Legal Assistance: Reentry Clinic
- Fri 10:10 AM-12:00 PM
Wed 3:10 PM-5:00 PM
- Professional Skills
- experiential (8)
- not applicable
Legal Assistance: Reentry Clinic (30201). 4 units, credit/fail with a graded option. The New Haven Legal Assistance Reentry Clinic will provide civil legal representation to people with criminal convictions to help them challenge and navigate barriers to their successful reentry to society.
Throughout the nation, people on all sides of the political spectrum have begun to re-examine the “tough on crime” policies of the past two decades that have led to the huge expansion of our prison population, at enormous economic, societal and personal cost. In Connecticut, Governor Malloy has championed the state as a “Second Chance Society” where people with criminal convictions receive an opportunity for a new beginning, to live positive, successful, law-abiding lives post incarceration. Yet the barriers to success continue for people who have criminal records, making it challenging for them to find employment and housing, access health and other services, and overcome the stigma attached to having criminal convictions on their record.
Students in the Reentry Clinic will have an opportunity to represent individual clients on a variety of legal issues. Through this work, students will also identify and research challenges facing this population that invite litigation or legislative strategies for broader reforms. The clinic will accept cases referred from the Transitions Medical-Legal Partnership and existing Reentry support organizations, including Easter Seals Community Reentry Services (http://www.eastersealsgoodwill.org) , Project More (http://www.projectmore.org), Project Fresh Start (http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/mayor/prisonreentry.asp), Family Reentry (http://www.familyreentry.org), the New Haven Reentry Roundtable and other agencies working with this population.
Examples of the direct representation cases students may work on include denials of housing subsidies based on an applicant’s criminal record, applications for pardons, employment discrimination based on the disparate impact of criminal convictions on minorities, access to health care and other public benefits and modification of child support obligations. Cases that the clinic will accept from Transitions include those in which ex-offender status is and is not expressly at issue, because both kinds of cases reflect the immediate needs of this particular population. Students will represent clients in a variety of forums, including administrative hearings before Housing Authorities, the CHRO or EEOC, and the Department of Social Services; hearings before the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole; and state court.
Students will gain experience in all aspects of lawyering, including interviewing clients and witnesses; written advocacy (examples include litigation pleadings, correspondence with clients, opposing counsel, and other third parties and letter memoranda); informal and formal fact investigation; and oral advocacy (examples include negotiations and questioning witnesses and presenting oral argument at administrative or court hearings). Students will also have an opportunity to engage in systemic reform by conducting legal and policy research to identify avenues for broader reforms. Students will be encouraged to engage in community meetings regarding reentry issues, including New Haven’s monthly Reentry Roundtable, and Fresh Start Advisory Group.
During the first month of the semester, class will meet Wednesday and Friday for substantive trainings. During the latter part of the semester, class will meet Wednesday, and small group supervisions will be scheduled during the Friday time slot or other times to be arranged by participants.Permission of the instructors required. Enrollment limited to eight. A. Eppler-Epstein and E.R. Shaffer.
Note: This clinic is open only to J.D. students. The two meeting times reflect two credits for the seminar component and two credits for supervision and fieldwork. Classes and supervision will be held at the New Haven Legal Assistance offices, located at 426 State Street in New Haven, a 10-15 minute walk from the Law School.
Note: Students may not be enrolled in a LSO clinic and any of the following non-LSO clinics in the same semester, whether as a student director, fieldwork-only returning student, continuing student, or otherwise: Education Adequacy Project, Legal Assistance; Prosecution Externship.
Note: All students are expected to attend the first day of class.
Grade mode: graded or credit/fail