Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

Category: Annoucements (page 1 of 6)

OCP Welcomes New Clinicians

Vanessa O’Connor (left) and Lisa Dicker (right)

OCP is happy to welcome new clinicians Vanessa O’Connor and Lisa Dicker. Vanessa joined the Transactional Law Clinics as a clinical instructor while Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Programs welcomed Lisa as a clinical instructor.

Vanessa O’Connor

Before joining the Harvard faculty, Vanessa was an associate at Goodwin Procter LLP in the Real Estate Industries group where she represented real estate investment funds, developers and institutional investors in connection with real estate finance, joint venture formation acquisition and disposition transactions. Prior to that, Vanessa was an associate at Robins Kaplan LLP in the Business Litigation group.

Vanessa serves as a member of the Hanover, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen and as a co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Real Estate Public Service Committee. She obtained her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University.

Lisa Dicker

Prior to joining HNMCP, Lisa was Counsel at a global pro bono law firm where she advised on peace negotiations, conflict prevention, transitional justice, and post-conflict democratic transitions. Her portfolio included advising delegations to the Sudanese Peace Talks, the Sudanese Constitutional Declaration negotiations, the UN-led Intra-Syrian Peace Process, and the Astana Ceasefire Talks for Syria; counseling practitioners across the Middle East & North Africa on community-led transitional justice efforts; advising the Tanzanian government and civil society actors on efforts to counter violent extremism; and supporting localized peacebuilding efforts in Yemen.

Lisa has also been an Adjunct Professor in Bay Path University’s M.S. Leadership & Negotiation program, and has served on teaching teams for Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Workshop, Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation’s executive education courses, and independent programs.

She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from the University of Tennessee.

HIRC Welcomes New Staff

The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program recently welcomed Mariam Liberles as a staff attorney, as well as Sameer Ahmed as Clinical Instructor.

Mariam Liberles

via HIRC

We are thrilled to announce that Mariam Liberles will be joining the team at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) as a staff attorney.

Prior to joining HIRC, Mariam worked for nine years at Catholic Charities of Boston as a supervising attorney (2014-2020) and a staff attorney (2011-2014). At Catholic Charities, Mariam represented clients in a wide range of immigration matters, including family-based and humanitarian cases. She also previously served as a volunteer attorney in the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services and worked as an immigration attorney at the International Institute of Boston. Mariam received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. Mariam is originally from Yerevan, Armenia and speaks Armenian, Russian, Spanish, and basic French.

Please join us in wishing a warm welcome to Mariam!

Sameer Ahmed

via HIRC

We are delighted to announce that Sameer Ahmed will be joining the team at the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program!

Sameer was previously an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to that, he served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, where he specialized in immigrants’ rights litigation and policy advocacy. His work included challenging federal immigration national security policies that discriminate against Muslim immigrants, ensuring mentally ill immigrants have access to counsel in removal proceedings, protecting the rights of DACA recipients and immigrants in the military, and advocating on behalf of immigrants in Orange County, California. During that time, Sameer served on the board of the Orange County Justice Fund and the City of Santa Ana’s Sanctuary Policy Advisory Group.

Sameer has also served as a senior litigation associate at WilmerHale and as a Skadden Fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He has taught as an adjunct professor in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and at the University of Maine School of Law. He clerked for Judge Kermit V. Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master’s Degree in Legal Research from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Stanford University.

Sameer also serves on the board of Project Citizenship, a nonprofit agency which provides high-quality free legal services to immigrants all over Massachusetts.

Please join us in welcoming Sameer to the HIRC family!



Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic and NCLR Release First-of-Its-Kind Comprehensive Legal Resource for Transgender Youth

via National Center for Lesbian Rights

Today, the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (HLAC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights published a first-of-its-kind legal resource guide for transgender youth in the United States. The newly-released Trans Youth Handbook serves as a comprehensive legal resource guide that covers the rights of trans youth across a wide spectrum of situations, including identity documents, school, health care, non-affirming care environments, and work.

The Handbook was written by HLAC’s Alexander Chen and NCLR’s Asaf Orr, who served as the lead authors for the resource, and was produced with the support of volunteers from Salesforce, Baker McKenzie, and Equal Justice Works.

“Study after study shows that trans youth thrive when they are respected for who they are and affirmed in their gender identities,” said Alexander Chen, Esq., Founding Director of the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. “I am delighted that this important resource will be available to trans youth and their families who are seeking to understand their legal rights.”

“The Trans Youth Handbook gathers critical information transgender youth need to understand their legal rights in an easily accessible and digestible form,” said Asaf Orr, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney and Director of NCLR’s Transgender Youth Project. “We hope the handbook will give transgender youth the tools and confidence to advocate for what they need—and are entitled to—so they can thrive. We are excited to co-author this incredible resource and look forward to updating it as our laws and society continue to recognize the unique needs of transgender youth and protect this vulnerable group from discrimination.”

