Alaina J. Thomas is a practitioner-in-residence in the Community & Transactional Lawyering and Housing Justice & Tenant Solidarity Clinics at Rutgers Law School-Newark. She supervises students in both clinics, overseeing their direct representation of individual clients and tenants’ associations as well as student-led Know Your Rights presentations in partnership with local community groups.
As a housing attorney who serves residents in the greater Newark area, Alaina is interested in using community lawyering methods to build and support tenant power locally, especially to combat displacement due to gentrification. Prior to joining Rutgers, she represented tenants facing eviction as a staff attorney at Essex-Newark Legal Services and provided direct legal services to survivors of elder abuse as an Equal Justice Works Elder Justice Americorps Fellow serving Hudson, Passaic, and Bergen counties.
Alaina studied Religion and Psychology at Montclair State University and graduated from Rutgers Law School-Newark in 2017, where she was first introduced to the concept of community lawyering as a student attorney in the International Human Rights Clinic. Currently, she chairs Rutgers Law School’s Public Interest Law Foundation and is on the board of directors for the Essex Community Land Trust. Alaina also continues to support local organizers, mostly through providing on-the-ground legal support at actions.