Staff Attorney Profile: Peter Iskin
April, 2011 — Peter Iskin is the Managing Attorney of Legal Aid’s Housing Practice Group. Mr. Iskin, a Philadelphia native, completed both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Pennsylvania before joining Legal Aid in 1973. Mr. Iskin says, “I became a lawyer with the goal of using those skills for some social good and working here at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland has provided me with that opportunity.”
During Mr. Iskin’s tenure at Legal Aid, he helped secure further protections for vulnerable low-income families and ensured compliance by government and others with existing laws.
Mr. Iskin remembers a group of Geauga Metropolitan Housing Authority (GMHA) tenants who approached Legal Aid in 1986 because of issues with well water. The water was dark, tasted bad, and smelled like sulfur, causing tenants to buy water or carry it from a community center. The conditions of the building – primarily the home of African-American tenants – were significantly poorer than those at GMHA residences housing primarily white tenants.
Mr. Iskin represented the tenants in a fair housing case against GMHA, Geauga County and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He eventually secured 1990 and 1995 orders that extended the Cleveland water system to Chagrin Falls Park and made significant improvements to the public housing units.
Maria Smith is a Supervising Attorney for the Housing Unit, and has worked with Mr. Iskin for fourteen years. She observes, “Peter can decipher complex information – both facts and law – and simplify it all into a practical, explainable and winning strategy for our clients.”