-Moore, To Outgrow a Mockingbird: Confronting Our History–As Well As Our Fictions–About Indigent Defense in the Deep South, 54 Ga. L. Rev. 1297 (2020).

New Article: Aging out of Place: The Toll of Reverse Mortgages and How to Fix the Program

Note. Sam Brittingham, Aging out of Place: The Toll of Reverse Mortgages and How to Fix the Program, 29 Elder L.J. 149-180 (2021).

News Coverage: Can science solve the poverty problem?

News Coverage: M. Mitchell Waldrop, Can science solve the poverty problem?, Knowable Mag., Dec. 10, 2021.

New Article: Commodifying Marginalization

New Article: Abbye Atkinson, Commodifying Marginalization, 71 Duke L.J. 773 (2022). Abstract below:

Pillars of U.S. social provision, public pension funds rely significantly on private investment to meet their chronically underfunded promises to America’s workers. Dependent on investment returns, pension funds are increasingly investing in marginalized debt, namely the array of high-interest-rate, subprime, risky debt—including small-dollar installment loans and other forms of subprime debt—that tends to concentrate in and among historically marginalized communities, often to catastrophic effect. Marginalized debt is a valuable investment because its characteristically high interest rates and myriad fees engender higher returns. In turn, higher returns ostensibly mean greater retirement security for ordinary workers who are themselves economically vulnerable in the current atmosphere of public welfare retrenchment. They must increasingly fend for themselves if they hope to retire at a decent age and with dignity, if at all.

This Article surfaces this debt-centered relational connection between two socio-economically vulnerable groups: retirement-insecure workers and marginalized borrowers. It argues that in the hands of private financial intermediaries, whose fiduciary duties and profit-sensitive incentives eschew broader moral considerations of the source of profits or the social consequences of regressive wealth extraction, depends openly on the tenuous socioeconomic condition of one community as a source of wealth accumulation for another vulnerable community. Consequently, it argues that the incursion of private entities into the arena of public welfare is pernicious because it commodifies and reinforces the subordinate socioeconomic conditions on which marginalized debt thrives.

New Report: Addressing Homelessness Through Hotel Conversions

Hotel-Acquisitions-Final-December-2021-coverNew Report: Carolina Reid,Shazia Manji & Hayden Rosenberg, Addressing Homelessness Through Hotel Conversions (Terner Center Report, Dec. 2021).

New Article: The Economic Dimensions of Family Separation

New Article: Stephen Lee, The Economic Dimensions of Family Separation, 71 Duke L.J. 845 (2022). Abstract below:

Migrants in the United States experience varying degrees of harm related to family separation. This article focuses on the economic dimensions of these harms by focusing on transnational remittances, a topic that has generated significant scholarly attention. Within this story, remitters are pitched as heroes and remittances are held up as a critical, market-based solution for solving global poverty. Of course, this picture is incomplete. This account ignores remittance-sending countries and provides only a narrow account of law. This Article focuses on anti-money laundering policies, an important set of U.S. laws that regulate the remittance economy. Examining remittances from this perspective shows that anti-money laundering and antimigration policies form a joint project that regulates the relationship between migrants and their family members. While antimigration laws inhibit migrant mobility, anti-money laundering laws create uneven opportunities for transferring wage earnings to family members left behind on their journey. Recognizing the connection between these areas of the law leads to the Article’s broader contribution: identifying different ways that the law exacerbates or mitigates the economic harms related to family separation. Specifically, anti-money laundering policies help structure the conditions in which migrants engage in expression of affinity across borders, thereby showing the intertwined nature of economic and physical harms within transnational families.

New Article: Inheriting Privilege

New Article: Allison Anna Tait, Inheriting Privilege, Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 106, 2021 (forthcoming). Abstract below:

All families may be created equal, so to speak. But differences between families in terms of economic wealth, resource networks, and access to cultural capital are both severe and stark. A large part of what shapes this scenery of economic possibility is the legal framework of wealth transfer. Wealth travels through generations and sticks, crystallizing in predictable places and shapes, thereby embedding complex forms of inequality within and between families. The family trust, in particular, is a mode of transfer that facilitates wealth preservation as well as wealth inequality. Family trusts are tailored to convey and defend complex patrimonies in ways that no other form of wealth transfer can do. Wills, the other most common form of wealth transfer, do not have the same functionality and can only effectuate a one-time transfer, making it difficult to exert long-term control over beneficiaries.

This Article’s primary goal is to excavate the myriad ways in which the family trust is a driver of inequality by explaining the family trust’s plasticity and ability to bend to the needs of high-wealth families. The Article accomplishes this by demonstrating how the family trust facilitates not only wealth inequality but also social and cultural inequality. These explorations into complex inequality and its furtherance by the family trust are useful because they help us better appreciate the significant role that family trusts play in the evolving story of class, gender, and race privilege in the United States. Attending to the practices and possibilities of the family trust also leads us to a better understanding of how trust reform might begin to dislocate the family trust from its central positioning within the legal architecture of inequality. Ultimately, the family trust does not have to be coextensive with elite family advantage; it can be reimagined to work on behalf of communities that are economically vulnerable and historically dispossessed.