Saturday, April 26, 2014
Charlotte School of Law's Civil Rights Clinic Wins 2014 CLEA Award for Excellence in Public Interest Case or Project
Congratulations to Charlotte School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic, which this week was named as the recipient of the 2014 CLEA Award for Excellence in Public Interest Case or Project for its remarkable “Ban the Box" Campaign. In sharing news of the Award with the LawClinic listserv, CLEA Awards Committee co-chair, Professor Perry Moriearty, detailed the success of the “Ban the Box” initiative:
After more than four years of persistent and intense legal advocacy, the Charlotte School of Law Civil Rights Clinic persuaded Charlotte, North Carolina, to eliminate the "Box" which requires job applicants to reveal any past criminal convictions before being considered for a municipal job. Over the course of the Ban the Box campaign, which began in the 2009 fall semester, Clinic student attorneys organized stakeholders, drafted a model ordinance, and recruited a council member to introduce the model "Banning the Box" ordinance to the City Council which finally occurred on February 27, 2013. Prior to this meeting, Clinic students worked tirelessly with local organizers to pack the city council building, resulting in a 6-5 vote sending the ordinance to committee. (Here is a link to a story with some pictures of the council meeting: http://cslcivilrights.com/2013/03/06/charlotte-city-council-kicks-the-box-to-committee-for-further-study-2/).
But there, Ban the Box lost momentum and the Clinic's council allies informed them that the votes did not exist to get the proposed ordinance out of committee. Undeterred, the students changed strategies and approached the newly hired City Manager who met with them and other campaign participants on November 26, 2013. Shortly after that meeting, he directed their human resources department to eliminate the box on all job applications with the exception of positions that have public safety or statutory requirements. (Here is a link to the story about the decision:
Building on this success, the Clinic is taking Ban the Box on the road to other North Carolina municipalities and venturing into the private sector as well. Nine generations of law students have participated in this effort under the supervision of Professor Jason Huber.
CLEA will present the Award for Excellence in Public Interest Case or Project to the Charlotte School of Law Civil Rights Clinic during the town hall luncheon at the AALS Clinical Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, April 30th.
On behalf of the Clinical Law Prof Blog, congratulations to Professor Huber and his students!