By: Sharon Kim J.D. ’16
This past week, I had the opportunity to volunteer with four other students from HLS at the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center (LARC) in Boston. The group primarily assisted the organization with its criminal record sealing project and guided clients through the process of getting convictions and other cases on their criminal records sealed. For certain clients, we conducted preliminary intake interviews and provided information on how they could obtain their CORI record. For those who did have a copy at hand, we helped them determine which charges could be sealed. We also explained the procedure to them. For those who needed to present their case in front of a judge, we helped draft an affidavit detailing the challenges they had faced in acquiring employment and new housing because of their criminal record.
Separate from the CORI work, one of my other projects dealt with the invocation of nuisance law by landlords to initiate injunctions for eviction, thereby depriving tenants of their right to discovery and other procedural guarantees of due process. For several days, I worked on a booklet to be eventually distributed to tenants. This booklet would inform them of their rights and provide guidance if they chose to advocate for themselves in court. I find the issue fascinating, and I hope to pursue more research in housing law and tenant rights during my time at HLS.
I loved my time at LARC, and I am very grateful for having been provided the opportunity to serve the Greater Boston community. I’m very thankful to my colleagues, who reminded me on a daily basis how fortunate I am to be a part of the HLS community. From our conversations alone, I learned about the conservative nature of Japanese culture, the sprawls of ‘Atlanta,’ and the energy industry and its regulatory framework in the Philippines. It amazed me that people from all different walks of life could come together in the way we did for a common cause. Most importantly, I owe my gratitude to our supervisors Steve and Pauline and the rest of the LARC team, who were extremely generous with their patience and time. They taught me the most important lesson of all: that people, regardless of where they come from, just need someone there to listen to their story and help carry their burden. That grace and passion can be found through and from the work you commit yourself to. I hope that in the future, I can be an inspiration to others as those at LARC have been to me.