Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

Month: March 2012

Event: HLS Students Discuss Spring Break Trip to Alabama

We hope you’ll join us on Tue, Apr 3 from 12-1pm in WCC 3012 for lunch with the HLS students who traveled to Alabama during spring break. (Read the blog post and watch the video to get an introduction to their work.) The students will discuss what they learned about the state’s new anti-immigration law HB 56, the impact of the law on Alabamans, and the growing movement in the state to seek repeal. Lunch provided.

HLS students studied Alabama's immigration law HB 56 over spring break (image courtesy of Paige Austin)

The Alabama River (image courtesy of David Baake)

Alabama Appleseed, one of the organizations that HLS students worked with on their trip (image courtesy of David Baake)

Know your rights materials from HICA!, another partner on the trip (image courtesy of David Baake)

HLS students met with Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders (image courtesy of David Baake)

The statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama (image courtesy of David Baake)

Student Voices: Collaboration and Community in Alabama

HLS students met with founders and members of Somos Tuskaloosa in Alabama (image courtesy of David Baake)

This dispatch comes from Carol Wang (JD ’13), co-director of Harvard Immigration Project‘s Bond Hearing Project:

This Spring Break, six Harvard Law students traveled to Alabama to study the state’s immigration law. (Watch the video from our trip here.) The Hammond-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or HB 56 for short, makes it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to enter into a “business transaction” with a state or “political subdivision of a state”; invalidates all past, current, and future contracts with undocumented immigrants; authorizes police to stop, ticket, and arrest any person they “reasonably suspect” to be an undocumented immigrant; makes it a crime to “conceal, harbor, or shield” any undocumented immigrant; and creates a civil enforcement action by private citizens to report undocumented immigrants.

It was Friday, our fifth day in Alabama. It was a downcast day with the threat of rain and the weather mirrored my mood. Over the course of the previous four days, Jacqueline Pierluisi (JD ’12), David Baake (JD ’14), and I had met with a wide range of people with expertise in HB 56, including a judge, a district attorney, community organizers, lawyers, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official, and undocumented immigrants.

What we saw and heard was a side of America that was hostile and unfamiliar. Both undocumented and documented immigrants have been targeted by the law. Police officials stop, ticket, and detain drivers they “reasonably” suspect to be an undocumented immigrants, effectively conducting the same kind of racial profiling that is prohibited in other states.

In the weeks immediately following the passage of the act, many families were afraid to leave the house, even to go to the grocery store, because they had heard that purchasing basic food items were “business transactions” that were now crimes. One community organizer told us that 911 operators do not respond to telephone calls made in broken English, with an operator once explaining that HB 56 forbade them from providing emergency care for undocumented immigrants.

On that fifth day, we stepped into a small home in Tuscaloosa, expecting to hear similar stories. We were meeting with the founders and members of Somos Tuskaloosa, an organization formed in the aftermath of HB 56 to inform, mobilize, and serve undocumented immigrants. When we asked Somos Tuskaloosa about HB 56, at first they shared the same sentiment, the feeling of fear – fear of driving, fear they could be stopped at any time, fear of getting sick because not only would they lose their job but they would also be unable to receive medical care. These Tuscaloosa residents had extra reason to feel unsettled. A tornado last April had torn apart their city, and traces of the devastation were still evident almost a year later.

But when we asked them what they were doing about all of this, their voices were animated and their faces were bright. They told us about all the different people with whom they were working. In the tornado’s aftermath, some of them trained and served as part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to build shelters for all those Tuscaloosa citizens who had lost their homes. In HB 56’s wake, Somos Tuskaloosa’s founder Gwen Ferreti also described building relationships with “uncommon allies” such as police and law enforcement officials. Some officials had told them they would not enforce a law they found unjust.

Somos Tuskaloosa and Gwen’s words of collaboration and coordination reinforced what other community organizers had told us. HICA community organizer Victor Spinezzi told us that HB 56 galvanized previously disparate Hispanic interest groups to finally form the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ). Alabama Appleseed attorney Zayne Smith told us how ACIJ was working with multiple audiences to accomplish a repeal of the law: creating a media “blitz” to educate the broader public, organizing faith-based events such as vigils for those directly hurt by the law, launching know-your-rights campaigns to educate and empower community members, as well as bringing a lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional in the courts. And we found another powerful example of collaboration in the previous weekend’s civil rights march in Montgomery, where African American groups, worker organizations, and Latino American coalitions all joined together to condemn HB 56 “for invoking inhumanity reminiscent of Jim Crow laws“.

