Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Massachusetts

Via Boston Bar Journal

By Nancy Kelly

Case Focus

kelly_nancyIn a recent decision, Recinos v. Escobar, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) addressed and resolved a discrepancy between state and federal law as to whether individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 fall within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts courts.  473 Mass. 734 (2016).  The federal immigration statute considers individuals under the age of 21 children, but Massachusetts ordinarily considers individuals over the age of 18 adults.  The discrepancy is important in immigration cases when individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) status before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security (“USCIS”).

The plaintiff Recinos, Liliana Recinos, is a 20-year-old unmarried Salvadoran who attempted to apply to USCIS for SIJ status.  SIJ status is available as an avenue for juveniles who have suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment to apply for permanent resident status before USCIS or the Immigration Court.  As a prerequisite to applying for SIJ status, an applicant must obtain findings from a state court with jurisdiction to make determinations about the custody and care of juveniles that: 1) the applicant is dependent on the juvenile court; 2) reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect or abandonment; and 3) it is not in the applicant’s best interests to return to her country of origin.  Armed with those findings, a juvenile, up to age 21, can file a petition with USCIS for classification as a SIJ.  If that classification is granted, the applicant can apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States.

Recinos sought equitable and declaratory relief from the Middlesex County Probate and Family Court, specifically requesting the findings that would allow her to apply to USCIS for SIJ status.  Twenty years old at the time of filing, Recinos “chronicled a childhood riddled with instances of physical and emotional abuse by her father,” “her mother’s failure to protect her,” and “chronic gang violence in her neighborhood.”  Recinos at 736.  The judge dismissed her complaint for lack of jurisdiction because she was over 18 years of age.  Recinos filed an appeal with the Appeals Court, seeking expedited processing.  The SJC took the appeal on its own motion and expedited the case to preserve Recinos’ opportunity to apply for SIJ status before her 21st birthday.

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Words of wisdom for clinical students

IMG_9891-2854135880-O_small-1200x902At Harvard Law School, more than 800 students will be doing clinical work this academic year.  They will be engaged in factual and legal investigations; interviewing clients and witnesses; drafting legislation, legal memoranda and briefs; and preparing for trial amongst other legal work. In this blog post, a former clinic student, faculty, and staff share advice as students take on these challenges.

Derek Manner ’16
Winner of  CLEA’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award

Almost every lawyer I’ve spoken with says that their favorite part of law school was their clinic. This was certainly true in my case as well. One of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was that I got some pretty good advice about how to be successful before I started. The head of the department who was supervising me suggested that I needed to spend as much time in the office with the other attorneys as possible to get a feel for the work. It also helped that my direct supervising attorney and I quickly developed a strong working relationship built on an open line of communication.  This was particularly helpful when I knew my schedule would be hectic and I needed to front load some of my hours so I could focus exclusively on law school at times. Finally, clinicals are a big time commitment. So make sure that you’ve built chunks of time into your schedule every week to adequately complete your work. This is easier said than done due to last minute activities that pop up, so try to factor in some flex time.

Danial Nagin
Clinical Professor of Law
Faculty Director of Legal Services Center and Veterans Legal Clinic
Vice-Dean for Experiential and Clinical Education

As you are about to embark upon your first semester in a law school clinic, keep in mind a few key ideas. First, you will be undertaking two roles at once:  student and advocate. Having a client and a cause radically alter the dynamic of being a student. Your client’s stresses and burdens are now yours too. Your obligations are not simply self-generated; they are imposed externally by codes of conduct for zealous and ethical law practice. You are now beholden not just to your own standards and Law School standards, but owe separate duties to your clients, to tribunals, and to third parties. These additional layers both complicate and enrich the experience of being a student. Second, the rhythms of clinical work will feel different. Real cases and projects don’t always follow a linear or expected path. So prepare to face—and embrace—some amount of uncertainty in your clinical work. And third, have fun. Even though the stakes can be very high indeed—saving a family from eviction, keeping a woman safe from domestic violence, protecting the human rights of people in faraway places, negotiating a contract, advocating for legal rights in cyberspace, seeking asylum for someone targeted for his political activity in his home country, improving access to healthcare and healthy foods, and on and on—don’t forget to smile periodically as you undertake this critical work. What a joy and privilege it is to advocate for someone who needs your help.

Shaun Goho
Senior Clinical Instructor, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic

So you are about to start your first clinic—what can you expect?  My answer is based on what you would experience in my clinic, the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, but I expect that it would also apply to most other clinics here at HLS.  First, you should not expect to be stuck in a back room researching legal memos to answer simple, clearly-defined questions. On the contrary, you should expect to be dealing with challenging problems to which there is no easy answer.  Second, you will be front and center in each project and will interact frequently with clients and government decisionmakers—legislators, regulators, or judges.  This role can seem frightening for some people, but it ultimately makes the clinical experience far more rewarding. Third, clinics can be hard work.  This does not mean that you are expected to put in extra hours; we make sure that all students can stick to their allotted clinical hours.  The clinic is hard because you don’t just spend your time reading a casebook; instead, you need to engage in original legal and policy analysis and work on your writing and oral presentation skills.  Again, however, you will find that the time spent working on these skills pays huge dividends.  Finally, you are not left entirely to your own devices.  You will have clinical faculty and staff, as well as your fellow students, supporting you each step of the way.  In the end, I think you will find your time in a clinic to be one of the best learning experiences you have in law school.

Laura Johnston
Administrative Director, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with balancing the clinic work with your other law school and life responsibilities, don’t hesitate to reach out for help to your clinic supervisor, faculty, clinic administrator, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, or any of the health and wellness resources available to you at HLS and Harvard.  All of us in the clinical community are invested in making a successful and meaningful experience for students – we are here to help!

Harvard Law School Library: A trove of resources for clinics and student practice organizations

The Harvard Law School library offers a wealth of resources including information guides, tools, and toolkits relevant to students and faculty working in clinics and student practice organizations (SPOs). With the front-line lawyer in mind, the library covers more than 50 subject areas, each one detailing the best way to get started with legal research, including pertinent regulations, case law, and journal articles.

There are also more than 10 Library Liaisons, assigned to the clinics and SPOs, ready to help clinical faculty, staff, and students develop efficient research skills and techniques through training sessions and individual meetings.

