Allie Dentinger ’24 had an exciting October.
The Albany Law School 3L was named to the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Pro Bono Honor Roll and her research was published in American Bar Association’s (ABA) Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law.
The AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll “acknowledges and highlights the pro bono work of individuals engaging in, expanding, and/or supporting their law school community in providing pro bono legal services.” Professor Ted W. De Barbieri was named to the inaugural list in 2022.
Dentinger has dedicated much of her time at Albany Law School to housing law and aiding Albany residents facing housing loss or eviction. She works alongside Professor De Barbieri in the Community Economic Development Clinic within The Edward P. Swyer Justice Center at Albany Law School. She also leads the Tenants Rights’ Pro Bono Project, a group which regularly helps United Tenants of Albany answer helpline inquires from renters.
Her ABA journal piece, “Two Sides to the Same Coin: How Tenants and Attorneys Can Combine to Win Housing Justice for All,” examines the direct link between the housing crisis and eviction crisis while also encouraging attorneys to examine the impact they can have through “movement lawyering.”
A movement lawyer is when a lawyer to uses their “legal skills to further grassroots movement building” and allows those affected by the crisis at hand to take the lead, while offering support and legal guidance. Dentinger argues that lawyers have a unique set of skills to help people facing potential housing loss, unfair housing practices, or unjust evictions, and eviction court does not require that both parties be granted counsel, like one would be if facing a criminal charge.
Dentinger points out that this puts renters, particularly low-income people, in the most difficult position because landlords can often afford a lawyer. She proposes a Right to Counsel for anyone facing eviction nationwide and provides examples of some U.S. cities who have enacted a Right to Counsel program and the impact such programs have made. San Francisco has experienced a 10% drop in evictions, with two-thirds of tenants remaining in their homes since the law took effect.
Dentinger chose Albany Law School specifically to pursue housing justice work. She became interested in the area while working as a teacher in western New York.
"I am thankful Albany Law School has given me the opportunity to blend my passion for housing justice with the law. It has been a joy to watch other students engage in pro bono work on behalf of tenants. As I transition towards a public interest career as a housing attorney, I know that I have built a legacy for housing law on the campus."
Earlier this year, Crossman, Dentinger and Tom McCarthy ’23, filed an amicus brief in support of the Bleecker Terrace Tenants Association and United Tenants of Albany, an organization that helps Albany residents facing eviction. Albany’s “Good Cause Eviction” law, enacted in 2021, was the first of its kind in New York and has since served as a model for other cities. The law has been challenged in courts and most recently, was rejected by The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. Tenants and advocacy groups continue to speak out to lawmakers to consider a statewide Good Cause law.
Related: Tom McCarthy ’23 Published in American Bar Association Housing Journal
Dentinger '24 Finds Purpose in Housing Law
Ted De Barbieri inaugural member of Association of American Law Schools’ Pro Bono Honor Roll