“In our pro bono work, we look for ways to help with the most compelling justice challenges, particularly youth justice,” said Angela C. Vigil, Partner and Executive Director of the Pro Bono Practice at Baker McKenzie. “That is why we are so proud to support the Trans Youth Handbook project, which serves a community in critical need of legal resources. This Handbook provides the most thorough and comprehensive summary of trans youth rights across the US.”

“Equal Justice Works is proud to support the creation of the Trans Youth Handbook,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “This is a critical resource to help ensure trans youth, a particularly at-risk group, and their families are aware of their legal rights. We are thankful to the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the leadership of Alex Chen, 2017 Equal Justice Works Fellow, and Asaf Orr, senior staff attorney at NCLR. We’re also tremendously grateful to and Baker McKenzie for sponsoring Alex’s Equal Justice Works Fellowship and for launching his public interest career.”

# # #

The Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (HLAC) engages in impact litigation on, policy advocacy, and direct representation on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, with a particular focus on issues affecting underrepresented groups within the LGBTQ+ umbrella. HLAC works with community members, advocates, non-profit organizations, educators, medical professionals, and governmental entities to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people at both the national and local levels.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national LGBTQ legal organization the forefront of advancing the civil and human rights of the full LGBTQ community and their families through impact litigation, public policy, and public education. NCLR has been a leading advocate for the rights of transgender youth for over a decade. Through litigation and advocacy, NCLR has expanded legal protections for transgender youth in schools, sports, healthcare, and custody disputes, among many other areas. Touching on every aspect of their lives, the work of NCLR’s Transgender Youth Project is to ensure transgender youth have the support and opportunity they need to thrive.

Sejal Singh wins the 2020 David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award

via Harvard Law Today

by Grace Yuh

Sejal Singh ’20 is the 2020 recipient of the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award. She was recognized for her work on the Project on Predatory Student Lending with the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, as well as her exemplary contributions to public-interest endeavors at Harvard Law School.

Named in honor of David Grossman ’88, the award reflects the dedication of the late HLS clinical professor in addressing the legal needs of low-income communities. Each year, a student is recognized for their advocacy in important issue areas, for providing excellent legal services through client representation, and striving for crucial policy reform. In addition, the student is recognized for demonstrated thoughtfulness and compassion in their work as they put theory into practice.

Singh’s belief that education is a fundamental right and her passion for making sure that every student has the opportunity to learn is what inspired her, she says, to attend law school and join the Project on Predatory Student Lending. At the project, Singh represented student loan borrowers who have experienced predatory lending in connection with for-profit schools. In remote collaboration with Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, she helped to write an application to the federal government to discharge the debt of thousands of affected students. Chris Madaio, an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division who leads Maryland’s work on for-profit schools, praised Singh’s commitment and the character of her work.

“The strong quality of Sejal’s work product far exceeded her experience and was something I would have expected from a seasoned attorney who had been practicing for years,” he said. “Her research and factual analysis was a benefit to my office and to the people of Maryland.”

Additionally, Singh fostered a strong sense of innovation and partnership within her team and those around her through her creativity and deep understanding of the power of grassroots organizing.

“Sejal embodies David Grossman’s indefatigable drive toward a fair legal system and his compassion toward the individuals affected by its current injustices” said Toby Merrill ’11, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending. “At every stage, she brought great ideas about the substance of the claims and the organization of the materials, as well as energy and outrage at the mistreatment of the students.”

Outside her clinical work, Singh is a co-founder of the People’s Parity Project,  described on its website as a “nationwide network of law students and new attorneys organizing to unrig the legal system and build a justice system that values people over profits.” Through the project, she and other HLS students have challenged the use of forced arbitration clauses in law firm employment contracts as they inhibit the enforcement of vital consumer and worker’s rights. Singh has traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend congressional hearings and has worked with other leading advocates on these issues. For this work, Paul Bland ’86, director of Public Justice, called Singh “a powerful and edgy voice for a fairer justice system.”

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singh has led the PPP in organizing law students to support public-interest lawyers who are serving those most directly effected by the pandemic. This has involved matching students to lawyers, working with the Harvard Labor & Worklife Program to release a 50-state survey of unemployment programs and building state-wide hotlines.

While at HLS, Singh participated in the Health Law and Policy Clinic and the HLS Immigration Project. She was also co-editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and a research assistant for the Clean Slate Project. She spent her 1L summer  with Legal Aid at Work and her 2L summer at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

After graduation, Singh will join Public Citizen Litigation Group as a Justice Catalyst Fellow, where she plans to focus on addressing corporate capture of agencies, building worker power, and fighting for a just recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It would be an understatement to say she will change the world—she already has,” said Merrill.

