Several members of the Harvard Law School class of 1958 announced yesterday that they are launching a new public interest law foundation.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Bromley Professor of Law Arthur R. Miller, members of the class and of the new Appleseed Foundation's board of directors, held a press conference along with other class members in Washington, D.C.
Members of the class have donated $150,000 to start the foundation, which organizers plan to expand into a national network of public service law centers, said spokesperson Linda Singer '88.
Nader said yesterday that the centers would not focus on any particular issues or be beholden to any political ideologies, but would rather address wider legal concerns in the centers" respective communities.
"The centers will advance systemic legal strategies to deal with problems before they fester," said Nader. "No patterns of injustice will be off limits."
The new foundation will provide "startup money" to begin statewide public interest law centers, Singer said. Once these centers are started, organizers hope they will be funded by state bar associations and run by community members.
Nader said he thought the centers were a good way for alumni to give something back to the community.
"I always thought a class full of influential attorneys should forge a mechanism for being powerful, influential attorneys for the public," Nader said.
The first of these centers will start in Massachusetts this summer, and Harvard Law School may support the program through curricular offerings or facilitating an externship program.
Miller, who is a legal commentator for Good Morning America, said in a press release that he planned to take a personal hand in promoting the foundation.
"Harvard will provide "intellectual backup" for the Center, through a research seminar I plan to offer, and through a faculty-supervised clinical program connected to the law school curriculum," Miller said.
Law School Dean Robert C. Clark said yesterday that while such ties are not yet certain, they remain a strong possibility.
"If we do proceed to develop an externship program, it will have to meet the usual criterion," Clark said in an interview. "It only seems practical to open something with the local SUIT
"The entry was proximately caused by thefailure of Harvard to have adequately secured theapartment from unlawful entry." says the amendedcomplaint filed in December.
The complaint also charges the "Harvard wasaware that the plaintiff's apartment wasvulnerable to break-in."