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Professor Charles Auffant Wins Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from AALS Clinical Section

April 23, 2010 – 
The Clinical Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has recognized Professor Charles I. Auffant of Rutgers School of Law–Newark with the 2010 Shanara Gilbert Award for his teaching excellence, dedication to social justice, commitment to clinical legal education, and international work focused on Cuba. The national award honors a junior or “emerging” clinician who has demonstrated significant accomplishments and great promise. Shanara Gilbert, who died in 1996 at age 45, was a founder and co-director of CUNY Law School’s Defender Clinic.

CLEA photo 2010   
Charles Auffant (with plaque) with colleagues (l-r) Professor Frank Askin, Assistant Director of Clinical Administration Edna Baugh, Clinical Professor Jennifer Rosen Valverde, Dean John Farmer, Professor Jon Dubin, Clinical Professor Robert Holmes, Clinical Professor Esther Canty-Barnes (winner of the 2004 Shanara Gilbert Award), and Clinical Professor Randi Mandelbaum. At right is Brooklyn Law Professor Jonathan Askin, Rutgers Class of 1990.
Auffant, a 1982 graduate of Rutgers School of Law–Newark, is Associate Clinical Professor in the Community Law Clinic. According to Professor Robert Holmes, Deputy Director of Clinical Programs, “Charles is a legal practitioner and teacher, as well as a social activist, who has used his legal skills to advance the rights and interests of poor and minority inner-city residents in both civil and criminal justice contexts and though litigation, transactional and political work. His dedication to social justice through public service derives from his sense of duty to his community and an appreciation of the opportunities and support that allowed him to develop from a resident of public housing in New York’s Southeast Bronx to a highly respected attorney and teacher.”

At Essex-Newark Legal Services, Auffant represented residents victimized by predatory lenders and persons in need of relief from burdensome consumer debt. At the Urban League of Essex County, he helped save homes threatened by foreclosure and increased the availability of affordable housing. While working for the Newark Board of Education, he ensured that school board elections were truly bilingual and expanded voting sites to essentially all general election polling places. At the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, he served as special counsel on a project that sought to provide affordable, quality housing to homeless or at-risk patients of the university’s Behavioral Health System.

Since joining Rutgers as a visiting staff attorney in 1998, Auffant has served clients and inspired students in the Urban Legal Clinic, Special Education Clinic, and Community Law Clinic. Now working in the mostly transactional Community Law Clinic, he has added charter schools to the docket, giving students a practical understanding of New Jersey education law, and represented non-profit entities, community development corporations, and small or emerging businesses and micro-enterprises. He recently became director of the clinic’s collaboration with Covenant House, New Jersey, which provides shelter and social services for homeless and runaway youth and walk-in support services to other at-risk youth. Under Auffant’s direction, clinic students perform corporate/transactional legal work for Covenant House and provide residents with educational seminars, counseling, and direct legal representation to help put their lives back on track.

A former trustee of the New Jersey Hispanic Bar Association, Auffant is a member of the executive committee of the AALS Clinical Section.

“Charles Auffant,” said Professor Jon Dubin, Director of Clinical Programs, “clearly demonstrates the accomplishments, values, social justice activism, and emerging contributions to clinical education intended of the award recipient and exemplified by the tragically shortened career of Shanara Gilbert.”