Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

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Class of 2013 Performs 342,069 Hours of Free Legal Service

The class of 2013 demonstrated their commitment to public service by providing over 342,069 hours of free legal service while at HLS. Here are a few additional highlights from their time at HLS:

  • Lena Silver ’13, winner of the Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award, performed 2,270 hours of free legal service
  • Jordi Torres ’13, Genevieve Bonadies ’13, and Bradley Jenkins ’13 each performed over 2,000 hours of work during their time at HLS
  • 112 students performed more than 1,000 hours of pro-bono service and ALL students who performed more than 1,000 hours of pro bono service also completed at least one clinic
  • Students worked an average of 596 hours at 545 different organizations in 41 countries and 42 states
  • The total number of pro bono hours that students have worked since the pro bono requirement was created in 2005 is 2,681,695 hours

To learn more about pro bono opportunities at HLS, please visit the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs website.

Dan Nagin Shares His Ideas for Improving Benefits for Veterans

L-R: Jeannie Suk, Glenn Cohen, James Greiner, and Daniel Nagin (Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer)

In May, Dan Nagin, Clinical Professor and Director of the Community Lawyering Clinics at WilmerHale Legal Services Center, shared his vision for addressing “Bureaucratic Knots: Veterans’ Benefits for the 21st Century” as part of “HLS Thinks Big”, an annual talk where HLS professors share their innovative ideas. During his segment, which you can view on the HLS YouTube channel, Professor Nagin discusses the enormous backlog in processing Veterans Benefit Administration claims and the negative impact of “no actual hard, external, statutory, or regulatory deadline” for making a benefits decision. Watch the video (starting at 4:40) to learn about the VA’s “failure of imagination”, the “fundamental unfairness” of the current system, and the psychological effect of external deadlines on performance. You can also read more about “HLS Thinks Big” in HLS News.

Save the Date! Harvard Legal Aid Bureau Centennial Celebration

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau in the news (Credit: Harvard University Archives)

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is celebrating one hundred years of service with talks, tours, a gala, and more November 8-10, 2013. In recognition of this milestone, HLS News recently dug up a few images from the archives and wrote about the organization’s history:

One hundred years ago, a small group of Harvard Law students formed an organization to provide legal aid to the poor. In the 10 decades since its founding, the Legal Aid Bureau—the oldest student-run legal services program in the country—has helped thousands of clients. Many of its former members—from the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan ’31 to the current Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick ’82 and the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama ’88—have gone on to make important contributions to public service.

To learn more about the Centennial Celebration, please visit Hope to see you there!

A Warm Welcome to Desta Reff

New Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Delta Fellow Desta Reff

The HLS clinical community welcomes Desta Reff (JD ’13) as the fourth joint Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Delta Fellow. This fellowship is affiliated with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. Desta will be stationed in the Delta region to assist with community development work around public health and economic opportunity, and will also help to oversee the work of the Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project student organization. While a student at HLS, Desta helped to found and direct the Harvard Law School Documentary Studio—she is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and will be a great addition to the law school’s work in the Mississippi Delta region!

HLAB Trial All-Stars!

After battling on behalf of their clients for an entire academic season, five Harvard Legal Aid Bureau students were wrapping up their final cases before heading to their off-season placements. But when their cases suddenly went into extra innings, these HLAB Trial All-Stars stepped up to the plate, pointed to center field, and hit it out of the park!

L to R: All-Stars Bradley Jenkins, Justine Goeke, Chas Hamilton, Dave Barber, and Matt Nickell

In the week before commencement, Justine Goeke ’13 represented a single mother (and survivor of domestic violence) in her trial seeking physical and legal custody, child support, and supervised visits against the father. The father had put his mental health at issue in another state by claiming he was incompetent to stand trial because of mental illness; a few of the primary issues at trial were both his mental and emotional stability and the potential and past impact of his mental health on the child.

Dave Barber ’13 also spent the weeks before graduation preparing for and co-counseling a case involving a bedbug infestation of his client’s apartment. The landlord started eviction proceedings against the client after she withheld rent due to the infestation; after a day and a half of the jury trial Dave negotiated and finalized a settlement, obtaining nearly $5000 for his client.

Bradley Jenkins ’13 tried a case in Probate & Family Court in late June and stretching into July, in which he represents a mother seeking to regain custody of her young son. A survivor of domestic violence, the client had previously given voluntary guardianship to a family member of her abusive partner while she worked to regain stability in her life.

