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Rachel S. Fox

  • Hosted by Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
  • Sponsored by Alston & Bird Racial Justice Fund
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rachel’s (she/her) project provides rapid relief to low-income tenants who are at high risk of homelessness through self-help programs, direct representation, and educational outreach that aim to decrease and set aside default judgments in eviction cases.

After a tenant is served with an eviction case, they have just five days to file an Answer with the court. For tenants who do not file in time, the tenant and household receive a default judgment and are immediately evicted without the opportunity to defend themselves. Even though a staggering 40% of tenants in Los Angeles County receive default judgments in eviction cases, most legal service organizations do not offer substantive help at this post-judgment stage. The high number of defaults is a racial justice issue, with Black and Latinx individuals twice as likely to rent as white individuals and much more likely to receive defaults in eviction cases. Once defaulted, individuals face the loss of their homes, lower credit scores, and permanent eviction records that create barriers to future housing.

Los Angeles hosts over 75,000 unhoused individuals, and keeping tenants in their homes is one of the best ways to curb further homelessness. Providing rapid legal assistance in the first few days following a default can be the turning point that allows tenants and their families to remain in their homes.

Fellowship Plans

To advance her project goals, Rachel is partnering with the Shriver Self-Help Center at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles, which often sees over 50 default judgments in a week. Rachel plans to create efficient legal solutions to help tenants file motions to set aside their defaults, while also building a library of self-help materials, leading a team of student volunteers, and hosting educational clinics in areas of Los Angeles with the highest number of defaults.

My project allows me to connect with my neighbors and collaborate with my community in a way that educates and empowers Los Angeles’ tenants and allows all of us to work together towards preventing further homelessness.

Rachel S. Fox /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Rachel

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Gregory Alan Jackson Jr.

Host: The Sustainable Economies Law Center

Sponsor: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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Emily Chong

Host: Neighborhood Legal Services Program

Sponsor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Margaret Burgess

Host: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Sponsor: Cox Enterprises, Eversheds Sutherland

Christopher Helwig

Host: Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

Sponsor: Morgan Stanley, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP