Brenda E. Castañeda

  • Lecturer

Brenda Castañeda is an attorney in the Charlottesville office of Legal Aid Justice Center, where she specializes in litigation on behalf of consumers, homeowners and tenants. A native of Tucson, Arizona, she received her B.A. from Yale University in 2001 and later attended law school at the University of Virginia, graduating in 2006. While in law school she volunteered at Legal Aid Justice Center, where she assisted with a variety of complex immigration matters, including a gender-based asylum claim that was ultimately granted, and a U-visa application for a crime victim. After law school, she practiced at Blue Ridge Legal Services in the Shenandoah Valley, where she gained experience in a variety of poverty law areas, including divorce, custody, landlord-tenant, debt collection defense, repossession defense and other consumer cases.

Castañeda joined Legal Aid Justice Center in 2007 and now practices in the central Virginia area, handling a variety of matters including many consumer cases including claims under fee-shifting statutes. Over the last eight years she has represented over 900 individual clients and won judgements and settlements valued at over $1.8M for her clients. In recent years, she has led some of LAJC’s most complex litigation including two class action cases seeking to remedy Charlottesville public housing utility overcharges and deficient healthcare at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. She has won tens of thousands of dollars in settlements and judgments against predatory lenders that offer high-interest small loans. She has also handled a number of lawsuits against mortgage brokers and lenders, winning multiple large settlements or judgments worth tens of thousands of dollars. She has co-authored amicus briefs filed with the Virginia Supreme Court in two cases involving predatory small loans, and also several amicus briefs to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in foreclosure cases. In addition to her consumer practice, Castañeda maintains an active practice representing tenants in both federally subsidized and private housing, both defending tenants from eviction and also making affirmative claims for repairs, deposits, and unlawful ouster. She has also tackled more complex issues, including a federally subsidized housing case involving Constitutional and § 1983 claims. She has significant litigation experience in General District, Circuit, and Federal courts, and has first-chaired numerous civil bench trials and two civil jury trials.

Castañeda often presents to community and client groups about consumer and housing issues. Additionally, she co-taught two CLE sessions, including a segment of a panel discussion involving using Truth in Lending Act claims and rescission to defend consumers in foreclosure actions, as well as a CLE on the ethics of advising pro-se litigants. Castañeda has co-taught the Housing Law Clinic as a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law since August of 2007.


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • B.A.
    Yale University

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