More than that, clinics and SPOs have access to a number of online tools, including:

  • LexisNexis, where a dedicated LexisNexis on-campus-representative can offer trainings on topics related to a specific clinic’s subject matter;
  • WestlawNext for quick access to textual forms and clauses, fillable PDF forms, and drafting aids;
  • Bloomberg Law to find a topic and keep current on issues; and
  • Practicing Law Institute Discover Plus for access to more than 50,000 documents, including treatises, course handbooks, answers books, transcripts, and forms.

More recently, the library began offering free and total access to Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s (MCLE) OnlinePass, a searchable database containing all MCLE’s live and archived webcasts, books, forms, and practice-area professional development plans.

OCP encourages you to take some time and explore these helpful resources and connect with your library liaison, individually or as a group, to meet your specific clinic or SPO needs.

For more information please visit the library’s Services for HLS Clinics and SPOs website.

The Purpose of Harvard Law School

Via Harvard Magazine

This past year, Harvard Law School (HLS) experienced an intensely public moral crisis. After the portraits of African-American professors were found defaced in Wasserstein Hall, a racial justice movement calling itself Reclaim Harvard Law School formed in November. Even before, students had been calling on the administration to abandon the school’s shield, modeled after the crest of the slaveholding family that had endowed its first professorship. Reclaim’s advocacy helped that movement gain public legitimacy, and HLS dropped the shield a few months later. Reclaim’s full list of demands animated a new version of an old debate about HLS’s moral duties to its students and to the public. Among them: create an office for diversity and inclusion, reform the curriculum to include the study of race and inequality in the law, and abolish tuition.

In February, Reclaim began an occupation of the student lounge in the Caspersen Student Center. There, they created discussions on racial justice and hosted teach-ins on subjects like critical race theory, a movement in legal thought that attempts to understand the relationship among racism, political power, and the law. The group provoked a kind of moral outrage that hasn’t upset the conscience of HLS in a generation. For much of last year, most of the op-eds inThe Harvard Law Record, the student newspaper, responded to the questions the movement raised.

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A Warm Welcome to Crisanne, Adriel, Caleb, Caitlin, and Lee

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends a warm welcome to Crisanne Hazen (Assistant Director) of the Child Advocacy Program, Adriel Borshansky (Clinical Fellow) of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Program, Caleb Smith (Clinical Fellow) of the Federal Tax Clinic, Caitlin McCormick-Brault (Associate Director and Clinical Instructor) of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, and Lee Miller (Clinical Fellow) of the Food Law and Policy Clinic.

Crisanne Hazen
Assistant Director, Child Advocacy Program (CAP)

Before joining CAP, Crisanne worked as a supervising attorney at Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, a program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, in San Jose, California. Starting her career as an Equal Justice Works fellow in 2006, she practiced multiple areas of law affecting children and youth, including education, guardianship, family law, housing, and in immigration.

Adriel Borshansky
Clinical Fellow, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinic

Adriel is a 2015 graduate of the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) where he earned a Masters in Theological Studies focusing on Judaism and Islam. During his time at HDS, Adriel served as a mediator in Boston courts and later as a board member for the Harvard Mediation Program. While at HDS he was a co-founder of the HDS Racial Justice and Healing Initiative. He also served as a facilitator and senior staff member for Seeds of Peace in both Maine and in the Middle East for four years. Adriel is working on special research and writing projects within the Clinic and with Harvard Law School student practice organizations. Most recently, Adriel spent the 2015-16 year teaching at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, DC.

Caleb Smith
Clinical Fellow, Federal Tax Clinic (LSC)

Caleb graduated cum laude from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While in law school, Caleb worked extensively with low-income taxpayers both at the school’s legal clinic and in the community. He was student director of the low-income taxpayer clinic and one of two students selected to prepare oral arguments for a case the clinic had before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the community, Caleb volunteered regularly at a non-profit preparing tax returns for low-income individuals, and taught free winter courses on tax preparation to other volunteers. For these and other endeavors Caleb was recognized with Community Service Honors from his law school each year he attended.

Caitlin McCormick-Brault
Associate Director and Clinical Instructor, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI)

Prior to joining CHLPI, Caitlin spent nine years in private practice in Washington D.C. with the nation’s top public policy practices at the law firms of Patton Boggs and subsequently Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld. While in private practice, Ms. McCormick-Brault advised clients on legislative and regulatory matters pertaining to health care. She has extensive experience navigating the legislative and regulatory process, drafting legislative language, preparing regulatory comment letters, and developing and implementing strategies for individual clients and coalitions. She has worked directly on matters related to all the major health care legislation in recent years, including the Affordable Care Act, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act, and many others.

Lee Miller
Clinical Fellow, Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC)

Lee comes to FLPC as the inaugural Jane Matilda Bolin fellow and a recipient of the Yale Law Journal Public Interest Fellowship. At FLPC he coordinates a farm bill research consortium comprising six leading law schools with food and agricultural law and policy expertise. Lee received his JD from Yale Law School, where he co-founded the Yale Food Law Society. During law school he pursued experiential opportunities in the field of food and agriculture law across all levels of government. He led an extended project to improve national regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations, helped launch a legal services hub for farmers in Connecticut, and pushed forward pro-agriculture zoning reforms in New Haven.

FLPC, in partnership with the Food Recovery Project, Launches “Leftovers for Livestock: A Legal Guide for Using Excess Food as Animal Feed”

Via Food Law and Policy Clinic

Leftovers for Livestock_coverIn the United States, approximately 63 million tons of food is wasted every year. The natural resources used to produce that food, including water, fertilizer, and land, are also lost as a consequence of this alarming amount of waste. Furthermore, this wasted food typically ends up in landfills where, as it breaks down, it leads to significant emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 56 times the atmospheric warming power of carbon dioxide. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in its Food Recovery Hierarchy, prioritizes recovery opportunities for reducing food waste. According to the hierarchy, wholesome, edible food should be kept in the human food supply if possible. When that is not possible, it should be used as feed for animals. Given the significant environmental impact of food in landfills, many businesses, nonprofit organizations, and policymakers have seen a renewed interest in the use of food scraps as animal feed.

In Leftovers for Livestock: A Legal Guide for Using Excess Food as Animal Feed, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas provide the first-ever catalogue of the different state regulations and requirements for feeding food scraps to animals. Leftovers for Livestock serves as an important resource for businesses with food scraps that could go to animals, livestock farmers, and other interested stakeholders.

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Bob Bordone encourages students to settle for nothing less than the ‘Best. Job. Ever.’

