“I am excited to work with Clinic students and community partners to push back against the school-to-prison pipeline and the life-long collateral consequences of arrest or conviction that young people in Nashville face,” Suvall said. “Students will represent young people in proceedings including school disciplinary hearings, public housing admissions and evictions, and criminal record expungement, all in an effort to help our young clients achieve the stability they need and access the opportunities that they choose to pursue.”
Suvall’s appointment and the launch of the new Youth Opportunity Clinic were announced by Dean Chris Guthrie.
Suvall earned her J.D. cum laude at Harvard Law School. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders in New York, where she represented more than 700 clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies through all phases of their criminal cases. After receiving a fellowship from the Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, Suvall created a pilot program representing young clients in school discipline and other education matters in addition to their criminal cases. Suvall then co-founded The Bronx Defenders’ Adolescent Defense Project, which provides holistic, individualized representation to clients aged 14 to 17 who are charged in adult criminal proceedings.
Suvall was a law clerk for Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She has also served as a staff attorney in the Nashville office of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, a nonprofit that promotes policies and legal protections that support working families. Early in her career, she was an organizer and facilitator of the Summer Theory Institute, a weekly social theory reading group for Harvard Law students working in public interest summer internships in New York City.
“The Youth Opportunity Clinic will address an important gap in legal services for youth between the ages of 16 to 25, and I’m extremely pleased that Cara Suvall is joining our faculty to launch and direct this clinic,” Dean Guthrie said.
Suvall earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania.