UMass Law UMass Law: Owens and Tabor Represent UMass Law at Northeastern Conference

UMass Law UMass Law: Owens and Tabor Represent UMass Law at Northeastern Conference
Owens and Tabor Represent UMass Law at Northeastern Conference

UMass Law professors Lisa Owens and AnnaMarie Tabor present at Northeastern University


UMass Law was well represented at the Northeastern University School of Law Junior Scholars Conference last month. The inaugural conference brought over 100 junior (less than seven years of full-time teaching experience at a law school) scholars from law schools across the country to engage with their peers in a friendly environment. Two UMass Law professors attended the two-day event to present on their recent research.

Professor Anna-Marie Tabor gave a presentation on her upcoming article titled “Sounding the Alarm: How Aging Services Providers Fought Scammers During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” with she co-authored with Professor Elizabeth Dugan and Dr. Taylor Jansen of the University of Massachusetts Boston. The work has been accepted for publication in the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal.

In her presentation, Tabor revealed her latest research findings in which older Americans reported losing $5.8 billion to fraud and scams during the COVID-19 pandemic – a number that almost certainly underrepresents the true size of the problem. Tabor’s article will publish new research surveying Massachusetts aging services providers about their efforts to address fraud targeted at older people during the pandemic. These organizations provide an array of social services including meals-on-wheels, home-based care, and social and educational programming.

Imparting the key findings from the survey, Tabor pointed out that an overwhelming majority of respondents had learned of a client who fell victim to a financial scam during the pandemic; their narratives conveyed frustration with the vast scope of an issue far exceeding their organizations’ limited resources. Tabor advocated for greater engagement between community aging services providers and other stakeholders, especially law enforcement and financial institutions, such as through a central reporting hotline and a centralized resource center to provide timely and effective training for at-risk older adults.

Professor Lisa Owens showcased her upcoming article with her presentation titled “Housing Reparations”. In the article, housing reparations are discussed in terms of their structure in law and policy. The article additionally addresses potential constitutionality concerns related to supreme court shifts in the application of strict scrutiny to race-conscious policies, the common critique that housing reparations are without substantive promise or meaning, and an intersectional approach to eligibility for reparations.

During her presentation, Owens argued that reparations focused specifically on remediating housing inequity and discriminatory housing policy represents a third wave of housing policy and regulation.  A first wave of housing policy and regulation focuses on the regulation of civil and political rights and entitlements, for example through building codes and zoning ordinances. A second focuses on economic, social and cultural rights, for example through public and affordable housing. Both of these waves contain implicitly and explicitly discriminatory processes that cause or exacerbate housing inequity and subsequent capital loss for those discriminated against.  A third wave of housing policy, that which is reparatory and remedial, is now emerging. Understood as a third wave of housing policy conceptualized under a remedial framework, the relationship between diverse legal, social and political initiatives focused, for example, on the return or fair compensation for land, heir’s rights, or efforts to bridge divides in property ownership, are better understood.