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UA College of Law teaming up with BYU to tackle eviction

Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-18 23:19:36-04

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law is teaming up with Brigham Young University's LawX Legal Design Lab students for the new "Innovation for Justice" program to explore solutions to reduce evictions in Arizona, Utah and beyond.

The new project will begin Innovation for Justice (I4J) at the UA and build upon the success of BYU's LawX, which began in the fall of 2017. 

The class at the University of Arizona will be led by Stacy Butler, director of the UA's Innovation for Justice program. Both classes focus on improving access to justice with the use of design thinking, systems thinking, technology and interdisciplinary collaboration," Butler said. 

Pima County averaged 22.01 evictions per day in 2016, according to Eviction Lab. Less than 20 percent of tenants served with an eviction notice come to court. Viable legal defenses often go unheard. The goal of the course is to identify the best possible solutions to help close the gap for people who feel overwhelmed by the legal system, Butler explained. To tackle the eviction problem in Pima County, 12 Innovation for Justice students will utilize a design thinking approach during the fall semester to understand why tenants disengage with the civil legal system, identify innovative approaches to educating and engaging tenants, and deliver possible solutions to those who need help. Students will collaborate with Pima County to provide a legal approach to the evictions issue. 

"The goals of the Innovation for Justice program are to expose students to the fact that not everyone is able to use the civil legal system as it's designed, and to empower students to close that gap," Butler said. 

Classes begin Monday August 20th. Tenants who are currently facing an eviction and need help can call Pima County at 520-838-3300 or click here