Pro-Bono Death Penalty Work

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has affirmed a capital murder conviction and the jury’s death sentence, and will take up proportionality review next year. If that appeal is unsuccessful, there will be a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. That task creates a volunteer opportunity for 2-3 students. The students will work directly and closely with appellate counsel, who is based in Concord, N.H., but the students should not have to travel. They will put themselves in the position of a Supreme Court clerk reviewing a cert petition in this case, and in the position of an advocate trying to convince the Court to accept the case. The students will find and review cert petitions in capital cases as well as in cases raising similar legal issues to try to gain insight into why the Court granted or denied cert, and therefore, how to persuade the Court to favorably review the petition. In addition, the students will assist counsel in researching and evaluating the federal issues raised by the appeal and selecting the issues most appropriate for cert. Finally, if time permits, the students will assist counsel in drafting the petition. Putting drafting aside, and excluding the time it will take to review the pertinent parts of the appellate briefs and opinion, the screening, research and evaluation functions would likely involve 40-50 hours of work. Several Harvard Law students have provided assistance in this case by assisting counsel in compiling comparison cases for proportionality review. Interested students should send a short paragraph of interest to Professor Carol Steiker ( steiker at with the subject line “Preparation of Petition for a Writ of Cert in NH” by February 14. It is likely that multiple students will be selected for this opportunity

Chayes Applicants: Email or Call to Schedule Interview by this Friday, January 31

A reminder to HLS students planning to apply for a 2014 Chayes International Public Service Fellowship: the deadline for submitting your application is Saturday, February 1, but you must also contact International Legal Studies by Friday, January 31 to schedule a 15-minute interview with a Chayes Program representative. Interview times are available from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, Thursday, February 6, and Friday, February 7. Applicants should call International Legal Studies at (617) 384-5284 or send an email to ils at, no later than 5 p.m. on January 31, indicating times when you are available. You will receive a confirmation e-mail indicating the time and place for your interview and the name of your interviewer. This interview is an opportunity for you to further explain what you are hoping to do this summer and why; your background, skills and interests; and where things stand in your efforts to secure a placement. There is no dress code for the interview — you can wear whatever you would wear to class. Detailed information about the Chayes Program and the application timeline and process is available at…