Norrinda Hayat, who most recently directed the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, started at Rutgers in August as the new Director of the Civil Justice Clinic in Newark. She has worked as a civil rights and housing lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice and takes the place of Professor Jack Feinstein, who retired after 30 years at Rutgers Law.
What made you interested in coming to Rutgers?
I am a clinical professor, so the long rich history of Rutgers, particularly in Newark, of clinical teaching and social justice is what drew me to want to join the faculty. The Civil Justice Clinic, which is the successor to the Urban Legal Clinic, has historically handled a myriad of cases that face members of the community, from housing to family law to consumer work. As Newark evolves, the clinic will continue work on some of the most pressing issues affecting the Newark community.
Talk about your journey that brought you to Rutgers?
My work in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department where I litigated housing and consumer law cases for seven years has had the most influence on my career so far. At the department, I worked on several cases where we tried to take a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing the ways in which the criminal justice system intersects with housing law, gender and race. I hope to continue to think about those intersections in my scholarship.
What are you looking forward to at Rutgers?
I am looking forward to becoming a part of the broader academic community at Rutgers. It is exciting to be on a campus with multiple schools and where there are is support and encouragement for interdisciplinary projects. I think the answers to many of our social ills will require breaking down silos and Rutgers appears to be teaching its students in that model. That’s encouraging for the future.
Talk a little about yourself.
I am a bit of a foodie. My family and I owned a bakery in Philadelphia for a little over a decade (the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique). We recently closed the bakery. I am excited to get to know the Newark community – including where the best bakeries are.