Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service Celebrates Pro Bono

The Celebration of Pro Bono continues with highlights from the pro bono activities organized by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School to commemorate the ABA sponsored second annual National Pro Bono Celebration.

Today the Rappaport Center is sponsoring a Criminal Record Sealing Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services.  Massachusetts keeps criminal offender record information, known as “CORI,” on every individual who enters the state’s criminal court system. CORI is recorded and kept on file even if the underlying case is ultimately dismissed or the accused is found not guilty. CORI is used in screening processes by employers, landlords, and government agencies. The increased use of CORI by employers and others has resulted in more and more people with criminal records being denied employment, housing, benefits, and other opportunities for economic stability that others take for granted.

During the Criminal Record Sealing Clinic, law student volunteers will meet with clients to answer CORI questions and provide information on how to get a copy of a CORI and how to seal a CORI.  The students attended a training earlier in the week and will be supervised by attorneys from Greater Boston Legal Services and the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center.

On Saturday, Suffolk Law students will participate in foreclosure prevention canvassing in Chelsea.  The foreclosure crisis is predominantly affecting Boston’s low and moderate-income neighborhoods, with minorities and single women as its most common victims. After foreclosure auctions, banks take ownership of the homes and evict everyone living there, whether they are owners or renters, even if everyone tries to continue to pay a fair rent to the bank.

The Rappaport Center, the Student Bar Association, the No One Leaves Project, and the Chelsea Collaborative are partnering to train students and then hit the streets of Chelsea to inform tenants and former owners of foreclosed properties that they have rights and may stay in their homes.

For a full schedule of this week’s events visit the official 2010 Celebration of Pro Bono site.

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