How We Help
We provide multifaceted representation to individuals facing eviction following foreclosure. The Clinic counsels and represents individual tenants in this situation, takes on impact litigation, lobbies on the local, state, and federal levels for greater tenant protections, provides trainings to pro se tenants, housing subsidy providers, social workers and legal services attorneys on tenants’ rights after foreclosure, and works with community partners to bring public attention to the social problems caused by mass displacement of tenants living in foreclosed buildings.
Apply for Assistance
Clients are referred to the Clinic through its referral partners. There is no formal application process.
To be eligible for legal assistance from the Clinic, you must be referred by one of community partners.
Maureen E. McDonagh
Lecturer on Law and Director of the Housing Law Clinic
Maureen joined the Center in January 1998 as a Clinical Instructor in the Housing Law and Litigation Unit. She oversaw the move to specializing in Post-Foreclosure Cases and was in July, 2006 appointed to the Faculty as a Lecture. She has, since 2011, directed the Housing Law Clinic and she teaches the accompanying class to second and third year Harvard Law School students. Prior to her work at the Center, Maureen, for ten years, specialized in the representation of indigent individuals in criminal defense and child abuse and neglect cases. Maureen has volunteered as a Citizen Teacher with the Citizen Schools program, mentoring Boston Public Middle School students in a Legal Apprenticeship Program that met at LSC. She has also served as adjunct faculty at the Urban College of Boston, which is affiliated with Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. Maureen received her B.A. from Suffolk University in 1980 and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in 1987.
Attorney and Lecturer on Law, Housing Law Clinic; Director, Housing Justice for Survivors Project
Julia Devanthéry co-teaches the Housing Clinic and directs the Housing Justice for Survivors Project, which she founded in 2017. The Housing Justice for Survivors Project trains clinical law students to represent tenants who are facing housing instability due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Students under Julia’s supervision provide direct client representation, develop and litigate impact litigation, conduct housing rights trainings for community members and advocates, and engage in local, state, and federal law reform efforts aimed at improving the housing rights of survivors. Julia and students in the Housing Justice project represented the tenant in BHA v. YA, 482 Mass. 240 (2019), in which the Supreme Judicial Court decided affirmed a domestic violence survivor’s right to raise the Violence Against Women Act defense to a non-payment of rent eviction.
From 2018-2020, Julia was the Dignity for All Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Southern California where she worked to safeguard the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness and advance the right to safe, affordable housing for all.
Julia is the author of Boston Housing Authority v. Y.A., 482 Mass. 240 (2019): SJC Clarifies VAWA Defenses in Eviction Cases, Early Lease Termination Under G.L. c. 186 s 24: An Essential Escape Route for Tenants Who are Facing Domestic Violence Sexual Assault or Stalking and The Supreme Judicial Court’s Decision in Beacon Residential v. R.P. Gives Survivors of Domestic Violence Their Day in Housing Court, all published in the Boston Bar Journal, and co-author of Chapter 12: Evictions in the 8th edition of Massachusetts Law Reform’s pro se manual Legal Tactics: Tenant’s Rights In Massachusetts. She also co-authored an ACLU report exposing abuse, neglect, and unsafe living conditions inside county-funded homeless shelters in Southern California. Julia received her juris doctor from Northeastern University School of Law and she graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Sociology.
This website is neither a solicitation nor an offer to represent you concerning any legal problem. The information conveyed on this website is not legal advice and is not intended to and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and our law firm or any attorney with our firm. Please be s aware that unsolicited letters, emails, and faxes do not create an attorney-client relationship, and you should not send any confidential information to us unless and until you and our firm enter into a formal agreement establishing an attorney-client relationship.
For information about the Housing Law Clinic please contact Maureen E. McDonagh, mcdonagh[at]law.harvard.edu, 617.390.2542