A Little Free Advice: Lawyers Help Vermonters Facing Eviction

In an effort to make proceedings in her courtroom more equitable, Toor teamed up with the local Law Line to provide free legal assistance to those facing complicated eviction cases.

News Story (Vermont)

Katie Jickling
Seven Days (Vermont)
March 15, 2017

Tags: Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Law Line of Vermont, Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


Now a $250,000 grant from Legal Services Corporation, a national nonprofit that provides legal aid, is financing its duplication in Rutland, where Toor has been working since last August. Addison and Washington counties are next.

There’s nothing like it anywhere in the country, said Jim Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, who selected the project from a pool of national applicants. It’s a “creative initiative,” he said, which could be “scalable and replicable” in other states.

Across Vermont, about 90 percent of tenants facing eviction do so without an attorney. Compare that to landlords, more than three-quarters of whom have legal representation when they go to court. It’s worse in Chittenden County, where roughly 20 tenant defendants had lawyers in 365 eviction cases filed last year, according to court documents. That’s 5 percent.