Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center directs the policy, management, and activities of the Legal Center. They provide a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be beneficial to the advancement of the Legal Center's mission, including assistance to cooperatives, nonprofits, community groups, and low-income people on a variety of issues relating to community economic development, housing, constitutional rights, and other public interest legal work. In addition, the Directors have experience in transactional law, organizational leadership, nonprofit and small-business development, organizing, planning, policy, advocacy, and scholarly writing.

Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq. Founder and President

Elizabeth L. Carter is the Assistant Legislative Director & Special Counsel for the City of Newark's Department of Economic and Housing Development where she assists in policy development and strategy;  drafts and facilitates legislation;  drafts and reviews land sale and redevelopment contracts, leases, and grant agreements;  and ensures legal compliance in the areas of redevelopment, planning and zoning, and real estate finance. Elizabeth is also a Legal Fellow of the Sustainable Economies Law Center's Fellowship Program where she receives training and resources designed to support the legal needs of cooperative enterprises. She received her B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011, and both her J.D. and Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University in 2015. While in law school, Elizabeth received numerous fellowships, including the Charles H. Revson Public Interest Law Fellowship where she interned at the Legal Aid Society's Housing Development Unit, representing housing cooperatives and tenant groups in cooperative conversions; the Equal Justice America Fellowship  where she interned at the Urban Justice Center's Community Development Project assisting a worker cooperative in a relocation plan. She also wrote several articles on cooperatives, alternative economies, and community development, including her recent article on alternative economies published in the Southwestern Law Review (2015).   Her other related experience include her role as an Intern at Mallin & Cha, P.C., a community development law firm providing legal services to housing cooperatives and small businesses; Student Attorney at Rutgers' Community Transactional Lawyering Clinic, where she represented nonprofits and small businesses in transactional legal matters; Student Planner to the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative where she assisted in policy and planning strategies for developing a cooperative energy project;  and a Board of Trustee for RCHP Affordable Housing Corporation. 

Pooja Patel, Treasurer

Pooja Patel is a Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow at CAMBA Legal Services in Brooklyn, where she represents tenants in eviction proceedings and other housing matters. She is a former Newark resident and a member of the Rutgers Law School class of 2016. During law school, Pooja enrolled in the Constitutional Rights Clinic and the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, and she interned at the New York Legal Assistance Group, the Legal Aid Society, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. She is a member of the National Lawyers Guild. Prior to law school, she organized to prevent public school closures in communities of color in Washington, D.C., participated in Occupy Wall Street, worked on a campaign to regulate hydrofracking in upstate New York, and helped to organize a national conference for progressive social movements. She is excited to be on the first board of the Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center, and looks forward to supporting a variety of participatory, horizontal, sustainable, and non-exploitative institutions in Newark.

Victor Monterrosa, Jr. Esq., Secretary

Victor Monterrosa, Jr. is a Staff Attorney at the Covenant House of New Jersey where he represents homeless urban youth in municipal criminal and civil issues. Victor also serves as a member of the recently formed Newark Civilian Complaint Review Board, which has the authority to investigate police misconduct and issue subpoenas.  In addition, Victor assists the Greater Newark HUD Tenant Coalition in various affordable housing issues. He received a B.A. from Vassar College in 2007 where he was a Fellow within the Community Fellows Program and his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law in 2014. Prior to law school, he ran the Emergency Shelter Program at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. While in law school, Victor interned at Essex-Newark Legal Services' Housing Unit as a NYU Charles H. Revson LSPIN Public Interest Fellow, at the ACLU-NJ as a Marsha Wenk Public Interest Legal Fellow, as a Fellow at the Center for Law and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME), and as a Student Attorney in Rutgers School of Law's Civil Justice Clinic, representing indigent clients and client groups in various legal matters, including in the areas of housing, bankruptcy, and consumer law. Victor was born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Newark, NJ, and is a long-time housing and homeless advocate.