NAWL’s 2014 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition

National Association of Women Lawyers®
2014 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition


The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)® is a national voluntary legal professional organizationwhose mission is the advancement of women in the legal profession and women’s rights. Since 1899, NAWL has served as an educational forum and active voice for the concerns of women lawyers in this country and abroad.NAWL continues to support and advance the interests of women in and under the law, and in so doing, supports and advances the social, political, and professional empowerment of women. Through its programs and networks, NAWL provides the tools for women in the profession to advance, prosper and enrich the profession. NAWLhas established the annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law. The rules for the competition are as follows:


Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning women’s rights or the status of women in the law.  The most recent winning paper was “Prosecutorial Indiscretion: District Attorneys’ Misuse of Alabama’s Chemical Endangerment Law to Criminalize Pregnant Women’s Substance Abuse” written by Amy Kokot, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Please view paper at


Essays will be accepted from students enrolled at any law school during the 2013-14 school year. The essays must be the law student author’s own work and must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. Papers written by students for coursework or independent study during the Summer, Fall or Spring semesters are eligible for submission. Notwithstanding the foregoing, students may incorporate professorial feedback as part of a course requirement or supervised writing project.


FORMAT: Essays must be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. All margins must be at least one inch. Entries must not exceed fifteen (15) pages of text, excluding notes, with footnotes placed as endnotes. Citation style should conform to The Bluebook – A Uniform System of Citation. Essays longer than 15 pages of text, excluding notes, or which are not in the required format may not be read.


JUDGING: NAWL designees will judge the competition. Essays will be judged based upon content, exhaustiveness of research, originality, writing style, and timeliness.


QUESTIONS: Questions regarding this competition should be addressed to the chair of the Writing Competition, Professor Jennifer Martin at

SUBMISSION AND DEADLINE: Entries must be received by May 1, 2014. Entries received after the deadline will be considered only at the discretion of NAWL. Entries must provide a cover letter providing the title of your essay, school affiliation, email address, phone number and mailing address. Entries must be submitted in the following format: email an electronic version (in Microsoft Word or PDF format) to


AWARD: The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500. NAWL will

also publish the winning essay in NAWL’Women Lawyers Journal in Fall 2014.

Vote for Gary Bellow Public Service Award Recipients!!

We are thrilled to announce the finalists for the Gary Bellow Public Service Award, and voting is now open! (voting will close at 9:00 pm on March 31st).

Student finalists: Jessica Frisina Lerae Kroon Matt Nickell Jeanne Segil Alumni finalists: Chloe Cockburn ’07 Mercedes Montagnes ’09 David Singleton ’91 Bios for each of the candidates are included below, and don’t forget to vote! (URL:…)


Jessica Frisina Jess is a 3L who is passionate about criminal justice and energized by youth advocacy. Like many, Jess entered law school committed to pursuing a career in public interest, but uncertain about what area of law interested her most. After representing inmates in disciplinary hearings through the Prison Legal Assistance Project, representing clients in criminal and juvenile court through the Criminal Justice Institute, and spending her 2L summer at the juvenile public defender’s office in New Orleans, she is thrilled to say that she has found a home and a career for herself in juvenile justice. After law school, she is eager to return to Detroit to advocate for children at every step along the school-to-prison pipeline. She believes firmly that children belong in school, not jail, and that with the right support, resources, and advocacy, every child can succeed in the classroom. In addition to public interest work, Jess is equally passionate about the public interest community at HLS. As a student fellow for the Law & Social Change Program of Study, Jess focused her energies on strengthening that community by organizing retreats, discussion groups, faculty-student dinner series, and a TEDx-style conference that exclusively featured student voices. She is deeply grateful to everyone, both inside and outside the public interest community, who has challenged, supported, and grounded her these last three years. She knows that she will be a better advocate going forward because of all of you.

Lerae Kroon Lerae is dedicated to providing civil legal services to low-income clients. She is a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau where she provides full representation to indigent clients in housing, family, and wage & hour cases. She also co-leads HLAB’s Pro Se Divorce Clinic which assists low-income individuals without lawyers in filing for and obtaining divorces, and participates in the Attorney for the Day program serving unrepresented litigants at the Boston Housing Court. Lerae is also a member of the Tenant Advocacy Project, where she advocates on behalf of tenants in disputes with public housing authorities and represents them at grievance hearings. In her summers, she has worked with a variety of legal services providers on immigration, foreclosure eviction defense, government benefits, and child welfare issues, and plans to continue to provide direct legal services to vulnerable populations post-graduation.

