Legal Assistance Association Honors James Forman Jr. ’92

James Forman Jr.

James Forman Jr. ’92, the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, was honored by New Haven Legal Assistance Association at its Equal Access to Justice Reception on June 11, 2019. The organization, which exists to provide high quality legal services to individuals and groups who face barriers in obtaining these services, annually recognizes honorees who share its commitment to justice. 

In his remarks, Forman spoke about the potential of restorative justice, including a story from his time as a public defender. Prior to his academic career, Forman joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. The experience led him to co-found a public charter school to provide young people with the educational and job training opportunities his clients lacked.

At Yale Law School, Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions.

New Haven Legal Assistance Association was incorporated in 1964 to “secure justice for and to protect the rights of those residents of New Haven County unable to engage legal counsel.” The organization was one of the first legal services programs in the U.S. and the federal government used it as a model for similar programs throughout the country. 

Yale Law School and New Haven Legal Assistance Association have a long shared history. Many of the organization's lawyers have been clinical lecturers at the School, faculty have served on the board of the organization, and numerous students have interned there over the years.