Via HLS News

This past Spring, the HLS 2016 Class Marshals hosted their annual “Last Lecture” Series, presented every year by selected Harvard Law School faculty members who are invited to impart final words of wisdom on the graduating class. The final speaker in this year’s series was Bob Bordone, Thaddeus R. Beal clinical professor of law and director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, who spoke about a how a simple Facebook status update from 2013 prompted him to consider the elements of a successful career today.

In addition to teaching in the Harvard Negotiation Institute and the Harvard Program on Negotiation’s Senior Executive Education seminars, Bordone, who founded the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program in 2006, teaches several courses at Harvard Law School, including the school’s flagship Negotiation Workshop.

Over the course of his career, Bordone has received many awards, including the prestigious Albert Sacks-Paul Freund Teaching Award at Harvard Law School, presented annually to a member of the Harvard Law School faculty for teaching excellence, mentorship of students, and general contributions to the life of the Law School. In 2010, for his innovative work in creating and building the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, he received the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’s Problem Solving in the Law School Curriculum Award.

Other speakers in the 2016 series included Jeannie Suk GersenAnnette Gordon-Reed and Robert Sitkoff .

Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers – Fall 2016


Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers is a non-credit class that offers HLS students the opportunity to learn Spanish language skills in a legal context, emphasizing language most commonly used in civil and criminal legal services practice.

The class will strengthen existing Spanish speaking and comprehension abilities and teach Spanish legal vocabulary to students involved in public interest legal practice. The class will introduce students to general legal Spanish vocabulary (e.g. immigration, human rights, legal aid, etc.). Students will work to develop stronger attorney-client relations by improving communication with Spanish-speaking clients.

Student Requirements

  • Students must have at least advanced proficiency in Spanish.
  • This class is not for credit, but regular attendance is required. The class will meet for 10 weeks, for two hours each week (day & time TBD).
  • Class participation is vital. Language practice and listening to Spanish between classes is encouraged.


  • Enrollment is limited to 15 students.
  • 2L and 3L students currently in a direct services clinic or SPO who have at least advanced proficiency in Spanish will receive priority.
  • Students meeting the criteria will be accepted through a randomized selection process.

To Apply

Email clinical at with the following information by 5 PM on Tuesday, August 30.

  • Name
  • Year (1L, 2L, 3L, LL.M.)
  • If applicable, name of the clinic or SPO you will be working with in the spring and any clinic or SPO you have previously worked with.
  • At least one paragraph, in Spanish, describing your general interests and your focus in law school.
  • Bullet points (also in Spanish) that list past or current experiences you’ve had speaking Spanish or working with Spanish-speaking clients.

Students will be contacted by September 2 with the results of their application. Students who are accepted will receive more information about the class schedule and location. Classes will be held weekly. The first class will meet the week of September 5 and the last class will meet the week of November 7.

Clinical Opportunity: Semester in Washington Clinic

Winter-Spring 2017 or Spring 2017

Applications Due August 19, 2016

The HLS Semester in Washington 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 & 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 developed collaboratively between the students and the Program Director to match to the students’ interests.

Previous placements have included the White House Counsel’s Office, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights, Criminal, and Environmental Divisions, the Department of Defense’s Office of General Counsel, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Senate Judiciary, Armed Services and Energy Committees, and many more.

The Program also has course and writing components that complement the placements.  These components focus on what it means to do great policy making and on developing the skills to make it happen.

To learn more about the program, take a look at the clinic’s blog, where you can find information on the course portion of the program, learn about the students who have participated in the Program and their placements, and much 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 or give him a call at 202-514-4730. He’d love to hear from you!

The initial application deadline for the Clinic is August 19, 2016. 

Apply today through the online application process!

Congratulations to Anna, Sara, and Vivek on their new positions

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends heartfelt congratulations to Anna Crowe (International Human Rights Clinic) on her new position as Clinical Instructor, Sara del Nido Budish (Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinic) on her new position as Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, and to Vivek Krishnamurthy on his new position as Lecturer on Law and Assistant Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic.

Anna Crowe

Anna Crowe

At the Human Rights Program (HRP) and the International Human Rights Clinic, Anna Crowe LL.M ’12 has focused her work on the right to privacy and the right to a legal identity, as well as humanitarian disarmament and transitional justice. She has supervised students on research, fact-finding, and advocacy projects in these areas. She has also been a leader and mentor of the student practice organization, HLS Advocates for Human Rights.

Before she joined HRP, Anna was a Legal Officer at Privacy International, a leading human rights organization that campaigns against unlawful communications surveillance across the globe. She also spent a year in Colombia as a Henigson Human Rights Fellow, working with the International Crisis Group in the field of transitional justice.

Anna is a graduate of Harvard Law School and an alumna of the International Human Rights Clinic.  “Since Anna returned to the Clinic as a fellow in 2014, she has demonstrated a gift for teaching and a commitment to promoting human rights and international humanitarian law,” said Bonnie Docherty, Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law. “She has trained clinical students in the skills of our field, earning their respect and inspiring them to perform at the highest levels.  She has published multiple reports in the areas of disarmament, privacy, and refugees, all of which have had real advocacy impact.  Outside of the Clinic, she has mentored members of HLS Advocates and collaborated with some of our visiting fellows.”

Sara del Nido Budish 

Sara served as Clinical Fellow in the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinic before becoming a  Clinical Instruction and a Lecturer on Law for the Negotiation Workshop. As a Clinical Fellow, she supervised several Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) student groups and collaborated on many special projects such as HNMCP’s new podcast, The Listening Room.

Sara is also an alumna of the Clinic and while she was a student she and her teammate created and delivered a series of customized trainings to a group of healthcare providers with a focus on communication and difficult conversations. Sara was deeply involved in the ADR community throughout law school, serving as Advanced Training Director for the Harvard Mediation Program; research assistant to Professor Robert Bordone; and Online Executive Editor for the Harvard Negotiation Law Review.

Vivek Krishnamurthy

Krishnamurty_Vivek_pressBefore joining the Cyberlaw Clinic as a Clinical Instructor in 2014, Vivek Krishnamurthy clerked for the Hon. Morris J. Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada and worked as an associate in the International and Corporate Social Responsibility Practices at Foley Hoag LLP. He specializes in the international aspects of internet governance and on the human rights challenges associated with offering new internet-based services in different legal environments around the world. Vivek is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Yale Law School, and the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Congratulations Anna, Sara, and Vivek!

Sports Law Clinic alumnus hired by Brewers as Associate Corporate Counsel

Via Brewers Blog

The Milwaukee Brewers named Kellen Kasper to the new position of associate corporate counsel.