That day in Tuscaloosa showed us that despite HB 56’s aim to divide the residents of Alabama, meaningful collaborations were taking root. These stories helped lift the week’s grey skies and stories, reminding us that even the worst situations can bring out our country’s best qualities – working together and helping our neighbors.

One Family One Alabama (image courtesy of David Baake)

Student Voices: Anti-Immigration Law in Alabama (Video)

Six months after the harshest anti-immigrant law (HB 56) in the U.S. took effect in Alabama, six Harvard Law School students traveled there for spring break to work with two groups – Alabama Appleseed and HICA – that are advocating for its repeal. Paige Austin (JD ’13) created this video about their work:

Update: New 2012-2013 Clinical Calendar

You can now stay up to date on important clinical deadlines with our 2012-2013 Clinical Calendar.

Access the full calendar whenever you want and add specific events to your personal calendar if you choose. You can also access the calendar via the top navigation on this page.


Events and Deadlines This Week

There are a bunch of clinical events this week in anticipation of clinical registration, which runs from Wed, Mar 28-Mon, Apr 2. As always, don’t hesitate to stop by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs with questions!

Clinical Advising Appointments
WCC 3085
Schedule a half-hour appointment with clinical advisors who can speak with you about the diverse array of HLS clinics and answer your specific questions. More…

Open House: Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program
Mon, Mar 26, 4-5:30pm
Austin 102
The Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program provides HLS students with practical, real-world experience in the fields of negotiation, dispute resolution and conflict management, with a focus on conflict mapping and dispute systems design. Learn more about available opportunities and chat with current clinical students. Sweets and soda provided.

Open House: International Human Rights Clinic & Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic
Mon, Mar 26, 4-6:30pm
HRP/HIRC lounge, WCC 3103 & 3139
Meet clinical instructors and enjoy refreshments while learning about International Human Rights Clinic and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic.

Info Session: Semester in Washington Program
Wed, Mar 28, 12-1pm
Hauser 104
Are you interested in law and government, and want to gain practice experience in these areas while in law school? Students in the Semester in Washington Program spend the spring semester studying and working on policy, legislative, and regulatory matters. Join us to learn more. Lunch provided.

Clinical 101: Tips and tools for getting the most out of your clinical experience
Wed, Mar 28, 5:30-6pm
WCC 2012
Gain insight into what a clinical experience can do for you, what a clinical commitment entails, how to enroll, and what questions to ask clinics during the Clinical Fair. More…

Clinical Fair
Wed, Mar 28, 6-8pm
Milstein East BC, WCC
Speak directly with clinical students, attorneys, and faculty to learn more about the work experience, potential projects, types of client interaction, time commitment, and opportunities that are unique to each clinic. Dinner and snacks will be served. More…

And a few clinical deadlines just for fun:

Opportunity: Litman Summer Fellowship Program with Harvard Defenders
Deadline: ASAP
Details: HLS Admin Updates

Opportunity: Making Rights Real: The Ghana Project
Deadline: Fri, Mar 30
Details: HLS Admin Updates

Opportunity: SEC Boston Office Internship
Deadline: Fri, Mar 30
Details: OCP Blog

Opportunity: Year-Long Slot in Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic
Deadline: Fri, Mar 30
Details: HLS Admin Updates

Snapshot: PLAP Forages for Food Through the Decades

PLAP students have been honing the art of finding free food for decades. (Good Timez, 1984)

Today’s “Snapshot” comes from Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP). PLAP is a student practice organization (SPO) at Harvard Law School dedicated to providing legal services to indigent Massachusetts Prisoners. 130 students are participating in PLAP this year, and PLAP students clocked over 3700 pro bono hours during the 2010-2011 school year.

As the part-time Project Archivist for PLAP, Molly Frazier has reviewed and organized 40 years of PLAP office materials. During the process, PLAP treasures – like humorous writings, artwork, photographs, student correspondence, and other colorful snapshots of history – have seen the light of day for the first time in years. It’s clear that when PLAP students weren’t busy answering phones, preparing for cases, visiting prisons and representing prisoners, they were having a little fun as well!

