Alan W. HousemanExecutive Director Policy Expertise anti-poverty strategies, civil legal assistance
Mr. Houseman is CLASP's executive director, a position he has held since joining the organization in 1982. His expertise is innovative anti-poverty strategies and civil legal assistance. He has written numerous articles, manuals, papers and books on legal services, poverty law advocacy, and welfare policies, including Securing Equal Justice for All: A Brief History of Civil Legal Assistance in the United States (with Linda Perle). In addition to directing CLASP, Mr. Houseman is currently counsel to the National Legal Aid and Defender association (NLADA) and is a leader of national efforts to preserve and strengthen the federal legal services program.
Mr. Houseman has a long history of involvement in poverty law advocacy and legal services for the poor. He is a past member of the NLADA board and executive committee and past chair of the organization's Civil Committee. He also is a past chair of the Organization of Legal Services Backup Centers (representing all state and national centers), past vice-chair of the Project Advisory Group and past General Counsel to the Coalition on Legal Services. He also has been involved in a variety of capacities with the American Bar Association (ABA). In 2005-2006, he was staff to the ABA Presidential Task Force on Access to Justice and a member of the ABA Task Force to Revise the Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid. He also is a past member of the ABA Comprehensive Legal Needs Study Advisory Group, the ABA Policy Development Committee of the Comprehensive Legal Needs Study and the ABA Special Committee on Access to Justice. He has served as an advisor to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and other ABA initiatives. Mr. Houseman has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Michigan Law School, and he previously taught at Wayne State University Law School.
During law school, Mr. Houseman served as the national assistant director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council. In 1968, he was a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow with Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services. In 1969, he founded Michigan Legal Services, a statewide legal services program that represented organizations working on welfare, health, housing, consumer, prison, mental health, education and family policy issues. Between 1968 and 1976, he was general counsel for the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and co-chair of the legal committee of the National Welfare Rights Organization. From 1976 to 1981, he was a senior staff member at the Legal Services Corporation and director of the Research Institute, which he founded and developed. The Research Institute developed new directions in poverty law and researched delivery of civil legal aid services. At the Legal Services Corporation, he also oversaw and was responsible for funding its national and state support centers and the National Clearinghouse (now Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law).
Mr. Houseman is a graduate of Oberlin College and New York University School of Law, where he was a Field Fellow in Social Welfare Law (as part of the Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship Program). His numerous awards and honors include the National Equal Justice Award and, most recently, the Oberlin College Distinguish Achievement Award.