When Leah Goodridge commenced her education at UCLA Law School, she already knew that she would use her law degree to empower people in need. This was something she started in high school, so it was only natural that Leah would continue this trajectory at UCLA School of Law.
At UCLA, Leah was part of the Critical Race Studies program and took courses such as Employment Discrimination, Critical Race Theory, and Nonprofit Organizations. During her last year, Leah enrolled in the Advanced Public Policy Clinic which focused on employment and housing discrimination. These courses provided Leah with the educational foundation to better understand structural discrimination and community development, which is now a fundamental part of her work as an attorney.
Currently, Leah is a Staff Attorney at the Urban Justice Center where she represents low-income tenants in state and federal courts. A substantial part of Leah’s work entails organizing tenant groups in public housing developments to effect change in governmental policies and preserve affordable housing. In November 2014, Leah commenced a case against the New York City Housing Authority to force it to repair black mold, sewage floods, and broken entrance door locks. Leah also wrote and delivered testimony before the New York City Council on the intersection of crime and repairs in public housing. Leah’s testimony was the basis of a New York Daily News investigative article on how shoddy living conditions cause public housing residents to be more vulnerable to crime.
In addition to litigating housing law, Leah has extensive experience in community development. Leah teaches a Nonprofit Law course at Medgar Evers College (City University of New York), and was responsible for launching the college’s Community Economic Development Project, which offers courses for small-business and nonprofit entrepreneurs looking to start businesses and programs in low-income neighborhoods.
In recognition of her commitment to community development, Leah has been awarded the Fulbright Specialist grant by the U.S. Department of State. In 2015, she will travel to Malta where she will assist a university in developing a social enterprise clinic.