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Philadelphia Tribune Showcases ‘Ban the Box’ Training Led by ’16 Alumnus and Professor Rachel Lopez

'16 alumnus Ryan McCarthy and Professor Rachel Lopez, director of Community Lawyering Clinic

September 21, 2017

A Sept. 15 article in the Philadelphia Tribune featured a training program on Philadelphia’s Fair Chance Hiring Law led by ’16 alumnus Ryan McCarthy.

The program was organized by the law school’s Community Lawyering Clinic, which is headquartered at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and allows law students to provide legal services and assistance to residents of the Mantua and Powelton Village communities.

McCarthy, an attorney advisor at U.S. Department of Labor, provided information about year-old amendments to city hiring laws that prevent employers from asking job candidates about criminal backgrounds during the application process. The law restricts when employers can seek such information and how it can be used.

“Beyond the application process, (employers) are not allowed to ask you during an interview have you ever been convicted of a crime or if you have ever been charged with anything,” McCarthy said. “If an employer is going to use your criminal history record, they have to make sure that whatever you were convicted of is very specifically tailored to the job.”

McCarthy told the Tribune that the program was developed in response to input Mantua and Powelton Village residents provided to the clinic, which seeks to fill the community’s unmet legal needs.

Professor Rachel López, who directs the clinic, told the Tribune that McCarthy conceived of the training program when he was a law student.

“We had been meeting a lot of people in the community who had criminal records and couldn’t get jobs and wanted to do something about it,” López said.

The article noted that the clinic also held sessions on the same day concerning home ownership issues such as foreclosure and tangled titles.

This is the fourth year the clinic has held “Law Day” training sessions that provide the University’s low-income neighbors with information about legal issues and their rights.