A lot can change in nearly 30 years. Clothing styles. Music tastes. Tuition costs. But it’s good to know that for PLAP students, some things never change. If these excerpts from the 1984 student-produced PLAP newsletter, Good Timez, are any indication, “free food for the mooching” has long been a PLAP priority. And today’s dedicated PLAPers have carried on the tradition with pride. Much needed nourishment can always be found by trolling the hallowed halls of HLS in between classes and activities, the hunt made all the more rewarding in the new Wasserstein Caspersen Student Center. One thing does appear to have changed since 1984 – the quality of foraged food. Students these days are enjoying much more than just the pilfered donut (a recurring theme in Good Timez).

As PLAP’s Internal Relations Coordinator and HLS Free-Food Aficionado Roozbeh Alavi (JD ’13) explains, the art of finding free food is a strategic combination of planning ahead, doing the research, and being in the right place at the right time. Using the Calendar @ Law and past experiences as a guide, Roozbeh can easily determine which HLS events are likely to offer the best food, with minimal commitment. His best advice to students seeking sustenance during study breaks: “Skip the talk; get the food.” What’s not to like about a free lunch?

More musings on free food from the PLAP archives. Plus an invite to pester Daria in her new home. (Good Timez, 1984)

Roundup: Cyberlaw Clinic Victory for Freedom of Speech

The Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to individuals, small start-ups, non-profit groups, and government entities regarding cutting-edge issues of the Internet, new technology, and intellectual property. They recently served as co-counsel on cases arguing for the right to stream and archive court proceedings.

“In an important victory for freedom of speech, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision today in two related cases, Commonwealth v. Barnes and Commonwealth v. Diorio. The cases concerned WBUR’s OpenCourt project, and the Court’s decision follows a long line of precedent in holding that courts generally may not restrain media organizations or others that attend public court proceedings from reporting on those proceedings. The Cyberlaw Clinic had the privilege to serve as co-counsel to OpenCourt in both cases…”

Continue reading about the cases and their implications on the Cyberlaw Clinic blog.

Opportunity: SEC Boston Office Internship

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission Boston office is seeking one HLS student to work 15–20 hours per week in Fall 2012 and one HLS student to work 15–20 hours per week in Spring 2013. Students will earn 3-4 clinical credits in the fall or spring semesters through the Independent Clinical program, which requires a 15-page paper and weekly progress reports, among other responsibilities. The students who participate in the SEC internship must also complete a security clearance coordinated by the SEC office.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to by 12pm on Fri, Mar 30.

Cover letters should be addressed to Mr. David London and Mr. Louis Randazzo, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 33 Arch Street, 23rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110. In your cover letter, include any relevant background and whether you can work 15 or 20 hours, the semester in which you would like to work, and if you have taken or plan to take Securities Regulation.

Please note that the SEC prefers students who can work 20 hours per week, but will consider students who can work 15+ hours per week. Applicants for Fall 2012 must have taken the Securities Regulation course by Spring 2012; applicants for Spring 2013 must have taken or plan to take the Securities Regulation course in Winter 2013 or Spring 2013. The SEC will make selections among applicants. Please do not send applications directly to the SEC, but to

Please direct any questions to Liz Solar at

Student Voices: Planting the Seeds of Peace

Israeli and Palestinian teenagers gathered in Jerusalem at the close of the HNMCP training program

Today’s dispatch comes from Krystyna Wamboldt (JD ’12), Rachel Krol (JD ’12), and Professor Robert Bordone (JD ’97), who represented Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) on a recent trip to Jerusalem.

Tucked away in an idyllic corner of Maine is a summer camp that features many traditional American activities: singing around bonfires, flag raising ceremonies, Color Wars, and chilly dips in the lake. Less ordinary, however, are the daily dialogue sessions, where Israeli and Palestinian campers heatedly discuss their identities, homelands, politics, and pain.

Meet Seeds of Peace, the organization that runs this one-of-a-kind camp – and our client organization for a very unique clinical project. We – Krystyna Wamboldt (JD ’12), Rachel Krol (JD ’12), and Professor Robert Bordone (JD ’97) – partnered with Seeds of Peace to lead a skills-building workshop for the organization’s older youth, focused on interests-based, problem-solving negotiation.

As part of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP), our three-person team traveled to Jerusalem in January 2012 to teach negotiation and mediation skills to a group of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, all former campers at Seeds of Peace. For three days, the “Seeds” did a range of activities, including several role-plays and active listening exercises. On the final day of the program, the students put their new skills to use in a group negotiation simulation created by Workable Peace about the conflict in Northern Ireland.