Remaining in Cambridge four weeks after his exams ended, Matt Nickell ’14 postponed the start of his summer job to co-counsel a case in Boston Housing Court. He represented a tenant who had claims against her former landlord for significant conditions of disrepair in her apartment. In a jury trial that stretched over three days, Matt’s role included the examination of an expert witness whose testimony about the apartment’s bad conditions proved critical in establishing the landlord’s fault. The jury came back with a verdict for the client.

Chas Hamilton ’13 spent the weeks after exams this spring trying not one, but two cases before juries. After the trials were unexpectedly scheduled several weeks apart, Chas dove into long days and late nights of preparation with his co-counsels and supervisors that involved gathering evidence, developing case strategy, readying witnesses, and writing closing statements. He was able to find time to graduate in between obtaining favorable outcomes for both clients in their trials. (Read more in “Two Trials and a Graduation“.)

Collect all five! (Cards sold separately.)

Priya Patel Reflects on Immigration, Independent Clinicals, and a Cow

Refugio del Rio Grande in San Benito, Texas

Priya Patel recently shared her experience as an Independent Clinical student in San Benito, Texas, on the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic blog. As she opens:

I had heard a lot about Lisa Brodyaga before I went down to San Benito, Texas to work with her over Winter Term. A legend and a mystery in the field of immigration law, she is widely revered for having created Refugio del Rio Grande, a sanctuary for refugees fleeing persecution in Guatemala and El Salvador. While Lisa and other lawyers in the Rio Grande Valley fought to win asylum for these refugees, the refugees worked and lived off of the land, milking cows and growing food….

Read more about how Priya was welcomed into the fold, the kinds of cases she worked on, and how a cow in Southern Texas came to be named “Priya” in the full post.

A Warm Welcome to Joel Thompson

PLAP Interim Supervising Attorney Joel Thompson

Joel Thompson is serving as the interim supervising attorney at Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) while John Fitzpatrick is on deployment. Joel splits his time between PLAP and Prisoner’s Legal Services (PLS) and is happy to be back at his alma mater. Here is a message from Joel introducing himself:

“I’m a former PLAPper, or I guess I’m now a once-and-always PLAPper – aren’t we all? Class of ’97. I spent most of my HLS years hanging out at the PLAP office, which, although it had character, lacked the sophistication and stunning view of today’s PLAP. After graduating, I began a tour of New England states – to Vermont for a clerkship, then to Maine for a downeast version of big-firm associate life, on to Connecticut to a small firm where I could tag along with some folks defending a federal death penalty case, and then back to Boston where I landed at Prisoners’ Legal Services. At PLS I co-chair the Health Care Project, and most of my litigation docket is centered around health care, though I advise and advocate for prisoners on all kinds of issues (as does everyone at PLS). I’m thrilled to have a chance to hang out at PLAP again and watch today’s PLAPpers provide incredible service to our clients.”

Note: This post was adapted from the PLAP newsletter.

Analyzing the Recent Senate Bill on Immigration

Photo courtesy of yashmori, Flickr Creative Commons

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) recently published a three-part blog series analyzing various aspects of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744), which passed in the Senate last month. The bill balances a pathway to citizenship with strict border security provisions, and attempts to improve the process through which refugees fearing persecution in their home countries may apply for asylum in the United States. Read on for more about how the bill affects the asylum process, pathways to citizenship, and border security.

Part I: How S.744 Affects the Asylum Process
The Senate bill makes significant changes to the asylum application process. Of these changes, one of the most impactful is the elimination of the one-year filing deadline. Currently, asylum seekers must apply for asylum within one year after entering the United States. By removing the deadline, the bill extends protection to refugees that fail to speak out within their first year in the U.S. due to trauma or unfamiliarity with the immigration laws.

Part II: Pathways to Citizenship
A core element of S.744, and perhaps its most controversial, is the establishment of pathways to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants that currently reside in the United States. However, far from granting “amnesty,” the bill mandates a legalization process that is in fact selective, expensive, and extremely time consuming. This post analyzes the various pathways to citizenship provided by the bill, and the difficulties that could potentially arise along each path.

Path III: Border Security “Triggers”
The pathways to citizenship that the bill provides are predicated upon the attainment of strict enforcement goals along the Southwest border. These preconditions, called “triggers,” were further strengthened by the Hoeven-Corker Amendment that was added to the bill. The final part of the blog series takes a deeper look into S.744’s border security provisions, and predicts their impact.