KaspeKasper, Kellenr joins the organization from Foley & Lardner LLP, where he has worked as a litigation associate since September 2010.  He previously spent one year as a sports law clinical intern with the Brewers in 2009.

Kasper is a 2007 graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School (cum laude) in 2010.


A Warm Welcome to New Clinicians

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends a warm welcome to Toiya Taylor (Clinical Instructor) and Lisa Fitzgerald (Clinical Fellow) of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Rachel Krol (Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law) of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Program, and Michelle Kweder (Administrative Director) of the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project.

Rachel Krol
Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law

Before joining the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Program, Rachel taught negotiation at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and led interactive negotiation and leadership workshops designed specifically for young women through her company, Connect More Consulting.

Rachel has also served as a teaching team member for executive education seminars offered by the Harvard Negotiation Institute and courses at Penn Law School and Vienna University of Economics and Business. In addition, Rachel has worked on negotiation and conflict resolution projects with nonprofit, educational, and governmental institutions including Seeds of Peace, GenHERation, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at SCH Academy, and the National Institutes of Health. She practiced law with the firms Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP and Ahmad Zaffarese LLC in Philadelphia, in the areas of finance, securities, and civil litigation.

Rachel received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Columbia University. Prior to attending law school, she taught at the International Montessori School of Prague in the Czech Republic. Rachel is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and a Clinical Instructor at HNMCP.

Toiya Taylor
Clinical Instructor

Toiya Taylor began her legal career as a Law Clerk for the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court in 2000, and opened her own law practice in 2002.  She practiced extensively in both the Massachusetts Juvenile and Probate and Family Courts as both an attorney and a Guardian Ad Litem.  She represented parents and/or children in care and protection, guardianship, child support, child custody, DYS revocation and delinquency matters. She also served as an ARC attorney in the Norfolk and Suffolk County Probate and Family Courts where she represented children pro bono in high conflict matters to assist with resolution.

Taylor was also a mentor for new panel members of the Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and a bar advocate with Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, Inc. in both the Dorchester Juvenile and West Roxbury District Courts.

She received her J.D. from Boston College Law School and is the 2014 recipient of the Mary Fitzpatrick Award for Outstanding and Zealous Advocacy to the Poor.

Lisa Fitzgerald
Clinical Fellow

Lisa Fitzgerald joins the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau after graduating from Harvard Law School this year. As a student, she participated in a number of Student Practice Organizations including the Harvard Mediation Program and the Harvard Immigration Project. She is also an alumna of HLAB, having been a student attorney in the clinic for 2 years.

Michelle Kweder
Administrative Director

Michelle joins the Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) with recent experience as a Lecturer at Simmons College where she taught undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences and MBA students at the School of Management. She has a diverse background, having served in former Boston Mayor Menino’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, and as the executive director of a domestic violence agency, a consultant to mission-driven organizations, and a volunteer instructor teaching entrepreneurship at NECC-Concord prison. She recently completed her Ph.D. at UMass Boston in Business Administration – Organizations and Social Change. Michelle is replacing Sarah Morton who will return to PLAP next year.

Alumni in Clinical Teaching

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs offers heartfelt congratulations to Luz Herrera, ’99 and Fatma Marouf, ’02 for their new faculty roles at the legal clinics of Texas A&M University School of Law.

Luz E. Herrera '99

Luz E. Herrera ’99

Luz Herrera is a leader in clinical programs, specializing in  civil justice and wills and trusts. She was a Senior Clinical Fellow at Harvard Law School, supervising students in the Community Enterprise Project (CEP) at the Legal Services Center – a clinic where she also worked as a Harvard Law student. She has been recognized by the Daily Journal as among the 100 Top Attorneys in California and by the Mexican American Bar Association with the Cruz Reynoso Community Service Award.

Fatma Marouf '02

Fatma Marouf ’02

Fatma Marouf, who participated at Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, is a top scholar in immigration law, refugee law and international human rights law. She will create and direct a new Immigration Clinic at the Texas A&M University School of Law. Her scholarship has examined issues such as the rights of mentally incompetent noncitizens, the use of restraints in removal proceedings, and the exclusion of DREAMers from the Affordable Care Act. She was also named a Bellow Scholar for her empirical research on the adjudication of immigration appeals in the federal courts. She has extensive experience representing immigrants at all levels of adjudication and has served as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

At Harvard Law, Tim Kaine was driven by faith

Via Boston Globe

Tim Kaine and Anne Holton, his future wife, at Harvard Law School in 1983.

Tim Kaine and Anne Holton, his future wife, at Harvard Law School in 1983.

Motivated by Catholic teachings, he joined the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, which provides free legal representation to inmates.

“He was a little unusual in the group of law school students who were interested in social justice issues in that he was so clearly committed to his faith,” said John J. Butler, a classmate and friend. “I thought it was admirable — a little different — but admirable.”

But, privately, Kaine was disillusioned with Harvard.

“I remember thinking two things: Why am I rushing? Life is long. . . . And also, I don’t really know what I want to do with my life, and everybody else seems so sure,” he told C-SPAN.

That is when he decided to head to Honduras with the Jesuits. But when he arrived in 1980, the missionaries had little use for his training in contracts and torts.

“They said, ‘OK, Harvard Law School? That has precisely zero relevance to anything we’re doing,’” Kaine said. “‘But didn’t your dad do something in the trades?’ And when I told them what he did, they said, ‘OK, you’re going to run our vocational school.’ ”

After nine months teaching Hondurans carpentry and welding, Kaine returned to Harvard, where a classmate named Anne Holton, the daughter of a former Virginia governor, asked him to rejoin the Prison Legal Assistance Project.

“She claims she was not only trying to convince me to come back, but pretty quickly was trying to convince me to pay attention to her,” Kaine said in the C-SPAN interview.

During a study group, she brought him homemade chocolate-chip cookies.

“Her side of the story is, from the day of those chocolate-chip cookies, I was a goner,” Kaine said. “I don’t remember the chocolate-chip cookies, but I remember her very well.”

The two became a nearly inseparable pair on campus.

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Food Law clinic sponsors conference focused on food waste, consumer education

Via HLS News

Reduce-and-Recover-Conference-Book-Cover-2016“$1.3 billion per year is spent on sending food to landfills.”

“Food waste makes up 21% of landfill waste in the United States”

“As much as 40 percent of food produced in America gets thrown out.”

“This month you’ll toss 24 pounds of food in the trash.”

Food recovery entrepreneurs, farmers, business persons, academics, government officials and many others converged at Harvard Law School for two days of learning, strategizing, and networking to address the growing issue of food waste.

