The Federation Welcomes 3 New Legal Fellows

East Point, Georgia-We are pleased to announce Eric Hilton, Tamara Veal, and Ebony Woodruff have joined the Federation as legal fellows!

The attorneys will work under the direction of the Federation's Director of Land Retention and Advocacy. They will support our membership and other Black farmers & landowners on issues of heirs’ property and land retention efforts.  As licensed attorneys, they will also supervise and guide our Legal Internship Program Law Interns with land tenure and heirs’ property issues across the Southern region.

The Federation Fellows is a 1-year legal fellowship to provide outreach, education, mediation, title clearing and estate planning legal services for FSC/LAF members farmers and heirs' property owners.

The Legal Fellows will serve a critical role in our efforts to assist at least 100 landowners per year with clearing titles, creating wills and developing estate plans, thus preventing land dispossession. We are excited to have the fellows onboard to ensure issues like heirs' property continue to be at the forefront as we continue to build our legal internship program as part of expanding our partnerships and efforts around equity, justice, and black land ownership.
“Over the last 55 years, we have identified resource gaps that prevent Black farmers from resolving their heirs’ property issues. Access to trusted and affordable legal assistance in rural communities of color continues to be a significant challenge for Black farmers,” said Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.
All 3 of our Federation Fellows graduated from Southern University Law Center. The Federation has a longstanding partnership with Southern University Law School, a historically Black Collet & University. a public law school in Baton RougeLouisiana. It is part of the historically black Southern University System and was opened for instruction in September 1947.
Eric Hilton is a Southern University Law Center J.D. graduate with a strong background in advocating for underrepresented populations. Eric prides himself on his eclectic personality and ability to create visceral connections with individuals from different backgrounds. 

Eric will work out of the Federation's Florida office.

In his free time, Eric enjoys being outdoors to travel, hunt, surf, and fish. Eric often engages is community service & missionary work with his church and likes socializing with family & friends. 
Tamara Veal is a Southern University Law Center J.D. graduate with a passion for advocating for others. She's excited to start her legal career with the Federation.

Prior to becoming a Federation Fellow, Tamara attended Florida State University and majored in criminal justice. She interned for the Capital Appeals Project and provided post-conviction relief for inmates sentenced to death row.

Tamara will work out of the Federation's Texas office.

In her free time, she enjoys nature, poetry reading and cooking.
Ebony Woodruff is a first-generation attorney. She has more than a decade of experience as a legal entrepreneur and practicing attorney. She began her legal career as a solo practitioner, but left private practice to work as Assistant Parish Attorney in Jefferson Parish until she resigned to run for public office. In 2013, Ebony became the first woman elected to represent District 87 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University, Southern University Law Center, and the University of Arkansas School of Law Master of Agricultural and Food Law program.

Ebony will work out of Louisiana.

Ebony is a native New Orleanian and a life-long resident of the Westbank, raised in Algiers and Harvey. In addition to practicing law, Ebony is also an herbalist apprentice, a Louisiana Master Gardener, a Kemetic Yoga Instructor, and an avid Salsa dancer. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, researching genealogy, and learning new languages.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund is the oldest and largest Black farmer institution. The Federation supports Black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives across the Southern region through self-empowerment initiatives to gain access to credit, obtain technical assistance, navigate USDA programs, hold onto their land and form cooperatives in order to build wealth.