Emma-Lee Clinger

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Society
  • Sponsored by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Fordham University School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Emma-Lee will target collateral consequences of juvenile arrests through direct representation, community education, and law reform so New York City youth can pursue higher education, employment, and professional licenses.

Each year, thousands of youth are arrested as juvenile delinquents in New York City and will face discrimination and collateral consequences due to that arrest. Sealing records, ensuring record accuracy, and counseling on non-disclosure will make a crucial difference for youth who already face over-policing and are unable to pay for private counsel who typically seal and expunge these records. Many impacted individuals who will be served by this project are otherwise unaware of the legal protections available to them, and are denied or discouraged from pursuing jobs, licenses, or admittance to a higher education institution, as a result of arrest-related discrimination. This project will break down barriers to employment and education by enforcing New York Family Court Act’s protections and empowering New Yorkers with juvenile arrests to defend their rights against record-based discrimination.

Fellowship Plans

Emma-Lee will conduct legal counseling with arrested youth and will litigate motions to seal, remove errors in individual’s Record of Arrest and Prosecution (“RAP”) sheet, and host legal clinics. She will also develop Know Your Rights materials and training curriculum for youth, their communities, and youth-serving organizations that will lay out: 1) sealing and expungement legal protections; 2) the law regarding arrest disclosure to potential employers or schools; and 3) step-by-step instructions for clients seeking employment after an arrest. Additionally, Emma-Lee will ensure that agencies across New York City and New York State comply with laws pertaining to juvenile records and will advocate strengthening existing protections.


Two Stein Scholars Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowships

As a former high school teacher, I have witnessed how an arrest stemming from the purported rehabilitative system of delinquency court can stifle the ability of a young person to access employment, licenses, or higher education—the very opportunities that would propel them from a life rooted in poverty, stigma, and recidivism.

Emma-Lee Clinger /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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