“It was incredible to look around the room and see both Palestinians and Israelis working together during the Ireland simulation,” said Rachel. “It was a challenging negotiation, yet they were communicating effectively, asking questions, listening to each other, and asserting their own interests while working towards a common goal. It was a wonderful sight!”

We emphasized how important it is for negotiators to seek to understand the other’s viewpoint. A breakthrough moment occurred when one Jewish Israeli student bravely volunteered to play the role of a Palestinian opponent of Jewish settlements in front of the class; when she spoke, there was an audible gasp from the other students. The Israeli student turned to her peers and said, “This is much harder than it looks.” “It struck me then how rare it was for these teens to articulate the other side’s perspective, at least in public,” Krystyna reflected. “There are still so many barriers to communication.”

For the majority of the Palestinian and Israeli participants at Seeds of Peace, the camp in Maine is the first time that they have ever met someone from “the other side.” Over the course of the summer, their initial fear and mistrust of the “enemy” gives way to friendship and understanding, as the campers get beyond the stereotypes and grow to know one another as friends.

Yet once they return from camp, the Seeds struggle to reconcile these friendships with the realities of life in a conflict region. Back in their home communities, there are many barriers – both literal and figurative – that prevent them from staying connected. Their classmates and neighbors may not understand how they could be friends with “terrorists” or “murderers.” Even getting permits to visit each other at home is often impossible.

As part of its strategic mission, Seeds of Peace is working to expand the opportunities for these youth to keep interacting and dialoguing with each other in their home region once they return from camp. Partnering with our HNMCP team was part of its initiative to build leadership skills in this next generation of peacemakers

“For HNMCP’s part,” says Professor Bordone, “This project presented a rare opportunity to give our students a chance to see the challenges and the opportunities for people-to-people diplomacy. While I don’t harbor any illusions that our work in January will magically ‘solve’ this intractable conflict, I do believe that efforts to create connections, relationships, and genuine dialogue between people with profound differences can influence and impact decisions made by their governments down the road. Facilitating connections across these divides can be one important part of a larger series of preac-building activities, including official diplomatic talks and efforts at economic and security cooperation. It was a tremendous honor to begin this relationship with Seeds of Peace and we hope it will be the start of more joint work between our respective organizations.”

One participant said that the program taught him “how to overcome obstacles in the negotiation process and how to be a good mediator between people, which as Seeds is something we often experience.” Our hope is that the Seeds continue to practice the negotiation and mediation skills that they learned during the HNMCP workshop to work together on resolving their own conflict.

“We learned a lot of new things,” said another Seed. “I think we should be proud of ourselves.”

Recent “Student Voices”
Camping Out for Kiobel
From Farm to School in Mississippi
A Thursday at Pinal County Jail
Update from Florence…, Arizona
Dispatch from Tel Aviv

Participants in the HNMCP/Seeds of Peace workshop participating in a final exercise of the workshop

Krystyna Wamboldt (JD ’12), Rachel Krol (JD ’12), and Professor Bob Bordone (JD ’97) in Jerusalem

Snapshot: Semester in Washington Students Visit the White House

The Semester in Washington program at the entrance to the West Wing. Pictured from left: Laura-Kate Denny (JD ’12), Sam Simon (JD ’12), Jake Laperruque (JD ’13), Vanessa Strobbe (JD ’12), Kate Epstein (JD ’13), Prem Trivedi (JD ’12), Carol Wang (JD ’13), and Jonathan Wroblewski (Program Director)

This past February, Semester in Washington students visited the White House and met with a variety of White House officials, including HLS grads Christopher Lu (Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary), Danielle Gray (Deputy Director, National Economic Council), Samantha Powers (Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights), and Michael Bahar (Deputy Legal Advisor, National Security Staff).

For those of you unfamiliar with Semester in Washington, the program gives students the opportunity to spend the entire spring semester in Washington, D.C. working as legal interns in federal offices while taking an evening course on government lawyering.

To learn more about the Semester in Washington program and the multitude of clinical opportunities available at Harvard Law School, stop by the Clinical Forum and Fair on March 28, 6-8pm, in Milstein East ABC. See you there!

Clinical Events: Mar 5-9

There’s always an event (or two or three) to attend at HLS. A few clinical events are highlighted below but for a complete listing of HLS events, please visit the HLS calendar.