HLAB’s Melissa Minaya in the Harvard Gazette

Melissa Minaya and her strawberries (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer via Harvard Gazette)

Each summer, the Harvard community is treated to a lovely farmers’ market featuring a wide range of local produce and products. In fact, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau’s very own Melissa Minaya was recently snapped buying strawberries by the Harvard Gazette. Find out what she’s planning to do with her farm-fresh strawberries (see slide 3) and enjoy other market highlights in the online slideshow. Or just stop by the market every Tuesday through the end of October!

A Disciplinary Hearing for a Transgender Prisoner

Fan Li (2nd from left) with members of the PLAP summer team

By Fan Li, Student Attorney

At the end of the Spring Semester, just before the exam period, Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) intern Tori Porell and I were contacted by PLAPpers Jeanne Segil and Avery Halfon about a transgender prisoner who was facing a “tool to escape” charge. The client was intelligent, soft-spoken, and had quite a sense of humor. She was placed in the Special Management Unit after a Correctional Officer found several contraband items in her cell. The officer charged her with a Category 2-1 (possession of items likely to be used in an escape), among several other offenses.

As the client explained, the contraband items were either related to her female gender presentation or were items that she had retrained for many years through multiple prison transfers. A guilty finding on the Category 2-1 charge would cause her to be transferred to a maximum security facility, where little accommodation is available for transgender prisoners and her safety would be at immense risk. Avery filed a discovery request immediately, along with a motion to dismiss the heaviest charges.

A series of delays, however, pushed the hearing date into the summer, when neither Avery nor Jeanne would be in Boston. So they passed their notes to me, and Tori and I visited our client in early June. A week later, we represented her at the disciplinary hearing. We provided details about the client’s limited mobility and explained each item in evidence. Then, the Hearing Officer kindly dismissed all but the lightest charges.

Our client has called twice since then and thanked each one of us. But, as often is the case, even our sigh of relief contained a lament. Despite the recent advances the Prisoners’ Legal Services has made in transgender prisoners’ rights, any officer who wishes to charge a transgender prisoner with a Category 2-1 offense can easily find the opportunity to do so. The Code of Massachusetts Regulations leaves much ambiguity regarding this charge, and the punishment too frequently reaches beyond what justice warrants.

Note: A version of this post originally appeared in the PLAP newsletter.

Praise for Shareholder Rights Project

Via The New York Times:

Shareholder efforts that actually succeed in changing dubious corporate governance policies are so rare that when they happen, it makes you sit up and take notice. So it’s worth examining the results achieved so far this year by the Shareholder Rights Project, a program operating at the Harvard Law School. And with any luck, its success might shame do-nothing investment managers, like those running many mutual funds, into action.

To learn more about the Shareholder Rights Project at HLS, visit their website.

Exciting Changes in the Cyberlaw Clinic

Congratulations to Chris Bavitz, who has been promoted to Managing Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic. Susan Crawford, a Berkman Director, will be a Visiting Professor at HLS in 2014 and serve as a senior advisor to the clinic during that time. Read more about the Cyberlaw clinical team on the Berkman Center website.

Q&A with Immigration Clinic’s Phil Torrey

Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Phil Torrey

We recently sat down with Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Phil Torrey to discuss the intersection of criminal law and immigration, the new course he is teaching this fall, and how he became interested in immigration law. (Please note that responses have been edited for length.)

What is “crimmigration” and what will students learn in the new course and clinical placement?
Crimmigration is the intersection of criminal law and immigration. It can refer to the immigration consequences of criminal activity but it also encompasses the general criminalization of immigration status. Because it’s so difficult to obtain immigration protection for non-citizens who have been accused of engaging in criminal activity, this group is often the most in need of help.

The clinical seminar will include discussion of doctrinal topics as well as policy issues. Students in the clinic will be divided into teams and complete at least one crimmigration-related project. The goal of the course and clinical work is to give students the tools necessary to spot and evaluate the immigration consequences of criminal activity.

