Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sheila Hayre ’02 Named YLS Public Interest Advisor

Sheila Hayre ’02 has been named Public Interest Advisor and will serve as a public interest Mentor-in-Residence at Yale Law School. Her appointment was effective January 6.  Hayre is a staff attorney with the New Haven Legal Assistance Association (NHLA) and will be taking a year-long sabbatical from NHLA in order to provide counseling to YLS students interested in public interest opportunities.  A key focus for Hayre will be to assist Yale Law School students and alumni in applying for public interest fellowships.

Hayre has worked in public interest law for the past six years, first as a clerk for the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit under Judge Jon O. Newman, and then as a staff attorney at NHLA, which she joined in 2004 with the support of an Equal Justice America Fellowship. Her work in family law and immigration has focused on the neediest, particularly women who are victims of spousal abuse, and undocumented immigrants. She was among the first legal services attorneys in Connecticut to pursue visa status adjustments for battered spouses, and she has recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of victims of trafficking and employer abuse.

“Sheila will be a terrific resource for our community in promoting public service in all realms of legal practice.  Bringing Sheila on board will bring tremendous new energy to our expanding public interest program,” said Dean Harold Hongju Koh.

Hayre’s appointment is the latest in a series of measures expanding Yale Law School’s longstanding commitment to the public interest. In spring 2008, Dean Harold Hongju Koh announced a major initiative to enhance the public interest program at the Law School and improve financial support for graduates, including increasing the number of public interest fellowships and adding to the Law School’s generous loan forgiveness program.  A $3 million gift from the Robina Foundation announced in July 2008 is providing support to J.D. students and to those already working in the human rights field.

Hayre received her J.D. in 2002 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and student board chair of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Stanford University.