Box 22, Folder 17, Document 18

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Box 22, Folder 17, Document 18

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Special to The New York Times

CHICAGO, Nov. 19—A major
effort to develop “new and
imaginative” legal remedies to
combat poverty was started
here this weekend by the
N.A.A.C.P, Legal Denense and
Educational Fund, Ine.

“We are moving into an era
of poverty law which in some
sense is comparable to the
civil rights law of the mid-
1930's,” Jack Greenberg, direc-
tor-counsel of the fund, said.

Mr. Greenberg called on the
200 lawyers gathered at the
University of Chicago Law
School to benefit from the
“best thinking” on the legal
aspects of slum housing, wel-
fare, consumer fraud, and the
farm and migratory workers.

“Those of us who years ayo
were concerned solely with
orthodox issues of civil rights,”
he said, “have little by little
and for a time not fully realiz-


ing it been deaing more and’

‘leonference “is

more with questions of poverty,

and issues affecting all “Amer-

New Techniques Sought
Virtually all of the lawyers


legal profession—the fasioning
of legal remedies to achieve
human rights through the ap-
plication of imagination schol-

For example, he said that

Lawyers Begin Drive Against Poverty

were the deserving poor and the
undeserving poor.”

“As a practical reality,” he
continued, “we are still living
with that today.”

He pointed to states that deny

class actions by slum tenantsjaid to dependent children because

could succeed even in states
where there was no legislation
providing for this right. The
class action, which is a lawsuit
brought by a number of persons
acting together, is “a descend-
ant of the 17th century,” Pro-
fessor Levi said. ;

Similarly, he suggested, a
tenant could force a landlord to
rehabilitate an apartment on
the basis of “the ancient doc-
trine of abatement of a nui-

A Charge to Lawyers

In most states, Professor Levi
said, there is no effective legis-
lation to require landlords to
repair rundown apartments.
But, he said, by the use of tra-
ditional legal doctrines, ‘‘fash-
ioned with skill,” the goal can
be accomplished,

“The charge to lawyers in
our generation,” he concluded.
is to throw open the doors of
the courtroom where tradition-!
ally w ehave searched for truth!

here for the weekend conference! and equity, so that rights long

on law and poverty are actively
engaged in representing poor!
persons, either through federal-
ly funded organizations such as
the Office of Economic Oppor-|
tunity or through legal aid so-|

recognized can be effectuated."
Mr. Levi is professor of urban
studies at Chicago.
This morning a welfare law)
expert, Edward V. Sparer,
warned the lawyers that there

cieties, or as private lawyers! was increasing resistance in the

‘cooperating with the Legal De-!
‘fense Fund,

Essentially, the purpose of the
to expose the}
lawyers to new thinking on old

subjects, and to explore various|Welfare and Public Policy at!

novel legal techniques that!

country to the “basic premise"
that the indigent have a right
to assistance,

Mr. Sparer, who is legal di-|
rector of the Center of Social)

Columbia University, noted that!

the mother, whose husband has
deserted her, is suspected of
having sexual relations with an-
other man.

Compilation of Cases

A 246-page book, prepared by
fhe Legal Defense Fund, was
distributed to all the lawyers
here. The book, which will be
expanded periodically, contains
court decisions, legal essays and
forms that lawyers can use in
preparing cases. The subjects
covered are consumer credit,
slum housing, problems of farm
and migratory workers, and
welfare laws.

“If we could mobilice the
people here,” said Michael
Meltsner, a lawyer for the legal
defense fund, “there would be
a tremendous exposure of the

problems of the poor to the Ap-|:
pellate Court and to the people},

of the country.”

He continued:
now is that there is not a gen-
eral understanding as to how

people live in slums, what hap-|:
|pens to the migratory worker,
the eredit abuses that afflict}:

ghetto people, and the way the
poor are treated in the lower
criminal courts.”

Mr. Greenberg said that the
conference here was “the first
of its kind in the country” and
that he hoped it could be set up
on a national and regional basis
in the future.

The Legal Defense Fund is
not a part of the National As-
sociation for the Advancement


“The trouble!”

might be used on behalf of the/some welfare departments and gr Gplored P t is ta
disadvantaged. courts had recently taken the | jonencent Deere Sains
In the opening address yes-/position that persons might bel ion with its own board, budget,


-{terday on slum housing, Prof.|denied aid even though they . :

: oe Z et Vie oe : Yjand a staff of attorneys devoted
‘ Julian Vest one University met the eligibility requirements t, providing assistance in legal
A go, said:

of the law.

“Tt all started,” he said, Ap faction.

“In essence our task fs as

jancient and honorable as thelthe Elizabethan days when there


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