The conference, “Reduce and Recover: Save Food for People,” held June 28 and 29, was sponsored by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), with support from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts.

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The David Grossman Memorial Lecture: Eviction, Displacement, and the Fight to Keep Communities Together

Via HLS News

David Grossman

Clinical Professor David A. Grossman ’88

The David Grossman Memorial Lecture, entitled “Eviction, Displacement, and the Fight to Keep Communities Together,” was held at HLS on April 5. Grossman ’88,  who died last July, was a lawyer and teacher dedicated to serving the poor, and he was Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau for close to a decade.

In introductory remarks to a packed room in Austin Hall, Dean Martha Minow reflected on Grossman’s work “strengthening tools and spirit, both necessary for helping people in need, for changing laws and enforcing laws, and changing the politics around those laws.”

“With formidable intellect, constant courage, David brought tremendous humility, humor, friendship, outstanding sunglasses to every encounter, and he elevated allies and opponents alike,” Minow said. “He modeled what it is to engage in the world with respect for every person, even if you disagree with them.”

Minow introduced the lecturer, sociologist Matt Desmond, as “a champion for the goals and the values and the humanity exemplified by David Grossman and advanced by him every day.”

Desmond, a MacArthur “Genius” grant winner who published the book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” in March, is John L. Loeb Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project.

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Cyberlaw Clinic — Academic Year in Review: 2015-16

Via Cyberlaw Clinic

As often happens during the heat of the New England summer, we on the Cyberlaw Clinic team find ourselves thinking about the past academic year and looking ahead to the next. It is a great time to pause and reflect on the work of our students and the overall state of our program, which has now served the HLS student body and the broader technology law and policy community for more than sixteen years. This post serves as something of an “academic year in review” for the 2015-16 school year and a preview of things to come.

The Clinic settled into an energized and productive routine over the last two years due in large part to the fact that our stellar students have been led by a stellar teaching team — Clinical Professors Chris Bavitz and Susan Crawford, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Dalia Ritvo, Clinical Instructor Vivek Krishnamurthy, Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars, and Project Coordinator Kira Hessekiel. Given all our successes of the past couple of years, it is with mixed emotions that we bid farewell to two integral members of that team — Dalia Ritvo and Andy Sellars — each of whom is moving on from the Clinic this summer. Dalia, our former Assistant Director, is heading home to Colorado, where she will be closer to family. And, Andy is taking the helm of a brand new tech clinical program just across the Charles River at Boston University, where he and his students will serve BU and MIT students. Both Andy and Dalia will maintain ties to the Berkman Klein Center in 2016-17 as Affiliates, and we know that they will continue to be friends, colleagues, and collaborators in years to come.

In the midst of these changes, we are pleased to report that Vivek Krishnamurthy has been promoted to Assistant Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic and will play a vital role in managing the program going forward. Vivek has also been appointed Lecturer on Law for the coming academic year and will co-teach the Cyberlaw Clinic Seminar with Chris Bavitz. Vivek joined the Clinic in fall 2014, and his diligent work in recent years has significantly expanded the Clinic’s focus on issues relating to human rights, digital civil liberties, and corporate social responsibility. We could not be more excited to have Vivek on board in these expanded roles.

And, as if that weren’t enough excitement on the staffing front…  we’re hiring! Multiple positions, in in fact — a Clinical Instructor and one or two Clinical Fellows. Please help spread the word far and wide as we look to expand our team.

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HLS’s Summer Speaker Series, from the Eyes and Ears of a Student Intern

Every summer, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs and the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising organize a series of lunch-time sessions for Harvard Law School interns to learn about the institution and emerging issues in the field of law. This year, students met with various speakers including Eloise Lawrence, Clinical Instructor who teaches in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB); Phil Torrey, Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law who teaches in the Crimmigration Clinic and leads the Harvard Immigration Project; Janson Wu, HLS ’02, Executive Director of the Legal Advocates & Defenders for the GLBTQ Community (GLAD); Chris Pierce, Social Worker teaching students in two clinics and three Student Practice Organizations; as well as Jessica Soban, Dean of Admissions for Harvard Law School. 

The following story is written by our own student intern, Courtney Timmins who is a rising senior at Boston College. 

By Courtney Timmins 
Intern, Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Courtney Timmins

Courtney Timmins

While interning at Harvard Law School’s Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs this summer, I have been most fortunate to listen to and speak with various brilliant affiliates of Harvard Law School in an intimate, casual setting. The discussions have underscored how much work there is to be done in the world and how much progress there is to be made. Rather than allowing this to be daunting, however, these speakers act with relentlessness and passion, inspiring me to draw from the collective energy and look for a path to positive outcomes. Hearing them share their personal experiences has been more poignant and stirring than reading articles or watching news stories about groups of people who are defined in terms of their gender, race, age, sexuality, socioeconomic background, or countless other perfunctory modifiers. The speakers I’ve listened to care about the individual human beings and they serve as paragons who work fiercely and tirelessly to protect their fundamental rights.

Chris Pierce, an upbeat social worker (which, before meeting him, I would have thought to be an oxymoron) talked about how he maintains a positive outlook on life amid the daily struggles he hears from his clients. Janson Wu, in an informal Q & A session, shared various accomplishments and disappointments he’s experienced in his work at GLAD. He shared with us what one person can do to fight discrimination and improve equal rights policies in the world.  Phil Torrey explained how he became involved with “crimmigration,” or criminalization and immigration, and how the two fields have become imprudently coupled over recent years.  He shared his thoughts about teaching at HLS, working with the Harvard Immigration Project, and his work at the intersection of immigration and criminal law.  Eloise Lawrence of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau shared the same fiery passion as other lecturers, hers stoked by issues of housing law and policy.  Like many of her colleagues, Eloise has observed a problematic system that she now works actively to change.

Jessica Soban, HLS’ Chief Admissions Officer sat back and listened to students’ questions while sharing her expertise and candid opinions on law school, careers, and finding one’s role in the larger world.  One might expect to feel intimidated after a talk with an admissions officer from one of the top law schools in the country.  Instead, Jessica’s friendly, approachable nature and positive attitude left me feeling encouraged and driven. Her talk served as tacit reassurance that I should not and will not stop to achieve the education, career, and purpose as a contributing citizen, which I have always wanted and sought to cultivate long before I realized that going to law school was a perfect way to accomplish it.