Matt Nickell Matt has been involved in public interest work and housing justice issues from the moment he came to law school. Since his first semester, he has spent almost every Saturday morning with Project No One Leaves canvassing foreclosed homes to inform residents of their rights; currently he is PNOL’s Co-President and involved in planning the nation’s largest foreclosure response conference. Matt also served as an advocate for the Tenant Advocacy Project, for which he was an intake director his second year. As a member of the housing practice of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Matt has been very invested in the organization’s foreclosure task force, representing tenants and former homeowners in court almost every week. On Tuesday evenings he can be found at meetings organized by City Life-Vida Urbana — a community organization dedicated to fighting foreclosure and displacement — where he provides legal advice and coordinates legal tactics with City Life’s organizing strategy. Before coming to HLS, Matt did housing advocacy and public interest work as a volunteer for the Suitcase Clinic, a health and social service provider for homeless families and individuals in Northern California.

Jeanne Segil Jeanne has devoted herself to the pursuit of social justice. Prior to law school, she taught at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, the institution where Nelson Mandela once attended school, which exposed her to the impact of reconciliation and restorative justice. At HLS, Jeanne returned to South Africa through the International Human Rights Clinic to partner with the Equal Education Law Center in their campaign for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure. Jeanne serves as an Executive Director of the Prison Legal Assistance Project where she mentors and supervises students as they represent clients in prison. She also organized panel events on wrongful convictions and solitary confinement and has represented clients in two parole hearings and a disciplinary hearing. In addition, Jeanne represents indigent individuals involved in the Massachusetts court system through the Criminal Justice Institute. Outside of law school, Jeanne interned at the Equal Justice Initiative, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Community Conferencing Center. She is thrilled to return to the Equal Justice Initiative next year through their Legal Fellowship.

ALUMNI FINALISTS: Chloe Cockburn, ’07 Civil rights lawyer and policy strategist Chloe Cockburn serves as an Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the National ACLU, where she devotes her energy to the Fair Justice Smart Justice Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. A passionate advocate and organizer, Chloe collaborates with policy leaders at ACLU affiliates around the country to pass legislation reforming extreme sentencing laws, implementing sensible drug policies focused on health rather than criminalization, and reducing the tide of low-level offenses pouring into the criminal justice system. Her work is grounded in the principle of racial justice and a conviction that in order to foster safe and healthy communities, we must end our addiction to incarceration as the answer to all our social problems. Prior to joining the policy department at the ACLU, Chloe served as a fellow at the Vera Institute, as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles Sifton in the EDNY, as a fellow at the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project, and at the civil rights law firm of Neufeld, Scheck and Brustin. Chloe is a co-author of the recent white paper “Healthcare not Handcuffs: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform,” available at:….

Mercedes Montagnes, ’09 Mercedes Montagnes has been working towards criminal justice reform in Louisiana since she first attended Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Mercedes worked to bring students to hurricane-torn New Orleans twice to help rebuild the public interest legal infrastructure and had an opportunity to work with the public defender’s office. Since this formative experience, Mercedes has been focused on some of the most troubling aspects of criminal justice, including horrible prison conditions, extreme sentencing, and the lack constitutional criminal representation. Most recently, through the newly formed nonprofit The Promise of Justice Initiative, Mercedes has successfully challenged the extreme heat conditions on death row at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola and Louisiana’s lethal injection protocol for carrying out executions. In her short career, she has worked to bring together many of the vibrant public interest groups around New Orleans to partner on systemic reform.

David Singleton, ’91 Representing pariahs and outcasts is what David Singleton was born to do. After graduating law school in 1991, David received a Skadden Fellowship to provide free legal services to homeless people in NYC. He then worked as a public defender for seven years, in Harlem and then in Washington, D.C. Now as the Executive Director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, David represents prisoners, to make sure they are treated fairly and humanely while incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated people, to help them overcome the barriers they face in becoming productive, law-abiding members of the community. In addition to his work with OJPC, David teaches at Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law, where he strives to convey to clinical students the importance of not judging people forever by the worst thing they have done.

John M. Olin Fellowships in Law and Economics/Terence M. Considine Fellowships in Law and Social Sciences

Students wishing to apply for a John M. Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics or a Terence M. Considine Fellowship in Law and Social Sciences may obtain information and application instructions on the Olin Center’s website at…. Fellowships, which normally are for a one-year period, involve a stipend of $3,000. 2L and 3L JD students and SJD Harvard Law School students are eligible for the fellowships, as well as PhD students at Harvard University who have a strong and developed interest in economic analysis of law. Applications should be submitted to Irina Goldina, Program Administrator ( igoldina at, by June 15, 2014.

Summer Research Assistant

Professor Goldsmith is looking for a summer research assistant to help him with a project on Jimmy Hoffa. The work will involve historical and legal work on Hoffa, the Teamsters, the labor movement, and organized crime. Much of the work need not be done in Cambridge. If you are interested, please send a resume, transcript, and brief statement of interest to Jan Qashat,  qashat at, by April 1.

Semester in Washington Clinic – Apply Now!

