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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 14538531

Records of the Community Legal Assistance Office

Papers relating to the creation and operation of the Community Legal Assistance Office, established in 1966 by Harvard Law School to provide clinical legal services to low-income residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dates

  • 1966-1970

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Historical and Special Collections staff for further information. Restrictions on personal client information and official university administration records are noted in the container list below.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Historical and Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Extent

2.5 linear feet (in 6 boxes)

The Records of the Community Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) span the years 1966 to 1992, with the bulk falling in the 1966 to 1970 period. The collection includes: reports, proposals, studies, memos, correspondence, drafts, teaching materials, publications, pamphlets, leaflets, maps, and one photograph. These materials relate to the various aspects of the creation and operation of the office, which was established by the Harvard Law School in 1966, to provide clinical legal services to low-income residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Records in this collection document how CLAO was created with a joint effort of Harvard Law School and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the agency that, beginning in 1964, became responsible for administering the local application of the War on Poverty programs promoted by President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society legislation.

A significant group of records relates to CLAO's handling of both criminal and civil cases, the latter involving primarily housing, governments benefits, and domestic relations. The records in this collection refer also to a diverse range of topics relating to: antipoverty programs, law reform, legal education for the poor, housing and building projects, and community-based municipal government. Particularly, the records focusing on the Cambridge Model Cities project (1967-1968) shed light on the role that the office played in the application process for the Model Cities program fir urban aid planning which was promoted by the Johnson's administration, and its ensuing implementation. There are also records documenting CLAO's contribution to the housing "modernization" program in the cities of Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts (1968).

Another significant group of records refer to various issues relating to scholarly debates, course planning, and curriculum development in the areas of poverty law and clinical legal services, especially with reference to the Harvard Conference on Law and Poverty (1967), and the course focusing on "The Provision of Legal Services", based almost entirely on CLAO's cases and experiences, which was presented by John Ferren at the Harvard Law School during the academic year 1969-1970.

The collection also includes several scholarly essays and newspaper articles which trace the history of CLAO and discuss its significance. Writings include essays by Robert H. Adkins, John Ferren, Steven M. Fleischer, A. Van C. Lackton, and an unpublished manuscript by Meldon E. Levine. TEST

Historical Information

1966
The Harvard Law School grant application for a neighborhood law office in Cambridge, Massachusetts was approved by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO)
1966
John M. Ferren, (HLS '62), was appointed Director of the Harvard Law School Neighborhood Law Office Program and Teaching Fellow
1966
A Proposal by Harvard Law School for a Neighborhood Law Office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was submitted
1966
The Community Legal Assistance Office opened in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, with John Ferren serving as Director, and Paul G. Garrity as Chief Staff Attorney
1967
The City of Cambridge received nearly one-million dollars in Federal grant funds for the Model Cities program
1967
Conference on Law and Poverty hosted by Harvard Law School
1968
A. Van C. Lanckton and John C. Cratsley were appointed CLAO's co-Directors
1968
Governor of Massachusetts John A. Volpe signed two housing bills submitted by CLAO to be enacted into law
1968
CLAO successfully defeated in Federal Court the one-year residence eligibility requirement of the Massachusetts Public Welfare Department
1969
CLAO obtained the release of a marine from the Federal Court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus that established a new precedent by enlarging the scope of Marine Corps decisions
1968-1969
CLAO conducted a legal education teaching program in the high schools of Cambridge, Massachusetts
1969-1970
A new course titled "Provision of Legal Services", based almost entirely on CLAO's cases and experiences, was presented at the Harvard Law School by John M. Ferren
1971
CLAO merged with Cambridge Legal Services, founded in 1967, to form the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS)

Series List/Description

  1. Series I. Administrative, 1966-1970 This series contains proposals, memos, correspondence, and reports relating to the creation and operation of CLAO and isarranged in chronological order.
  2. ___ Subseries A. General 1966-1970
  3. ___Subseries B. Cambridge Model Cities, 1967-1968
  4. Series II. Teaching,1969-1970

    This is a discrete group of records referring to the course titled "The Provision of Legal Services", based on CLAO'scases and experiences, which was presented at the Harvard Law School during the academic year 1969-1970. It includes case studies, notes, and readings.

  5. Series III. Writings, 1967-1992

    This series include several scholarly essays andnewspaper articles that focused on the history of CLAO, discuss its social and cultural impact, and delve into the concepts of poverty law, and clinical legal services and education.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Harvard Law School Library by John M. Ferren, October 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Lidia Santarelli, November 2015
Link to catalog
Title
Records of the Community Legal Assistance Office
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00279

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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