Public interest law adjunct receives DePaul ENGAGE award nomination

​​​Congratulations to Adjunct Professor Kelli Dudley, housing law attorney and Director of the Resistance Legal Clinic, as one of 40 different faculty members nominated for DePaul University’s ENGAGE Award this year. ENGAGE is a coalition of university departments, faculty, staff and student leaders who work together to strengthen DePaul’s efforts to “develop socially responsible future leaders” as part of DePaul’s Vincentian mission.  Nominees were identified by one or more DePaul students as those whose teaching and mentoring relationships have made a great impact on a student’s education and development as socially responsible leaders and members of society. 

Professor Dudley started teaching at the College of Law in 2006. She now teaches both Predatory Lending and Housing Law, and she worked in collaboration with the Center for Public Interest Law to offer a 6-part public interest law skills series on Foreclosure Defense in Fall 2012. As Director of the Resistance Legal Clinic, in addition to her full caseload, Dudley supervises law students who provide brief legal advice to homeowners in foreclosure and other related issues. In the Clinic’s first three months of existence, the staff helped approximately 50 homeowners. Students have advocated for organizations that receive funding to assist homeowners and litigants, and the Clinic works with select bank attorneys to help resolve cases whenever possible. 

Professor Dudley has practiced law privately for ten years, providing vigorous defenses to foreclosure actions, filing affirmative lawsuits against lenders, and assisting tenants facing forcible entry and detainer actions. She is currently focusing on fair housing actions, settling various cases against foreclosure attorneys who have targeted minority communities in violation of the Fair Housing Act. As a result, some foreclosure attorneys obtained a gag order that prevented her from working on a foreclosure case for approximately 16 months. The facts of the case are given in the Seventh Circuit Appellate Decision, Fenton v. Dudley. Professor Dudley published a law review article in the The DePaul Journal for Social Justice, The Last Thing We Do, Let's Scare All the Lawyers: How Fair Housing Defendants are Intimidating Fair Housing Advocates Instead of Defending Cases and Why It Is Illegal. The article has since been cited in an Ohio case and Dudley has received calls and notes about the article from around the country.

Recent graduate Mason Klein (’15) nominated Professor Dudley for this award, and he is currently helping her set up an opportunity for the Resistance Legal Clinic to give free advice to clients of a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling Agency. When asked about her teaching experience at DePaul, Dudley said, "Teaching at DePaul is the exciting way that I pull together all I learn as a lawyer. Synthesizing real-world experience for students gives them an idea of what legal practice is really like, and allows me to look critically at legal issues. I had a law school legal writing teacher who told me I was not 'law school material.' While I derive satisfaction from DePaul's superior ranking, I strive to avoid hurting any student in that way and to enable each student to recognize the unique characteristics she or he brings to each client."​​​