Interested in government? Civil rights? Environmental justice? National security? Check out the HLS Semester in Washington Clinic! This clinical program is an extraordinary opportunity to work at the intersection of government, policy, and practice while pursuing your particular interests. Clinic participants spend the spring semester (or winter and spring semesters) living in Washington and working as legal interns in federal offices in the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial Branches. The placements, in offices where lawyers provide legal advice and assistance on policy, legislative, or regulatory matters, are matched to the students’ interests. For example, students interested in topics similar to you have found placements at the Department of Justice, State Department, and Defense Intelligence Agency (to name just a few). To learn more about the program, take a look at the clinic’s iSite…), where you can find information on the course portion of the program, see the students who have participated in the past and their placements, and more. Finally, if you have any questions or want to discuss how the clinic might help further your goals, you can email the Clinic Director, Jonathan Wroblewski, at  jwroblewski at or give him a call at 202-514-4730. He’d love to hear from you! If you have questions about the logistics of the program (housing, travel, credits, registration, etc.) you can email Maggie Bay in the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs ( mbay at The initial application deadline for the Clinic is August 15, 2014. Apply now!

Clinical Opportunity for Collaborative, Community-Based Transactional Work – Apply Now!

The Community Enterprise Project (“CEP”) of the Transactional Law Clinics offers an opportunity for a group of students to undertake clinical work rooted in community development and transactional law. CEP students will connect with community organizations, identify organizational and community legal needs, and develop comprehensive strategies to address those needs while gaining valuable, real-world transactional law experience. The spring curriculum for CEP students will be two-fold. First, students will work collaboratively on projects undertaken by CEP and community partner organizations to address a particular legal need of the partner organization or its constituents, through written materials, workshops, or other means. Second, CEP students will complete real estate, small business, and/or non-profit cases for direct clients generated either through the Transactional Law Clinics or through the work of the Community Enterprise Project. Please note that CEP students must commit to completing approximately half of their clinical hours each week on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays at the Harvard Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain. To apply, please submit a statement of interest (no more than 200 words), resume, and academic transcript (unofficial or official). In your cover email, please indicate whether you have a preference for taking CEP in Fall or Spring semester. Applications should be addressed to Brian Price and Amanda Kool and submitted via e-mail to  akool at and  clinical at Interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and all applications must be submitted by Thursday, April 3rd. Students will be notified of decisions on Monday, April 7th. If accepted, students will register for 3 or 4 clinical credits through the Transactional Law Clinics and 2 course credits for the associated clinical seminar. Continuing TLC students may take CEP for 2, 3, or 4 credits and do not need to register in the associated clinical seminar.

Harvard African Law Board Elections!

HALA Board Elections As the end of the semester approaches, it’s time for HALA elections for next year’s board! We will be accepting nominations by email until midnight on Tuesday April 1st, and members can self-nominate. We will announce the nominees the following day, and candidates will be able to give candidate statements and members will be able to vote in the following week. All students of Harvard Law School are eligible to apply as HALA does not have a dues paying membership, so definitely get in your application! Below are descriptions for each of the board positions, any questions about the positions or HALA in general can be sent to  hala at President & Vice President: The President and Vice President are jointly responsible for designing the year’s theme and actively implementing the mission statement of the Harvard African Law Association (“HALA”). The latter responsibility has two major components– board management and external relations– with an emphasis on ensuring that HALA is continually offering substantive social and cultural events to its membership, in addition to reaching out to incoming and admitted students and LLMs. Treasurer: The treasurer is responsible for the budget and finances of HALA. The treasurer creates an annual HALA budget and is responsible for approving all expenditures for individual events. The treasurer also works closely with the Dean of Students Office to process payment and reimbursements. Secretary: The secretary is responsible for sending weekly newsletters and other email announcements. The secretary also creates and updates HALA calendar. Panel Events Coordinator: Responsible for identifying and selecting speakers for substantive panel events. The panels coordinator will work closely with President/Vice-President to solicit funding and cosponsors for events. Director of Events: Responsible for taking care of the logistics involved in putting on HALA’s substantive, cultural and social events, including signature HALA events such as the Charity Dinner. This may include making room reservations, ordering food, making photocopies, and greeting guests. Conference Chairs (2): Responsible for coordinating with HALA board and conference chairs from other Harvard schools to plan the Harvard African Development Conference, the largest cross-school african conference that takes place every Spring (weekend after spring break). The chairs help to define conference theme and panel descriptions, invite panelists, and apply for funding. Also responsible for taking care of other logistics for conference. Visit to learn about the 2014 Harvard Development Conference. Social chair: Responsible for organizing HALA social events, such as the fall All-Africa party and AIDS charity dinner. The social chair may also be called upon to assist other board members with room reservations and food orders. Fundraising Chair: Responsible for soliciting sponsors for HALA events, which includes drafting letters to firms, corporate, and individual sponsors, and ensuring that letters are approved by HLS Development Office. The fundraising chair should also maintain relationships with existing perennial sponsors such as BarBri. Webmaster/Historian: Responsible for keeping the HALA website aesthetically pleasing, organized, and up to date with upcoming events and announcements. Also responsible for acquiring and uploading pictures of events. Any questions about the positions or HALA in general can be sent to  hala at We look forward to hearing from you all! Eve Kachaje HALA President