Joey O’Neill, “Unequal Access to Justice: How Legal Representation Effects Your Case”
Mentor: Rebecca Konkel, Criminal Justice
Milwaukee, one of the most economically and racially segregated cities in the United States, has a long history in disparities in housing-related outcomes (Massey & Tannen, 2015). As a means to combat one such issue, the Eviction Defense Project (EDP) offers free legal aid and attorney representation to individuals facing eviction from their homes. In May 2017, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee partnered with EDP to launch a project examining areas of one’s life that were impacted following an eviction Data were collected via surveys with EDP clients following their court hearings, as well as with through a series of phone follow-up surveys. Surveys included questions related to the outcome of the case (i.e., stipulated, dismissed, evicted), satisfaction with the court process, the ability and helpfulness of EDP attorneys, and how the eviction process impacted their employment, children’s schooling, and health (mental or physical). Findings indicate that eviction is negatively correlated with several aspects related to quality of life measures; however, access to an EDP attorney was viewed as helpful and a positive component of the court process.