How did you become interested in the topic of crimmigration?
When I was volunteering at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), I worked with clients who had criminal convictions in their past. These cases were extremely challenging, but incredibly important as many of the clients had been advised by their criminal defense attorneys to plead guilty to avoid jail time without understanding the effect that had on their immigration status. I quickly became interested in learning more about the complex area of criminal law and immigration law. The issue has been growing in importance on a national level since 2010, when the Supreme Court decided that defense attorneys must advise clients about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime (Padilla v. Kentucky). Clinic Director Debbie Anker was a big proponent of doing more crimmigration work at HIRC and I was excited to help develop the new course and clinic with her.

What other immigration issues do you work on?
I’m the supervising attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), a student practice organization affiliated with our clinic. Among other projects and activities, HIP students represent clients in immigration detention at their bond hearings. Most of our clients in the bond hearing project have some type of criminal activity in their past, so HIP’s work complements the crimmigraton clinic nicely.

Other projects that HIP students are working on include helping refugees navigate the application process for securing green cards. They also handle family reunification petitions when someone is granted asylum and looking to bring their family to the United States. In fact, most of the petitioners are former clients of HIRC.

How did you find yourself at HLS?
I took a circuitous route. In law school, I took an immigration and asylum clinic, which I really enjoyed. After law school, while working at a large corporate firm, I took advantage of their leave policy to work as a fellow at GBLS, and I became familiar with the HIRC team. During this time, I became attached to my clients and to the work but I had to return to my firm after my fellowship ended. After staying at the firm for about another nine months, saving money, and getting the blessing of my very supportive partner, I quit and returned to GBLS as a volunteer. Eventually, I applied for this position at HIRC when it opened up and the rest is history.

Tom Koglman Goes from Police Officer to PLAP Student Attorney

PLAP student attorney Tom Koglman

Each summer, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) hires several full-time legal interns. Tom Koglman writes about why he chose to work at PLAP this summer.

“I was a police officer for almost twelve years before I came to Harvard Law School, so some people were surprised that I would want to spend my 1L summer representing prison inmates. I believe that the two roles are complementary, though. As a police officer, I was sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, and as a student attorney with PLAP, I am defending the constitutionally granted rights of inmates. If the goal is justice and equality for all under the law, then I don’t see a contradiction. I’ve been inside plenty of jails and prisons before, but stepping in through the front door and meeting with an inmate as an ally is a completely new experience. I joined PLAP so that I could add more depth to my understanding of the criminal justice system, view it from a different perspective, and have an opportunity to challenge my preconceptions. Working with PLAP will make me a better advocate for my clients, provide a service to people who desperately need help, and give me a more balanced understanding of the law.”

Note: This post was adapted from the PLAP newsletter.

Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein Represent Families of 2003 Bolivian Massacre Victims

Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein of the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) are part of a team of lawyers representing family members of those killed in government-planned massacres in Bolivia in 2003. Read more in HLS News and on the IHRC blog about the most recent allegations against the former president and former defense minister and the role of IHRC clinical students who contributed to the case.

Emily Leung Discusses Immigration Law with HLS Summer Interns

Clinical Fellow Emily Leung

Every summer, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs hosts a summer speaker series for undergraduate and law student interns working in the clinics.

Clinical Fellow Emily Leung in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic kicked off this year’s series with a thoughtful discussion about the value of embracing a non-traditional career path, the types of immigration cases she has worked on, and how she helps her clients tell their story.

Coming later this summer: sessions on predatory lending, family law, health law, ethics, human rights, estate planning, public interest careers, and law school admissions. One of the perks of being a clinical intern!

Becca Gauthier Hits the Ground Running at the Legal Services Center

By Becca Gauthier, Disability/Administrative Law Clinic Legal Intern

Becca Gauthier (R) with supervisor Julie McCormack (L) at her first Social Security Administration hearing

As a first year law student at Harvard Law School, I didn’t get a chance to participate in any hands-on client work. However, that quickly changed upon starting my job at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center this summer. I work in the Disability/Administrative Law Clinic and my main role is to help clients whose Social Security claims have been denied. My first hearing was set for less than a month after starting, so I had to quickly figure out what I needed and make sure a hearing memo and opening statement were ready to go. I also met with my client multiple times and worked to get him ready to go in front of the judge.

The hearing went smoothly. I was able to ask my client all of the questions I had for him, and the judge seemed receptive. The judge then questioned a vocational expert who confirmed the client would not be able to work. Now we wait and hope that the judge will rule that our client is disabled so that he will be able to receive the benefits he so desparately needs. I have a few more hearings scheduled and have filed a complaint for a case in District Court. I look forward to seeing what the next few months bring and I am happy to be staying on at the Center for the fall semester!