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau 1L Info Session

Tue, Mar 6, 6–7:30pm
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, 23 Everett Street

Stop by the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) – the nation’s oldest student legal services organization – to learn more about the application process, the types of cases handled by HLAB, and the HLAB community.

Contesting Childhood: When Law and Politics Go to School
Thu, Mar 8, 12–1pm

WCC 4133

Harvard Law School SJD Candidate Lisa Kelly discusses mandatory schooling in North America and how the seeds of “family privacy” were sewn – and retroactively invented – in response to the shifting relationship between family and state.

Hosted by the Child Advocacy Program.

HLS Advocates for Education Conference – Closing the School to Prison Pipeline: Redirecting our Future
Thu, Mar 8, 9am–6pm

WCC, Milstein East ABC

The HLS Advocates for Education Conference will take a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the issues that contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline while discussing potential solutions. Professor James Forman Jr. of Yale Law School will be the keynote speaker.

Co-sponsors include Child and Youth Advocates (CYA), Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), Harvard Defenders, La Alianza, Black Law Students Associations (BLSA), Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CRCL), Women’s Law Association (WLA), and Harvard Mississippi Delta Project.

Roundup: Speaking of the International Human Rights Clinic…

The International Human Rights Clinic‘s Susan Farbstein and Tyler Giannini write about the principals of corporate liability in The New York Times: “In exchange for rights, corporations accept certain responsibilities, including liability for harms committed by their agents.”

Student Voices: Camping Out for Kiobel

The clinical team on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. From left: Tyler Giannini (Human Rights Program Clinical Director), Yonina Alexander (JD ’12), Poppy Alexander (JD ’12), Russell Kornblith (JD ’12), Daniel Saver (JD ’12), and Susan Farbstein (Human Rights Program Clinical Associate Director).

This Student Voices dispatch by Yonina Alexander and Daniel Saver originally appeared on the International Human Rights Clinic blog. Yonina and Daniel are in their third year at Harvard Law School and have been members of the International Human Rights Clinic for the past four semesters.

Rumor had it that if we wanted much-coveted tickets to the oral argument in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., we would have to arrive at the U.S. Supreme Court very, very early. The gallery of the Court is fairly small, and there are only a limited number of seats available each day to the general public. After a few phone calls and some internet research, we decided 4am would do the trick.

Then, at 10pm the night before the argument, we heard from a friend that 20 people were already lined up outside the Court. After putting in countless hours working on the Legal Historians amicus curiae brief for the case this past fall, we were bound and determined to be inside the Court when the justices heard the case. Totally unprepared to spend the night outside, we decided to head over anyway.

Armed with a bag of fruit, little to protect us from the elements, but plenty of good energy to make up for it, we arrived at the steps of the Court at 11:30pm. A couple dozen other law students, all of whom had contributed to the case in some capacity, greeted the four of us as we took our places in line—numbers 28 to 32. As the night wore on, others joined the line, and we huddled in the cold, sharing food, war stories, and predictions of what the morning would bring.

There was a sense of camaraderie in the group. We had never met most of these students, but we all shared a commitment to the issue at hand—corporate accountability for human rights violations. Sometime before dawn, a police officer referred to the gathering as “kind of like a rock concert—but for nerdy law students.”

At 7:30am, the big moment arrived. Police officers handed us gold-colored tickets with numbers, and told us the first 40 would be admitted. We’d done it. We’d made it in.

We entered through the side door, exchanged our sweatshirts for suits in the bathrooms and, minutes before the oral argument began, walked into the grand chambers of the Court’s gallery.

It struck us at that moment—and often in the hours before—that we were among the lucky. As students at Harvard Law School, we had the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C. and wait all night to witness this historic argument. For many others who deeply cared about the case, that was not an option.

Inside the Courtroom, we sat flanked by stone-colored colonnades and heavy, red curtains, listening to the argument unfold. It was tense for all of us, trying to divine where the justices stood on the issues. Then, in an exchange with the Defendants’ counsel, Justice Stephen Breyer read out a line from our brief. To hear those words echo through the chambers of the United States Supreme Court was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We feel so fortunate to have worked with the rest of the team from the International Human Rights Clinic on a case with this much at stake.

Recent “Student Voices”
From Farm to School in Mississippi
A Thursday at Pinal County Jail
Update from Florence…, Arizona
Dispatch from Tel Aviv