law; subversive lawyering; sword and shield; housing


This Essay will examine the “sword and shield” model in action to explore the meaning of “subversive lawyering” in the housing context, particularly in eviction defense. In this model, we—the lawyers and law students— provide the “shield” (i.e., legal defense), while the organizers and members of grassroots housing justice organizations provide the “sword” (i.e., public pressure and protest). The lawyers are shielding tenants and foreclosed homeowners in the courts, which allows these “defendants” to simultaneously work with organizers to take necessary extralegal actions to ensure they are protected from displacement.