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Center for Law and
Social Responsibility

"We send people out into the world ready to practice law that advances socially responsible ends."

Professor David Siegel, director, Center for Law and Social Responsibility

Center for Law and Social Responsibility

Welcome to the CLSR!

It starts with advocacy. New England Law professors lend legal support in an array of public interest areas, including criminal justice, immigration, education, the environment, and women's and children's issues. Through the CLSR, these professors lend support to one another, develop courses around their public interest work, and bring students into the projects.  Students may enroll in advocacy-focused courses, attend a steady stream of CLSR-sponsored events, and, most importantly, actively participate in real-world public interest law projects. Whether working alongside professors or under the guidance of full-time legal service providers, New England Law students have the opportunity to gain real lawyering experiences from their first year forward.

Summer Fellowship Program

The New England Law | Boston Summer Fellowship Program aids New England Law students in their efforts to gain valuable practice experience during the summer after their first year of law school and, for students in the part-time program, their second year.  The New England Law Board of Trustees has pledged that each fellow will receive a stipend of $3,500 to assist with summer living expenses.  Learn more about our Summer Fellowship Program.

Criminal Justice Project

  • Directly assist clients of legal services providers to seal criminal records.
  • Participate in faculty-run pro bono criminal law cases and amici briefs.
  • Assist the New England Innocence Project to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.
  • Join in drafting and promoting legislation to improve the criminal justice system.
  • Help train criminal justice professionals on DNA evidence admissibility.

Environmental Advocacy Project

  • Contribute to the Masschusetts DEP Administrative Decsions Database (DADD), the New England Law-developed online searchable database of the Commonwealth's environmental agency decisions.
  • Aid local environmental advocacy groups with their researching, fact-finding, and strategizing.
  • Support public litigation, legislation, and policy-making efforts to promote environmental equity.

Human Rights and Immigration Law Project

  • Contribute to faculty and alumni-led pro bono cases and amici briefs addressing groundbreaking human rights, asylum, and trafficking issues.
  • Join faculty in advocacy and educational efforts aimed at immigration policy development.
  • Directly serve clients of legal services providers in immigration law matters.

Public Service Project

  • Join students and alumni in Boston-based public service projects.
  • Lead training sessions at shelters and community centers to teach the underrepresented about their civil rights.
  • Receive New England Law transcript recognition for public service volunteer hours.

Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project

In addition to filing impact litigation cases with regulatory agencies and in state and federal courts to advance the civil and constitutional rights of women and children, the Women's and Children's Advocacy Project submits amicus briefs in cases around the country, and manages three programs:

  • The Judicial Language Project involves students using socio-linguistic research to analyze the language used in legal decisions and news media to describe violence against women and children. Students prepare written critiques that identify certain words and phrases as harmful, and propose the use of better alternatives. These letters are then sent to courts and news organizations along with a request that they consider modifying their policies to avoid the use of problematic language in the future.
  • The Sexual Violence Legal News project involves students analyzing new appellate court cases of interest related to sexual violence. In their analyses students include editorial comments about the meaning of the courts’ rulings to help legal and non-legal professionals better understand the societal consequences and real-world impact of new court rulings on the lives of women and children. 
  • The J.D./Ph.D. project involves teams of J.D. and Ph.D. students working across disciplines to produce legal analyses of the methodological reliability of new research studies related to interpersonal violence, in order to expedite or inhibit the delivery of new science into human behavior through the mechanism of law.

CLSR Fellows Program

  • Since 2003, New England Law has awarded this postgraduate fellowship to a graduating student in most academic years.  CLSR fellows manage the CLSR while engaging in one or more substantial legal service projects to advance their careers in public interest law.  Sample projects include:
  • Representing citizens opposing a power plant before the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board.
  • Representing child immigrants seeking aslyum and developing child advocacy protocols for a Boston-based legal services provider.
  • Collaborating with citizen leaders, government agency representatives, and  public health experts to forge a public health plan for Boston’s public housing communities.
  • Contributing to litigation in Belize to enforce environmental standards in connection with a dam construction project.
  • Joining the City of Boston in developing its climate change preparedness policy.

Public Service Transcript Notation Program

  • Students may earn formal recognition on their official New England Law  transcript of the public service and pro bono legal work they perform while in law school.  For more information, please see the Transcript Notation page.

LawMatters Events Series

  • Through the academic year, the CLSR hosts panel debates, guest presentations, student-led roundtables, and many additional events where students, faculty, and members of the legal community convene to discuss current issues in public service law.  Topics have included issues as diverse as same-sex marriage, urban environmental justice, civil representation for the indigent, trafficking policy, charter school policy, and the stagnation of rape prevention policy.