These speakers demonstrated how much there is to learn in the field of law and how little of it I know right now. This was not discouraging but rather quite motivating, because I’ve realized the possibilities of making a positive difference through the study of law.  Someday, I hope to become as informed, insightful, and devoted as the speakers.  They conveyed how enchanting it is to breach the surface of both oneself and the world, to transcend one’s biased perspective and explore depths that lead to true knowledge and understanding of the greater context in which we live – the history from the past, the grounding of the present, and the hope for the future.

Veterans clinic files rulemaking petition on access for veterans with ‘bad-paper’ discharges

Via HLS News

Underserved_cover_borderMore than 125,000 veterans who have served since 9/11 are denied access to basic services like health care by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a report by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. The report, “Underserved,” presents new findings about how the VA’s regulations exclude hundreds of thousands of veterans with “bad-paper” discharges, contrary to the text and intent of the 1944 G.I. Bill of Rights, which established the current VA eligibility standard. The clinic issued the report on behalf of two veterans advocacy organizations, Swords to Plowshares and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP).

“Congress meant for the VA to provide basic services to nearly all the men and women who served in uniform,” said Dana Montalto, an attorney and Liman Fellow in the Veterans Legal Clinic. “Yet, the VA’s regulations have operated to exclude more and more veterans from getting the care and support that they deserve.”

The Clinic found that 6.5 percent of veterans who have served since 9/11 are excluded from the VA — twice the rate for Vietnam era veterans and nearly four times the rate for World War II era veterans. Many of those veterans have mental or physical injuries because of their service, and many served in combat or other hardship conditions, but nevertheless cannot get health care, disability compensation, or other supportive services because of the VA’s regulations.

“Since the Veterans Legal Clinic opened our doors in 2012, we have heard from scores of veterans who wrongfully or unjustly received less-than-honorable discharges,” said Clinical Professor Dan Nagin, who directs the Veterans Legal Clinic. “There exists a dearth of legal resources for these veterans, and our students have represented many in correcting their discharges and gaining access to the basic services that they deserve.”

Students in the clinic have represented an Iraq War veteran who was less-than-honorably discharged for one-time drug use on the night that he attempted to commit suicide, a post-9/11 veteran who was wrongfully discharged on the basis of an incorrect diagnosis of personality disorder, and a veteran discharged for his sexual orientation under the now-repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

The clinic has been able to continue to expand its work in this area since the arrival of fellow Dana Montalto in 2014. In addition to providing representation to more veterans, she has established the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership, which trains and supports private attorneys to represent veterans in discharge-upgrade petitions. Montalto has also spearheaded systemic reform initiatives, including writing the report “Underserved”.

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Maggie Morgan on Immigrant Healthcare Options

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Maggie Morgan, Albert M. Sacks Clinical & Advocacy Fellow at HIRC, sat down with us to discuss the history and future of healthcare options for documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States. In particular, Maggie explains the protection and limitations under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Read a recent publication by Maggie Morgan on a similar topic.

Shining a light at PLAP

2015-09-26 16.38.24 2

Priscila Santos

By Priscila Santos, 2L
Suffolk University School of Law 

When I applied for an internship at Harvard Law School’s Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), I was a bit nervous. The internship is hands-on and you get the responsibilities of a lawyer with a student attorney title. At PLAP, students take either disciplinary or parole hearing cases and, with the assistance of the supervising attorney, they handle legal cases from beginning to end. Students handling disciplinary hearings visit clients in prison, conduct discovery, perform cross-examinations, argue motions to dismiss or consolidate, and make closing arguments. Students working on parole hearings prepare clients to be examined by the Parole Board. They also prepare written submissions and give opening and closing statements at the hearing. The internship has taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me improve my writing skills and ability to make better oral arguments.

My first case involved a parole revocation hearing. While going through my client’s paperwork, I was surprised to see a dark childhood experience of abuse. Yet, when I met my client for the first time, I found a loving, kind, and intelligent person who unfortunately had turned to drugs to cope with depression, leading to a prison sentence. I very much wanted to make a convincing argument so that this person could have a second chance in life. But this was my first hearing, and my client’s faith in me made me nervous. I prepared for the argument by thoroughly going through the case file and strategizing with my supervising attorney. We showed our client’s plans for treatment for substance abuse and ultimately convinced the Board to grant parole.

The biggest learning curve and the biggest challenge so far, has been speaking, writing, and acting like a lawyer. In most places, an aspiring 2L does not have a chance to work at a hands-on organization like PLAP. I feel humbled to have this opportunity and to work on prisoners’ rights. The trend of neglect, poverty, and drugs is saddening. Every time I meet a prisoner, I think about what went wrong and how can I help to change the status-quo.

I was once told that the meaning of life is to shine a light in dark places, and I feel that is what we do at PLAP. We provide services to people that have been neglected by society and sometimes even family. We forget that these men and women are human beings with real feelings. I believe that understanding their past, showing compassion, and defending their few outstanding rights, might just be the trigger that will help them lead a better life after prison.

American Lawyer releases National and International Firms Pro Bono Rankings

Illustration by Neil Webb for The American Lawyer.

Illustration by Neil Webb for The American Lawyer

Recently, the American Lawyer released the annual National and International Firms Pro Bono Rankings.

The report ranks the nation’s 200 highest-grossing firms by their pro bono score for work performed by U.S.-based lawyers. Half of the score comes from the average number of pro bono hours per lawyer in 2015, while the other half represents the percentage of lawyers who performed more than 20 hours of pro bono work.

Internationally, the report ranks firms with at least 20 non-U.S. lawyers by their scores for pro bono performed by those lawyers. Half of the score comes from the average number of pro bono hours performed by lawyers outside of the U.S. in 2015. The other half comes from the percentage of lawyers outside the U.S. who did more than 20 hours of pro bono work.

We encourage students to review this report and consider it a resource when evaluating law firms and incorporating pro bono work into their legal careers. Students can find additional pro bono resources on the Student Pro Bono Resources section of our website.

Moving On: Deborah Popowski to Be Executive Director of NYU’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice

Via International Human Rights Clinic


Photo credit: Kris Snibbe

Today we have the mixed blessing of announcing that one of our favorite people is moving on:Deborah Popowski, JD ’08, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, is bringing her considerable talents to New York University (NYU) School of Law as Executive Director of its Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

It comes as no surprise to us that she was chosen for this leadership role. For the past seven years, Deborah has proven herself to be a visionary inside the International Human Rights Clinic, carving out a critical niche for U.S.-based work. In her time here, she led clinical projects on issues ranging from protest and assembly rights to the right to heal for U.S. service members and Iraqis. She also created a clinical seminar, “Human Rights Advocacy and the United States,” with the Human Rights Program’s former executive director, Clinical Professor Jim Cavallaro.

