Article in Harvard Law Record Dated April 24, 1978

Fledgling Legal Aid Center
Asks HLS to Participate

By Terry Keeney

The Law School may help create
a legal services center in Boston to
provide improved legal aervicee for
the urban poor and continuing clin-
ical education  for attorneys and
law atudenta entering the field.
The center, called the Legal Ser-
vices Inslitute, is the brain-child of
HLS faculty meinbers Gary Bellow
and Jeanne Kettleaon. They and
four other organizers, including a
proresaor from MIT, two Boston at-
torneys, and Katherine Stone, 2L,
have subinitted a proposal for the
Institute to the Legal Services Cor-
poration for funding in conjunction
with the Greater Boston Legal Ser-
vices office.
The proponents alao have pro-
possed to the Law School faculty
that Harvard sponsor the Institute
by providing students, faculty and
research opportunities for the In-
stitute. The proposal is currently
being  studied  by  a  committee
chaired by Prof. Frank 1. Michel-
man.

Student Slots
Under the proposal, the Institute,
when in full operation in July,
1980, will accept up to 25 third-
year law students to work and
study full-time at the Institute.
The attorneys and other staff at
the Institute will comprise the fac-
ulty, along with visiting faculty
from the profession or participating
law schools. The curriculum will
deal directly with legal services and poverty law and draw heavily
from case work at the Institute.
StudentJ  participating  will  be
closely supervised and evaluated
individually.
To be eligible for the Institute,
students inlist come from a par-
ticipating law Bchool; that is, the
school mii»t accept one year'a work
and study at the Institute as equal
in credit to completing a conven-
tional third year. Students muat
alao pledge to work five years in a
legal lervices job.
Bellow and Kettleeon will resign
from the HLS faculty next year to
devote full attention to running the
Institute.  Both  are  enthusiaetic
about the proposal and view it as a
means of upgrading legal services
to the poor. Kettleson argues that,
given the high turnover of legal
services attorneys, the Institute
will provide a core of professionals
who can learn and lat«r teach the
skills and knowledge necessary for
effective advocacy.
"It takes about two yean to learn
your way around legal services,
which is about the average stay,"
said Kettleson. ''You need people
on this side who will stay long
enough. You've got to hang in long
enough to see things build and
change."

Urban Ills Targeted
Bellow hopes the Institute will
attack  the probleins facing  the
urban poor in an organized and
coordinated fashion. The Institute
may concentrate its resources on
larger problems that lie behind in-
dividual client cases.
"If it turns out that lead paint
poisoning  is  a  major  problem
among the clients we see, we might
take the bulk of our cases for up to a
year from clients with those kinds
of problems," said Bellow. The type
of work performed in the lead paint
case might range from the conven-
tional suit against the landlord for
housing code violations to working
with neighborhood groups on edu-
cation and health programs.
'This type of approach at least
takes what limited resources we
have and has an impact," said Bel-
low.
Bellow believes that one of the strengths of the Institute is the
teaching function performed by all
Institute staff members. By teach-
ing future legal services lawyers,
the techniques of good advocacy
will be passed on. "This is the first
try at making legal services a
teaching/learning experience," he
said. "We'll spend a lot of time
teaching."

Bridge to Career
Proponents of the Institute argue
that  the  program  is  an  ideal
"bridge" for students wanting to
enter the legal services profession.
Students who are serious enough
about legal services to make a
five-year commitment may find the
year at the Institute valuable
commented Bellow. After the year
spent at the Institute, the Lega
Services Corporation will try to
place graduates at one of its office
throughout the country.
"Our experience is that students
taking this career line would ben
efit greatly from this bridge ea
perience," said Bellow. This same
bridge experience,  if successful
might be applied to other caree
lines, such as criminal prosecution.
"The way in which this is a rea
education program is that it can b
applied to other areas," Kettleson
said.
Michelman said, "At this moment I see nothing distinctive
about the legal services career tha
would preclude the application of
this approach to other areas."
Bellow sees the Institute as th
first of several such centers aroun
the country. "We have in mind five
or six other Institutes around the country," he said
The proposal is now being considered
by an ad hoc committee appointed
by Dean Sacks consisting
of Michelman,  Laurence  Tribe, Richard  Stewart,  William  Andrews, Duncan Kennedy and Bernard Wolfman.
 

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