Cyberlaw Clinic’s Chris Bavitz Interviewed by Marketplace

Via Marketplace:

The biggest name in Internet radio is buying an FM station. Pandora says the move will help the company get its content at a lower cost, but music publishers are crying foul. If the FCC signs off on the sale, Pandora will be the proud owner of KXMZ-FM in Rapid City, S.D., and save about 1 percent of its revenue on music publishing rights….

With the business models in music broadcasting changing so quickly, there’s no royalty structure yet that works for everyone’s bottom line, according to Chris Bavitz, with Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to get to a one size fits all music royalty rate for musical compositions,” Bavitz says.

A Warm Welcome to Alonzo Emery

Alonzo Emery at Renmin University of China Law School (Photo via Harvard Law Bulletin)

The HLS clinical community welcomes Alonzo Emery (JD ’10) to the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) team as a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law. Learn more about Alonzo’s appointment, his history with HNMCP, and his work at Renmin Law School, including running the university’s Disability Law Clinic, on the HNMCP website.

Cyberlaw Clinic Weighs in on Extended GPS Tracking

During the Fall 2012 semester, Clinical Fellow Kit Walsh and clinical students Matt McCullough and James Ren of the Cyberlaw Clinic worked on an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They argued in the case Commonwealth v. Rousseau that “GPS surveillance poses a serious threat to individual liberty given the breadth of information that it provides to law enforcement”. The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes on their blog about the recent decision in the case:

In a landmark decision in Commonwealth v. Rousseau, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that people “may reasonably expect not to be subjected to extended GPS electronic surveillance by the government” without a search warrant….

Read more about the case and other clinical projects on the Cyberlaw Clinic blog.

Apply for Department of Justice Independent Clinical

Just posted on the HLS Administrative Updates blog: an Independent Clinical opportunity for 2Ls and 3Ls with the Department of Justice for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. Applications are due July 12, 2013. Check out the full post for all the details.

Two Trials and a Graduation

By Chas Hamilton (JD ’13)

Chas Hamilton (JD ’13)

During a two-week period that spanned from late May to early June, I tried two cases before twelve-member juries in the Boston Housing Court. In between those two seminal events I was able to squeeze in one more: graduation on May 30 from law school.

I want to share these jury trial experiences in order to provide an account of the importance of clinical education to the overall law school experience. As a student-attorney in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), I have had the privilege of serving socio-economically disadvantaged individuals and families in communities across Boston in a multitude of ways ranging from canvassing foreclosed properties and informing residents of their legal rights, to representing tenants in court when their landlords have attempted to evict them. As with many other forms of litigation, the vast majority of eviction cases in Boston Housing Court do not go to trial. The much more frequent occurrence is for the case to settle at some point between the landlord’s commencement of the eviction and the court scheduling the case for trial. In certain instances settlement in this window of time will be impossible, and the case will be scheduled and prepared for a trial.

The two jury trials were scheduled two weeks apart, the first on May 20-21 (the May Trial), and the second on June 3-5 (the June Trial). As a general legal services provider in the greater Boston-area, the members of HLAB accept cases through a multi-stage intake process in which the facts and circumstances of potential clients and their cases are considered. Both cases were accepted for representation through this intake process.

The May Trial involved a bedbug infestation in our client’s (Client A) apartment that she became aware of in the 2012 summer. The landlord, a property management corporation, brought an eviction action against Client A after she elected to withhold her monthly rent in light of the infestation, which at that point had lasted two months. By the date of trial Client A no longer wanted to live in her apartment—the infestation had had such a detrimental psychological impact on her that she could barely bring herself to sleep in the apartment that for years she had called home. Because Client A was not interested in returning to the apartment, the remaining question was whether she would have to repay her months of withheld rent—which by the time of trial had grown to 10 months—or whether the landlord would be required to compensate her for its failure to timely address the bedbug infestation. After a day and a half of trial we were able to reach a settlement awarding Client A nearly $5,000.

