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The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) is unique among HLS programs of clinical legal education in that its legal services program is student-run. Founded in 1913, HLAB has a long history of responding to the legal needs of low-income people in the greater Boston area.

The Bureau consists of approximately 50 second- and third-year student members who make two-year commitments to the Bureau’s program of clinical education and legal services to the indigent community. Student membership in HLAB carries with it an integrated two-year academic and clinical training in legal practice skills and ethics. HLAB members are expected to devote at least 20 hours per week of clinical practice and related activities.

Students represent indigent clients in civil matters in the Massachusetts courts, before administrative agencies, before legislative bodies, and in various other fora. Working under the supervision of eight clinical instructors who collectively have extensive public interest and private practice experience, all students assume direct responsibility for representation of clients from intake interview to final disposition. Each year the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau handles over 300 cases in varied practice areas, including family law, housing law, wage and hour law, government benefits, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) matters. Bureau practice frequently involves appearances by student attorneys before state courts, hearing officers, and administrative law judges. Students also have the opportunity to engage in other forms of advocacy, including the following task forces, community lawyering partnerships, and clinics for pro se litigants:

  • Attorney-for-the-Day at Boston Housing Court
  • Attorney-for-the-Day at Suffolk Family and Probate Court
  • Benefits Practice (SSI/SSDI/DUA)
  • Community Lawyering Task Force
  • Eviction Clinic
  • Family Practice Task Force (FPTF)
  • Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF)
  • Wage & Hour Practice (including Mass AG Wage Theft Clinic)
  • Y2Y Youth Homeless Shelter
  • City Life / Vida Urbana

Because the Bureau is a student-run legal services program, members and their elected student board of directors are responsible for the governance of the organization.

Student work includes:

  • Engaging in factual and legal research
  • Client interviewing and counseling
  • Negotiating agreements
  • Drafting legal memoranda
  • Arguing motions and trying cases before a court or jury
  • Drafting legislation and promoting policy reform
  • Cultivating and sustaining partnerships with community organizations

How to Apply

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is a two-year clinic commitment (full-year both 2L and 3L year). You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical application process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Application Deadline: To receive the application, students must use the registration link. Once they’ve registered, the application itself will be open from March 1 – March 29. Register here: 

Meet the Instructors

Esme Caramello headshot

Esme Caramello

Managing Attorney and Faculty Director; Clinical Professor of Law

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Esme Caramello is the Bureau’s Faculty Director and a Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where her research, teaching, and advocacy focus on affordable housing, access to justice, public interest lawyering, and legal ethics.  After graduating from HLS, Esme spent a year in San Francisco as a litigation associate at Baker & McKenzie and a year in her hometown of Chicago as law clerk to the incomparable U.S. District Court Judge Charles P. Kocoras. She then served for five years as a Chesterfield Smith Community Service Fellow and litigation associate in the Boston office of Holland & Knight, where her work ranged from challenging the conditions of confinement on death row to drafting a consumer protection law to representing refugees seeking political asylum and tenants fighting eviction and disability discrimination. Hooked on housing, she taught in the Housing Unit at HLS’s WilmerHale Legal Services Center and in Suffolk Law School’s Housing and Consumer Protection Clinic before coming to the Bureau in 2009. Esme is a member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and serves as a co-chair of its Housing Working Group and a member of its Access to Attorneys Committee.  She is also a Trustee of the Boston Bar Foundation and a longtime member of its Grants Committee.  She is a graduate of Harvard College (Social Anthropology ’94) and Harvard Law School (’99).

headshot of Eloise Lawrence

Eloise Lawrence

Deputy Faculty Director; Assistant Clinical Professor of Law

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Eloise Lawrence is the Deputy Faculty Director and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at HLS. She is also the faculty supervisor for the HLS Student Practice Organization “Project No One Leaves.” In her role as clinical instructor, she supervises student attorneys who represent tenants and homeowners who are in the eviction process. In her role as lecturer, she co-teaches Housing Law and Policy on a biennial basis and is a member of the HLAB teaching team for courses specifically geared towards HLAB student/ attorneys. Prior to her current role, she started at HLAB in 2011 as a staff attorney responsible for representing hundreds of families and individuals who were facing eviction due to a foreclosure on their home and working with local organizers to advocate for policy changes. Previously, she was a staff attorney in the Consumer Rights Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, where she brought affirmative suits on behalf of mortgagors against loan originators, servicers and foreclosing entities. Prior to the foreclosure crisis, she was an attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, and started her legal career as a Skadden Fellow in Chicago representing public housing residents in civil rights class actions. Before attending law school, Eloise was high school history teacher. Eloise received a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 2002 and a B.A. from Stanford University in 1995.

Patricio Rossi headshot

Patricio Rossi

Assistant Director; Senior Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law; Associate Director for the Wage & Hour Practice

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Patricio has been a Clinical Instructor at HLAB since 2011. Before that, he was an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. From 2004 to 2008, he worked in the Housing Unit of Neighborhood Legal Services in Lynn, Massachusetts, first as a Berkeley Law Fellow then as a Staff Attorney. Patricio graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2003. After graduating, he completed a one-year clerkship with the Massachusetts Superior Court in Boston. Patricio graduated from Brown University in 1996 with a degree in history.

Stephanie Goldenhersh

Stephanie Goldenhersh

Senior Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law; Associate Director for the Family Practice

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Stephanie Goldenhersh joined the Bureau as a full-time clinical instructor in August 2007, supervising students in the Bureau’s domestic relations practice, and is now a Senior Clinical Instructor.  She has been the Assistant Director for the Family Practice since September of 2016. Prior to joining the Bureau, Stephanie practiced for six years at Community Legal Aid–Worcester, handling all manner of domestic relations litigation and 209A abuse prevention orders. Stephanie was also the project manager for the unit’s U.S. Department of Justice grant under the Violence Against Women Act, which partnered with local domestic violence service providers to ensure continuity of legal services to domestic violence survivors. Prior to entering legal services, Stephanie worked at the law firm Foley Hoag, LLP, where she participated in environmental litigation and pro bono advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. Stephanie received a B.A. in Sociology, Politics and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University and her J.D. from University of Michigan Law School. In law school, Stephanie was a Project Coordinator of the Family Law Project, a provider of student representation for domestic violence survivors seeking protective orders. Stephanie was also an editor of the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, and team-taught the undergraduate course “Women in the Law.”

Pattie Whiting headshot

Patricia Whiting

Senior Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law; Associate Director for the Housing Practice

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Pattie is a clinical instructor and Lecturer on Law who joined the Bureau in 2006. She supervises students in the Bureau’s housing practice, and has a particular interest in cases involving reasonable accommodation in housing and Section 8 voucher terminations.  In addition to supervising student attorneys, Pattie coordinates the Bureau’s participation in the Attorney for the Day Program in Boston Housing Court, where students provide assistance to unrepresented tenants facing eviction from their homes.  Pattie holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. Prior to coming to the Bureau, Pattie was a fellow and clinical instructor at the HLS Legal Services Center practicing in the areas of housing law and consumer bankruptcy, and was an associate at the Cambridge law firm of Pressman & Kruskal, where she worked on matters involving residential real estate, estate planning, and lead paint litigation.

headshot of Jacob Chin

Jacob Chin

Clinical Instructor

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

headshot of Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony

Clinical Instructor

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

headshot of Elizabeth Tuttle Newman

Elizabeth Tuttle Newman

Clinical Instructor

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Staff Members

Christopher PierceSocial
Susana ArtetaAdministrative
Melissa MinayaProgram
Ana Sibrian-ZepedaStaff

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