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
more with questions of poverty
and issues affecting all “Amer-

New Techniques Sought
Virtually all of the lawyers

here for the weekend conference

on law and poverty are actively
engaged in representing poor
persons, either through federal-
ly funded organizations such as

cieties, or as private lawyers
‘|cooperating with the Legal De-
‘\fense Fund,

Essentially, the purpose of the

lawyers to new thinking on old
subjects, and to explore various

the Office of Economic Oppor-|expert,
tunity or through legal aid so-|

‘leonference ‘is to expose the}

{Welfare and Public Policy at
\Columbia University, noted that}


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

For example, he said that

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!
and equity, so that rights long!
jrecognized can be effectuated."
| Mr. Levi is professor of urban
studies at Chicago.

This morning a welfare law)
Edward V. Sparer,

warned the lawyers that there
was increasing resistance in the
lcountry to the “basic premise”
that the indigent have a right
‘to assistance.

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


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

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: “The trouble
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


ee peer techniques that)
mig e used on behalf of the/some welfare departments an . te
disadvantaged. courts had recently taken the| Soncndent, parte a aeane
In the opening address yes-/position that persons might bel tion with its own board budget
-jterday on slum housing, Prof.|denied aid even though they | and a staff of attorneys devoted
i aptien st eset University BSE Mie SH SUERNY requirements +, providing assistance in legal
| “In essence our task fs as] “It all started," he said, tin BCHiOn.
jancient and honorable as thelthe Elizabethan days when there

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