The June Trial also concerned the conditions in our client’s (Client B) apartment, though the circumstances were a bit different. We began representing Client B in late 2010 when her landlord began the eviction process. Early on in the relationship it became clear that Client B suffered as a result of serious bad conditions in her apartment including rodent infestation, poor ventilation, the occasional absence of water, and a persistent gas leak. However, before the case was completed, Client B moved out of the apartment. Even though the question of who deserved possession of the apartment had become moot as a result of Client B’s move, there still remained a question of whether her landlord owed Client B any money damages for the significant conditions of disrepair in her home during the course of her 14-year tenancy. The trial was scheduled for June 3 and 4, but the proceeding required a third day in order to accommodate the testimony of all the witnesses, including an inspector from Boston’s Inspectional Services Department, as well as a private housing inspector, each of whom had an opportunity to inspect our client’s home. After three days of trial the 12-member jury returned a judgment in favor of our client for almost $9,000, nearly ten times what she currently pays in monthly rent.

While each of these trials was exciting and represented a milestone in my nascent legal career, it was far from my intention to try two cases in such a short time period, not to mention with graduation in the middle. Over the past two years I have learned that this is the nature of litigation—your case that has been ambling through the court’s scheduling calendar is suddenly marked up for the first available date, which might only be weeks away. I was reminded of this possibility when on May 2 I entered Boston Housing Court prepared to argue a relatively simple opposition motion and the judge decided, based on an unexpected vacancy in the court’s calendar, that the case would be scheduled for a two-day jury trial on May 20-21. At the time, I was prepared for the June jury trial, which had been scheduled almost two months prior. In an instant I was faced with the reality that the month of May had become a lot busier.

There was a lot of preparation required for both cases. In each case I was joined by tremendously talented and hardworking co-counsel and supervised by phenomenal clinical instructors. In the May Trial, I was joined by Dave Barber, a fellow 3L and HLAB student-attorney in the Housing Practice, and clinical instructor Liz Nessen, with whom I had worked extensively over the past two years. In the June Trial, I worked with Matt Nickell, a 2L and also an HLAB student-attorney in the Housing Practice, along with clinical instructor Lee Goldstein. In addition to these individuals there were numerous others who helped in a myriad of ways, from conducting additional research, to preparing exhibits for trial, to providing feedback on opening and closing remarks. There were many long days and late nights that were consumed by case strategy, witness preparation, and the more mundane, but very necessary organization of trial folders containing all documents we believed would be relevant at trial.

While the trials themselves were exciting, I found the preparation beforehand more thought provoking. For example, “time” was an important factor in both cases. For the May Trial, the major question was the amount of time that the bedbug infestation was allowed to exist in our client’s apartment. For the June Trial, the major questions were the amount of time that bad conditions existed in our client’s apartment, as well as when the landlord became aware of these bad conditions. In each of these cases it was important for me to find a way to illustrate the determinative chronology first for my own understanding of the case, but later to determine the most effective way of communicating it to the jury.

In September I will begin work in the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP. In the immediate future, I hope that I will have an opportunity to make use of my trial experience at Paul, Weiss. The nature and scope of trials in a large law firm that specializes in litigation will undoubtedly be quite different from the experiences I had in Boston’s Housing Court, but they are similar in their fundamental characteristics: developing a theory of a case and understanding your strengths and weaknesses; marshalling the rules of evidence for documents and testimony that you want to introduce, as well as those you want to exclude; being able to tell your client’s story. These are the aspects of trial that I have come to enjoy most, and I hope that I can continue to develop proficiency in these areas while at Paul, Weiss.

Considering the longer term, HLAB has given me insight into the way that individual legal services and social policy can be joined to profoundly impact a community. This model, which combines individual client interaction with a broader vision for change, is one that I hope to make use of, wherever I find myself in the future.

L to R: Eloise Lawrence, Staff Attorney; Stephanie Goldenhersh, Clinical Instructor; Maureen Devine, Clinical Instructor; Brad Jenkins (JD ’13); Susana Arteta, Administrative Director; Chas Hamilton (JD ’13); and Melissa Minaya, Program Administrator

CJI Alumnus Jon McCoy Wins Motion for New Trial

By Rob Proctor, CJI Clinical Instructor

A judge found Criminal Justice Institute alumnus Jon McCoy’s (JD ’13) motion and exhibits so compelling that she granted a new trial. Jon’s client, a 19 year-old who held a green card and was raised in the United States, was deported and separated from his family after being convicted of a drug charge. At the time of his arrest, he had no prior criminal record and there was no evidence of drug use. Additionally, Annie Dookhan, the chemist who “analyzed” the substance found with the client, admitted to purposely tainting evidence during that period. Dookhan is currently at the center of a crime lab scandal and “is accused of falsifying test results in as many as 34,000 cases” (NPR). Criminal Justice Institute attorneys are hopeful that they will be able to reunite this young man with his family.

