HLS students join in clemency initiative
Early in the spring, first-year Harvard Law School (HLS) students Chloe Goodwin, Nora Ellingsen, and Josh Looney jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with a national organization to help felons get a second shot at life.
Working with Clemency Project 2014, a coalition that supports petitions by nonviolent drug offenders for executive clemency, the students wound up enlightened and inspired.
“It was a wake-up moment for me,” said Looney, who plans to pursue a career in criminal defense. “I realized that what I was doing was really different from writing a brief for class.”
With a group of 26 students working under the supervision of pro bono attorneys from the Boston law firms Goodwin Procter and Clements & Pineault, HLS provided the largest contingent of students among the law schools participating in the project.
Clemency Project 2014 stems from President Obama’s efforts to grant clemency to nonviolent felons serving harsh sentences, as part of a wider push for criminal justice reform.