In particular, Deborah distinguished herself in recent years as a national leader in the grassroots movement to hold U.S. health professionals accountable for torture in the national security sphere. Her approach was both innovative and in-depth: through professional misconduct complaints, legislative advocacy, media outreach and academic conferences, she worked with clients to highlight the actions of psychologists at Guantánamo.

That work helped build pressure and momentum for the American Psychological Association’shistoric resolution last August to ban psychologists from national security interrogations. It was a moment many thought would never come.

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Phil Torrey Presents to the Immigration and Nationality Law Review

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

This past April, Phil Torrey, HIRC Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law,  traveled to Ohio to speak to the Immigration and Nationality Law Review at Cincinnati Law. In his presentation, Phil discussed how the Immigration and Nationality Act’s definition of conviction seemingly violates the core principles of federalism upon which our nation is built. You can find the speech below:

An article outlining the topics discussed will be published sometime this summer.

Crimmigration Clinic 2016

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Students enrolled in the Crimmigration Clinic at Harvard Law School engaged in cutting-edge research and immersed themselves in legal proceedings at the intersection of criminal and immigration law. The four students enrolled in this Clinic were constantly occupied in this evolving field, partaking in mock arguments of appellate court cases and going to immigration court to observe hearings. The Clinic worked on four main projects this past year, all of which made innovative contributions to the field of Crimmigration.

First, the Crimmigration Clinic worked with criminal defense attorneys in Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute  and throughout the country who represent noncitizens in criminal defense proceedings. Since 2010, these attorneys have a constitutional duty to advise their noncitizen clients about the immigration consequences of criminal charges. Crimmigration is a constantly evolving and complex field of law and often criminal defense attorneys need help deciphering immigration consequences. Thus, the Crimmigration Clinic has helped meet that need by working with criminal defense attorneys to ensure their clients receive proper advice.

The second Crimmigration Clinic project was spurred by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling which determined that non-citizens can not be deported if they are convicted of possessing a drug that is on a state drug schedule but not the federal drug schedule. Last year, clinical students mapped out the federal drug schedule since its inception – the first comprehensive list of this kind. This year, the Massachusetts drug schedules were mapped out by the Clinic. This information can now be applied in retrospect to prevent the deportation of noncitizens when a mismatch between state and federal drug schedules is evident.

The third project entailed conducting a survey of federal cases that interpreted the “particularly serious crime” bar to asylum and withholding of removal in the United States. This survey divided offenses by different categories (property, drug, violence, etc.) and will hopefully provide a more consistent framework for Crimmigration rulings in the future.

The Crimmigration Clinic also works with vulnerable populations in immigration detention facilities to ensure they receive appropriate protections. For example, a recent study found that at any given time there are 75 transgender women in immigration detention facilities, and many of them will experience some form of sexual assault. This year, Clinical students drafted a memorandum outlining the myriad of claims an individual could potentially bring against the federal government to seek recourse for abusive practices at a detention facility.

Crimmigration Clinical students have the unique ability to contribute to an emerging field while helping individuals who find themselves subject to both criminal law and immigration law. By working with local and national practitioners and nonprofit organizations, students make a lasting and crucial impact in this field.

Statement On The End Of The In Re South African Apartheid Litigation

Via International Human Rights Clinic

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a major corporate accountability case,Ntsebeza, et al., v. Ford Motor Co., et al., that represented the last opportunity for South Africans to achieve justice in U.S. courts for apartheid-era crimes. The U.S. corporations – Ford and IBM – were alleged to have purposefully facilitated violations of international law by enabling the denationalization and violent suppression, including extrajudicial killings, of black South Africans living under the apartheid regime. What began fourteen years ago as litigation against dozens of multinational corporations has effectively ended without ever even entering discovery.

We are deeply disappointed for our clients and the communities who suffered as a direct result of corporate complicity in violence and oppression. We are also extremely concerned about the reluctance of U.S. courts to take on powerful corporate actors that have involved themselves in human rights abuses abroad.

The U.S.-based legal team for the Ntsebeza plaintiffs was led by Paul Hoffman of Schonbrun, Seplow, Harris & Hoffman, LLP and includes Judith Brown Chomsky of the Law Offices of Judith Brown Chomsky, and Diane Sammons and Jay Rice of Nagel Rice LLP as well as Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein from the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. The South African-based legal team for the Ntsebeza plaintiffs was led by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza and includes attorneys John Ngcebetsha, Gugulethu Madlanga, and Medi Mokuena, and Advocate Michael Osborne. The Ntsebeza case was part of broader litigation known as the In re South African Apartheid Litigation, which included the companion case, Balintulo, et al., v. Ford Motor Co., et al. (formerly known as the Khulumani case).

Q & A with Veronika Polakova ’16

Veronika Polakova '16

Veronika Polakova ’16

This summer, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) will be publishing profiles of HLS alumni who participated in clinics and student practice organizations. This is the second in the series. 

OCP: What can you tell us about where you grew up and what interested you the most in coming to Harvard Law?

VP: I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, but my family moved to the DC area when I was 15. In college, I studied economics at the University of Virginia and then worked for two years doing tax policy research at a public policy think tank in DC. Law school had long been at the back of my mind, but my tax policy work after college really cemented my decision to come to HLS and to focus on tax law.

OCP: What stands out from your time at HLS? What were the journals, clinics or related student practice organizations you participated in?

VP: My time at HLS was full of highlights, but to give some examples, I loved my J-term classes. As a 2L I took the Negotiation Workshop and as a 3L I cross-registered for Persuasion at HKS. In both classes, I was completely immersed in one topic for a short period of time and had many opportunities to practice the new skills I was learning, which I found really rewarding.

And yes, I was involved with all three! I was an editor of the Harvard Business Law Review as a 1L and became the Executive Operations Chair in my 2L year, a role that focused on event planning and operations, which was a refreshing change of pace to sub-citing. As a 2L, I participated in the Transactional Law Clinics and in the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Program as a 3L. And lastly, I worked with Harvard TaxHelp throughout law school.

OCP: What was your experience in the clinics/SPOs? Are there any memorable moments that stand out the most?

