Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that Khabirah Myers, Esq., has been appointed Coordinator of the soon-to-be-created Office of Tenant Legal Services (OTLS) for the City of Newark. Ms. Myers will be responsible for the City’s efforts to protect the legal rights of low income Newark tenants facing unwarranted, potentially illegal, evictions by their landlords.
“Many of Newark’s tenants are facing predatory acts by landlords seeking to cash in on our strengthening housing market. Khabirah Myers is uniquely qualified to combat this by her experience in representing low-income tenants, as a juvenile justice attorney, and as a Newark Assistant Corporation Counsel where she co-wrote the City’s ordinance for the provision of free legal representation to low income Newark residents facing eviction. She will lead this critical effort with proven energy, wisdom, and commitment to the residents she serves,” Mayor Baraka said.
About Khabirah Myers:
Ms. Myers was born and raised in Newark. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Myers served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of South Africa where she helped village teachers attain sustainable educational goals for South Africa’s primary school children. While in the Peace Corps she also helped coordinate Women In Development (WID), an organization aimed at generating and supporting women entrepreneurs in South Africa’s villages.
After leaving South Africa, Ms. Myers enrolled in Rutgers University School of Law – Newark, where she served as Co-Managing Articles Editor for The Rutgers Race & the Law Review, a law journal dedicated to encouraging scholarship and discourse on issues of race, ethnicity, and the law.
She then served her first year out of law school as the first judicial law clerk of the Honorable Verna G. Leath, J.S.C.
After clerking for Judge Leath, Ms. Myers served as a Staff Attorney for Essex-Newark Legal Services (ENLS) for more than seven years in Newark where she represented low-income tenants and was awarded the Ronald B. Atlas Outstanding Attorney Award for her outstanding achievements and service to her clients.
After leaving ENLS, Ms. Myers successfully ran her own general law practice for three years and worked for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender as a Juvenile Defense attorney for one year and as a Law Guardian for two-and-a-half years.
Shortly thereafter, Ms. Myers served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark where she provided legal counsel to the City’s Department of Health and Community Wellness.
“Access to justice and decent housing is as much a human right as freedom and self-determination – and income should never be a determinant of who gets this access. The Office of Tenant Legal Services is one of many strategies the City is utilizing to level the playing field for low-income residents. I am therefore honored and humbled by the opportunity to carry out what has been my life mission of ensuring that all people in this country have equal access to dignity and basic freedoms,” Ms. Myers said.
Before taking on the role of Director of the OTLS, Ms. Myers was an associate attorney and the Director of the Public Advocacy Section (PAS) of Iandoli and Edens, LLC. The mission of the Public Advocacy Section (PAS) is to achieve social justice and equity for marginalized and/or vulnerable people through litigation and public policy and includes representation of low-income tenants through the Morris Tenancy Project of Legal Services of Northwest Jersey.
Ms. Myers is also a member-investigator of the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s District V-A Ethics Committee, a member-organizer for several progressive organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild – New Jersey, Essex Rising (which she co-founded), and Lawyers for Good Government, and former Co-Director of the Diversity Committee of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association (NJWLA).
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