by Amber Ediger
Miranda Cannon, '23, is passionate about helping others find the resources to defend their rights.
Her own experience suing a former landlord compelled her to become involved with the Tenant Assistance Project (TAP), and ultimately to work as a Nebraska Public Interest Law fellow with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP).
The Tenants Assistance Project provides free legal representation to tenants facing eviction. Since its inception in March 2020, volunteers from the Project have represented more than 400 clients and dramatically reduced the eviction rate in Lancaster County (98% of clients have avoided eviction when represented by TAP). VLP supports TAP by recruiting volunteers and providing the necessary training and support.
VLP aims to bridge the civil legal justice gap by connecting volunteer attorneys with clients across Nebraska needing pro bono services. The Project also hosts clinics, provides free online resources, and works with ongoing projects like TAP to lessen the civil legal justice gap and the rural justice gap.
Cannon worked exclusively with the Tenant Assistance Project during her clerkship with VLP.
“I was helping interview clients, observing negotiations between volunteer attorneys and landlord counsel, and watching trials and recording their outcomes for our data,” Cannon recalled. “I have gained a confidence in my ability to be a successful attorney. I feel comfortable interviewing clients and read through pleadings with new-found ease.”
In August, TAP expanded from being a Lancaster County program to supporting tenants in Douglas County as well. Cannon helped make the transition by visiting the Douglas County courthouse daily to help train new volunteers and provide the documents and support attorneys receive in Lancaster County.
“I have gained a passion for this work. I find myself reaching out to others to recruit them to volunteer. My confidence as a leader was reenforced through this experience.”
Cannon, who has always been dedicated to public service, hopes to work in litigation after law school and considers her time with VLP to have been an invaluable experience. “There’s no other way I can think of to see so many cases in such a short period of time. It was so stimulating being able to work on so many cases and get quick, on the fly litigation experience. It was also extremely rewarding being able to help people at a critical time in their lives.”