VP: My experience in my two clinics and in my SPO was very different. In the Transactional Law Clinics, I was the point of contact for four clients over the course of the semester, who needed help with small business and nonprofit formation questions, so I got to know them well and had a chance to think about their problems in depth. In the Harvard Mediation Program, I regularly mediated or observed mediations in small claims court with new parties bringing new cases every week. And in TaxHelp, I helped students and low-income members of the community file their state and federal taxes every spring. But the one unifying feature of all three experiences was how rewarding it felt to help real people with their real-life problems—whether by filling out their 1040, drafting a mediated settlement agreement, or incorporating their new business.

OCP: What new skills and/or knowledge did you gain from these experiences?

VP: I definitely feel like I learned a lot! Mediation gave me a toolkit for approaching disputes—questions to ask and things to consider when trying to resolve a conflict. In the Transactional Law Clinics, I put into practice the theory I learned in my Corporations class—drafting a certificate of incorporation or issuing stock certificates. And thanks to TaxHelp, I definitely better appreciate the complexity of the tax code and feel more confident doing my own taxes.

OCP: What advice would you give to students who will be starting clinical work in the fall or considering a clinic in the future?

VP: I think clinics can be somewhat daunting since they are so different from the 1L required classes. But for me they were definitely some of the most rewarding experiences at HLS because they allowed me to work on real issues, however small. So for those considering clinics, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and give them a try. HLS has so many different clinics that you can definitely find a good fit.

For those starting clinics in the fall, don’t be discouraged when you’re not sure what to do next and the right answer is not in a casebook. Those moments can be frustrating, but they pass, and the ability to ultimately find and present a solution to your clients’ problems makes them worth it.

Limitations on the undocumented

Via HLS News

Supreme-Court_istock (hi res)

A deadlocked Supreme Court dealt a major blow to President Obama’s executive actions to grant relief from deportation to nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The 4-4 tie in U.S. v. Texas, a challenge by that state and 25 others against Obama’s executive actions, leaves in place an injunction by a lower court that blocked the government from implementing two programs that would protect both children and their parents from deportation.

“I’m disappointed,” said Deborah Anker, clinical professor of law and director of theHarvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Harvard Law School. “What this means is that it puts hundreds of thousands of people at risk of deportation, including parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents.”

What it means legally is that after the court’s one-sentence decision, which mentioned “an equally divided court,” it is up to the presiding judge in Brownsville, Texas, to decide whether or not to go forward with a trial.

“The decision on the merits of the case are still going to be litigated,” she said. “The decision by the Supreme Court is not an affirmation of either position.”

Phil Torrey, lecturer on law with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and the supervising attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project, hopes the ruling will help galvanize the movement for immigration reform.

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Q & A with Aaron Bray ’16

Aaron Bray '16

Aaron Bray ’16

This summer, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) will be publishing profiles of HLS alumni who participated in clinics and student practice organizations. This is the first in the series. 

OCP: What interested you the most in coming to Harvard Law?

AB: I was born and raised in Dorchester, one of Boston’s grittiest neighborhoods. Even though Harvard Square is only a couple of train stops away, when you’re surrounded by poverty and violence, a place like Harvard seems like a completely different world. One of the reasons I decided to go to Harvard Law was because I wanted to join the Harvard Defenders and have the opportunity to represent members of my community starting in the fall of my first semester.

OCP: What stands out from your time at HLS?

AB: Some of my fondest memories of my time at HLS are the opportunities I had to represent Boston residents in criminal matters as a member of both the Harvard Defenders and the Criminal Justice Institute. Being able to walk into Dorchester and Roxbury District Court not as a defendant but as an advocate for my people was a truly humbling experience.

OCP: What was your experience at CJI and Harvard Defenders? Are there any memorable moments that stand out to you the most?

AB: Being a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Institute, I had the privilege to represent several young people in juvenile court. By far, the most rewarding aspect of representing those young people was helping them get their cases dismissed and giving them a clean slate. Having the ability to get second chances for young people from my neighborhood has probably been one of my proudest achievements. I’m still in touch with most of them and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the future.

OCP: What new skills and/or knowledge did you gain?

I took a course on negotiation at HLS and being a student attorney allowed me to apply some of those skills in my dealings with prosecutors and judges. Although some of the skills I learned in the classroom served me well, often times I had to rely on my street smarts to secure favorable outcomes for my clients. The most valuable skill I developed in my clinical work was learning when to apply my legal training and when to trust my gut instincts.

OCP: What advice would you give to students who will be starting clinical work in the fall or considering a clinic in the future?

AB: Approach your task with curiosity. I learned far more from clinical work than I did in the classroom and I believe that was a product of approaching every case with an open mind.

CHLPI Attends American Diabetes Association 76th Scientific Sessions

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

ADA Scientific Sessions_speakers

(l-r) Sarah Downer, CHLPI; Dr. Seth Berkowitz, Massachusetts General Hospital; Kim Prendergast, Feeding America; and Kate Hilliard, Food Bank of Corpus Christi.

On June 13, 2016, CHLPI Clinical Instructor Sarah Downer presented to over 100 attendees at the American Diabetes Association’s 76th Scientific Sessions on policy and advocacy tools to address diabetes in low-income populations. In a session titledImproving Diabetes Outcomes in Low-Income Populations: When Food Access is the problem, Sarah joined Massachusetts General Hospital expert in diabetes clinical care Dr. Seth Berkowitz, Feeding America Consulting Project Manager Kim Prendergast, and Nutrition Education Manager of the Food Bank of Corpus Christi Kate Hilliard to discuss the link between diabetes and diet.

Dr. Berkowitz shared the latest research on how food insecurity increases the risk of diabetesand contributes to worse diabetes outcomes. Kim Prendergast described Feeding America’s member food bank partnerships with healthcare providers and the impact of the organization’s innovative diabetes-appropriate food box intervention for individuals with diabetes. Kate Hilliard discussed strategies her food bank uses to reach the underserved populations in Corpus Christi, including individuals who move frequently, do not speak English, and/or do not have health insurance.

Closing the panel, Sarah called on the attendees to be advocates for policy change and champions of using food and nutrition interventions to address diabetes. She outlined  policy priorities including: (1) requiring/incentivizing screening for food insecurity in the clinical setting, (2) developing braided funding streams for healthcare and community-based resource providers to support delivery of enhanced services, (3) increasing research into the impact of different levels of food-based interventions on diabetes, and (4) acting immediately to conduct pilot and demonstration projects within our current public healthcare systems.

Attendees were enthusiastic about pursuing opportunities to expand access to medically-tailored food to their patients, who face numerous health and resource challenges and often must make terrible choices between paying for medication or buying food.

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