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."