We’re pleased to announce that Becky Jaffe has just joined the Southern Coalition as a fellow focusing on the heirs’ property problem. Heirs’ property refers to property that has passed down through successive generations of family members who have died without a will. As the property passes to each new generation, more and more people come to own the property in increasingly small, fractional interests. This ownership structure is a huge cause of black land loss in the South. Families often lose their land through bankruptcy proceedings, tax sales, foreclosure, and partition sales. Becky will work with staff attorney Chris Brook, using a combination of mediation, consensus-building, and legal skills, to help families with heirs’ property protect their land.
Becky graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. In the fall of 2009, she served as a lecturer for the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Before attending law school, she served in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan, where she worked with rural Uzbek villagers to help them improve health conditions in their community. She received her B.A. from Yale University. Becky first worked with the Southern Coalition in the spring of 2009 as a clinical student from the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/clinical/hnmcp/web/index.html). The clinical project involved helping the Pitt family resolve internal differences and formulate a plan for protecting their land. (