Diane L. Houk
Lecturer in Law
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
75 Rockefeller Plaza, 20th Floor
New York NY 10019
Diane L. Houk is Of Counsel at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Houk co-founded the New York City-based Fair Housing Justice Center in 2004 and served as its first Executive Director until 2009. Ms. Houk is one of the nation’s leading fair housing attorneys with 25 years experience representing plaintiffs in fair housing, equal employment, public accommodations and other discrimination cases in federal and state courts. After graduating from Columbia University School of Law, Ms. Houk worked in private practice for seven years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as lead plaintiff’s counsel in more than 100 civil rights cases alleging race, national origin, gender (including sexual harassment), disability, familial and marital status, and sexual orientation discrimination.
In 1991, Ms. Houk joined the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division as a Senior Trial Attorney and in 2000 was named Special Litigation Counsel. Between 2000 and April 2004 when Ms. Houk left the Division, she concentrated her work on challenging race, national origin, and religious discrimination in local land use practices, including zoning, building and occupancy codes, redevelopment plans, and subsidized housing programs. In 1999, Ms. Houk created the Schools and Housing Opportunity Initiative for the Housing and Education Sections of the Civil Rights Division. The Initiative provided local communities with remedial tools to expand opportunities for residential integration in order to decrease racial isolation in school districts subject to federal court desegregation orders. Ms. Houk is one of the architects of a 2000 interagency agreement between the Departments of Justice, HUD and Treasury to improve compliance with fair housing laws in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Ms. Houk has extensively litigated cases where evidence obtained from fair housing testing was utilized as the basis for establishing liability.