Andrew Scherer

Policy Director at
New York Law School

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Andrew Scherer is the Policy Director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School and a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the law school, where he teaches Land Use Regulation. He also directs the Impact Center’s Right to Counsel Project.  


Professor Scherer is the author of the treatise, Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in New York (Thomson Reuters), originally published in 1994 and updated annually, and of numerous law review articles and other published works.

For many years, Professor Scherer has played a prominent role in access to justice, housing policy and other public interest issues, locally, nationally and internationally.  Professor Scherer has been an advocate for the right to counsel in civil matters, particularly eviction proceedings, for over thirty years.  He has written law review articles on the topic for the Harvard Civil Liberties Civil Rights Law Review, NYU Review of Law and Social Change and Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal, among others.  He was lead counsel in Donaldson v. State of New York, a class action that sought to establish a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction.  (While the case was ultimately dismissed by an appellate court, it led to significant funding for eviction-prevention legal services by New York City.)  Under Professor Scherer’s direction, the Impact Center’s Right to Counsel Project currently focuses on working with the NYC Coalition for a Right to Counsel in Housing Court and others advocating for NYC legislation establishing a right to counsel in housing cases.


In 2010, Professor Scherer stepped down after nine years as Executive Director of Legal Services NYC, the largest nonprofit exclusively devoted to civil legal services in the United States, where he had worked in a variety of capacities since 1978. At the time he stepped down, LS-NYC served approximately 25,000 low-income clients annually with legal matters involving housing, government benefits, family law, employment, education, immigration, community development, consumer and civil rights. As Executive Director, Professor Scherer had overall responsibility for all aspects of the organization, including implementation of Board policy; management, administration and legal work supervision; fundraising; maintenance of positive relations with external entities; strategic planning; and program development.  Accomplishments during his tenure as Executive Director included: significantly improved quality and impact of legal work; significantly increased funding, staffing and participation of pro bono attorneys; new offices and many new service programs.  Prior to becoming Executive Director of LS-NYC, Professor Scherer had been a staff attorney, the Coordinating Attorney for Housing Law and the Director of the Legal Support Unit at the organization.


Among his many affiliations, Professor Scherer is an active member of the New York City Bar Association and a former chair of its Executive Committee, an active member of the New York State Bar Association and the current chair of the Civil Gideon subcommittee of the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, a founding member of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, and a former co-chair of the NYS Legal Services Project Director Association.


Professor Scherer is also a consultant to nonprofit, governmental and private clients around matters of access to justice and the rule of law; delivery of legal aid services; housing, property and land rights; social, economic and civil rights; and poverty law.  Recent clients have included the New York Immigration Coalition, the Open Society Foundations, the Pennsylvania Civil Legal Justice Coalition, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Legal Services Corporation, the Yangon (Myanmar) Heritage Trust and the African Center for International Legal and Policy Research.  


Professor Scherer is also an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and has taught at CUNY Law School, NYU Law School (in the Root-Tilden public interest scholars program), Yangon University in Myanmar, and Bennington College. He has lectured widely in the U.S. and in Latin America, Africa and Asia. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from NYU Law School.  He is fluent in Spanish.

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