The New Haven Legal Assistance Re-entry Clinic provides 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 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 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.