HLS News Profiles Gary Bellow Public Service Award Winners

[L-R] Jeanne Segil ’14 and Abbey Marr ’14, co-chairs of the Gary Bellow Public Service Award; Laurel Firestone ’04, Stephanie Davidson ’13, and HLS Dean Martha Minow (Photo by Jon Chase)

Read more about Gary Bellow Public Service Award Winners Laurel Firestone (JD ’04) and Stephanie Davidson (JD ’13) in this week’s HLS News. And don’t miss Jeanne Segil and Abbey Marr’s post about the event and Gary Bellow’s legacy on our blog.

Jonathan Nomamiukor Reflects on His Clinical Experience

L to R: Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty, Jonathan Nomamiukor, JD ’13, and Kenny Pyetranker, JD ’13, at an NGO forum

Jonathan Nomamiukor (JD ’13) writes movingly on the International Human Rights Clinic blog about how his experiences in the clinic helped dissipate his disillusionment with law school:

“In a room with political activists, ethicists, and scientists, I could see the important role lawyers also played in the production of frameworks that protect human and civil rights worldwide. It may have taken a while, but thanks to the International Human Rights Clinic, I now know how to begin using these tools–and I’m ready to get started.”

Read more about what compelled him to take a break from law school, his work with the International Human Rights Clinic on the issue of fully autonomous weapons, and the mentorship he received from Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty in the full post.

Saying Goodbye to Cyberlaw’s Phil Malone

We’re still in denial but it’s hard to ignore the reality of a goodbye party. Professor Phil Malone, a man of many hats within the clinical programs, the Berkman Center, and the Harvard community, is headed to California later this summer. Instead of focusing on how terribly we’ll miss him, let’s enjoy a few photos from the party, courtesy of the Berkman Center Flickr stream and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Phil Malone with Julie McCormack and Jill Crockett (Photo by Daniel Dennis Jones)

Dean Martha Minow (far left) and Phil Malone look on during a high five between Phil’s daughter and Chris Bavitz (Photo by Daniel Dennis Jones)

Even the flowers are getting ready for the California sunshine (Photo by Daniel Dennis Jones)

Clinical Students Awarded Public Service Venture Fund Fellowships

Clinics at Harvard Law School not only provide students with opportunities for hands-on legal practice with robust supervision but many have a strong public service component. So it’s no surprise that members of the innaugural class of Public Service Venture Fund Fellows have been shaped by their clinical work in a wide range of practice areas, including human rights, consumer protection, housing, employment, cyberlaw, and immigration. Here’s wishing them the best of luck in their new endeavors!

Snapshot: Commencement Party

Check out the International Human Rights Clinic blog for a series of pictures from their commencement party with Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC). In the meantime, enjoy a few highlights:

L-R: Elian Maritz, Phil Torrey, Kaitlyn Hennigan

L-R: Lisa Dealy, Gerald L. Neuman

L-R: Deborah Popowski, James Tager, Cara Solomon

Cyberlaw’s Kit Walsh Opines on 3D Printing

Kit Walsh, an attorney and clinical fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic, writes in 3D Printing Industry about patents, 3D printing technology, and how the Berkman Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are working together to prevent “an intellectual monopoly that is broader than [patent applicants] deserve under law”.

Toby Merrill Tackles Predatory Lending at Legal Services Center

Toby Merrill [Photo by Martha Stewart]

HLS graduate and Skadden Fellow Toby Merrill (’11) and clinical instructor Max Weinstein are profiled in this summer’s Harvard Law Bulletin for their efforts combating predatory student lending. This work marks an expansion of the Predatory Lending Prevention/Consumer Protection Clinic, which is based at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain. As the Bulletin story explains:

“[Toby is] focusing on for-profit colleges that target low-income people—for example, a student who goes to a trade school for a relatively low-paying profession but takes on an enormous amount of debt. ‘They are really mined for all the federal money they are worth, and then left with debt but no benefits,’ she says. It’s an issue everyone should be concerned about, she adds. ‘This is your money and my money going to private executives making millions of dollars a year on the backs of poor people.'”

Check out the article to learn more about the impact of predatory student lending, how Toby and Max formed their partnership, and the types of outreach and litigation they are pursuing. More…

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