Vermont Poverty Law Fellowship

Jay Diaz, Vermont Poverty Law FellowThe Vermont Poverty Law Fellowship was launched in 2008 and is funded through generous contributions from more than 100 law firms, individual attorneys, corporations and organizations.  The Fellows are talented young lawyers committed to making the justice system accessible to low income Vermonters.

The Vermont Access to Justice Campaign Committee  is a group of volunteer lawyers from around the state, led by co-Chairs, who work together to raise funds for the Fellowship. To date, the ATJ Campaign Committee has raised more than $540,000.

The current Poverty Law Fellow, Jay Diaz (2012-2014), is working on issues associated with childhood poverty, including special education and mental health issues.

Jessica Radbord, Vermont Poverty Law FellowThe second Poverty Law Fellow, Jessica Radbord (2010-2012), worked with low income Vermonters to find safe and dependable housing.  Using the experience she gained from working with FEMA and flood insurers following the Spring 2011 flooding, Jessica was able to step in immediately after Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont.  She assisted homeowners and renters to appeal their FEMA awards, obtain Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and participate in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program property acquisition project.  Jessica also served on the Irene Housing Task Force, along with state officials, non-profit agencies, and FEMA.  During the winter of 2011, Jessica chaired the housing subcommittee of the Irene Property Law Task Force.  She also played a key role in developing the Disaster Law Manual to assist other Vermont attorneys.  She was able to share Vermont’s manual with attorneys in New York and New Jersey and provide them with guidance and advice on the issues they confronted in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Grace Pazdan, Vermont Poverty Law FellowThe first Poverty Law Fellow, Grace Pazdan (2008-2010), leveled the playing field for borrowers during the foreclosure crisis.  Over the course of her two-year Fellowship, Grace represented more than 125 individual Vermonters and their families and was able to preserve the homes of many of those families.  Working with attorneys at Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, Grace helped identify reforms needed in Superior Court foreclosure practice and litigated cases across the state, including in the Supreme Court.  She played a key role in drafting and working toward the passage of the Foreclosure Mediation law.  This allowed the courts to require the parties to a foreclosure to mediate their issues and try to reach an agreement that would allow homeowners to save their homes.

Vermont Access to Justice Campaign


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