Jeremy Ravinsky receives 2020 Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Award

via Harvard Law Today

by Grace Yuh

Credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Ravinsky

Jeremy Ravinsky ’20 was awarded this year’s Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Award. He was recognized for his work and leadership at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and his commitment to providing more than 2,000 hours of pro bono services with the Tenant Advocacy Project and Project No One Leaves.

Named in honor of Professor Andrew Kaufman ’54, who has been instrumental in creating and supporting the Pro Bono Service Program at HLS, the award is granted to a graduating J.D. student who exemplifies a pro bono public spirit and an extraordinary commitment to improving and delivering high-quality volunteer legal services to disadvantaged communities.

After graduating from Tufts University in 2014, Ravinsky worked at Open Society Foundations in Washington, D.C., where he focused on human rights issues. During his time there, he also participated in grant making for homelessness issues, which, he says, helped clarify his interest in housing justice. During his 1L year, he joined TAP, a student practice organization, where he represented tenants at risk of losing their public or subsidized housing. Seeking an immersive experience where he could create longer-standing relationships with clients, as well as one where he could support movements led by marginalized communities, Ravinsky joined HLAB in the Fall of his 2L year and has worked there every semester since.

While at HLAB, Ravinsky was assigned to its Family Practice, where he worked on a variety of cases, including divorces, complex equity-based cases, and custody matters. He conducted legal research, drafted pleadings, prepared for and conducted Probate and Family Court hearings and trials, and demonstrated his ability to connect with others by communicating effectively with his clients as well as opposing counsel.

He also contributed to and built connections with fellow students, supervisors, and organizers in HLAB’s other practice areas, including housing law, employment law, and government benefits law. He wrote a summary judgement motion and supporting brief in a federal district court case challenging an agency decision, and has worked on landlord/tenant cases. The faculty and staff at HLAB called him “a quiet powerhouse who leaves each project, each challenge, and each conversation better for his having been a part of it.”

“Jeremy exemplifies the pro bono spirit in his commitment to excellent work that raises up and is guided by the needs of the impacted community. His service to individual clients and to organizations in low-income communities of color exemplifies the positive impact that HLS students can have through its clinical programs,” said Stephanie Goldenhersh, senior clinical instructor and assistant director for HLAB’s Family Practice.

Ravinsky’s dedication to community lawyering and his collaborative work with community partners, particularly in housing advocacy, have also been hallmarks of his time at HLS.

At HLAB, Ravinsky led the HLAB Community Lawyering Task Force from Spring 2019 to March 2020, fostering conversation on how to better support existing community initiatives. Since his 2L year, Ravinsky has been a member of Project No One Leaves, which supports and defends local Boston-area communities facing gentrification, eviction, and foreclosure. He has also regularly attended meetings at the project’s partnering organization City Life/Vida Urbana to offer direct legal advice regarding housing issues.

During his time at the Tenant Advocacy Project, Ravinsky also served as a member of its Intake Review Committee, as a training director, and finally as co-president during his final year of law school. Shelley Baron, a clinical instructor at TAP, praised Ravinsky’s determination to be directly involved with the communities where his clients live and work.

“Jeremy’s dedication to TAP, his clients, and social justice lawyering more broadly has been relentless and inspiring for me as a clinical instructor,” said Baron. “You can find him advocating for a client in probate court in the morning, meeting with me to discuss TAP program management in the afternoon, and at a CLVU tenant organizing meeting in the evening. He approaches his case work with humility, always open to feedback and growth opportunities” she said.

Ravinsky spent his summers during law school working at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and Brooklyn Defender Services where he will work after graduation. He plans to continue to find ways to provide legal services to lift up the voices of those experiencing oppression.

HLS to create new legal clinic to support rights of vulnerable clients to practice their religion

via Harvard Law Today

Daylight photo of the corner of Wasserstein Hall

Harvard Law School in Cambridge. Credit: Brooks Kraft.

Harvard Law School today announced plans to create a new legal clinic focused on cases involving the rights of individuals to practice their religion.

Clinical instruction plays an important role in legal education at Harvard Law School. Through the collective efforts of HLS’s 46 legal clinics and student practice organizations, the school deepens students’ practical experience by enabling them to learn the skills lawyers engage in.

The new Religious Freedom Clinic will be an important addition to HLS’ clinical program and will give students valuable preparation representing clients from a diverse array of religious traditions. It will join other new clinics established over the past year, including those focused on animal law and policyLGBTQ+ advocacy, and voting rights.

Under the supervision of clinical professors, students practice law on behalf of clients, while helping improve the lives of those in need through pro bono legal services. More than 80 percent of J.D. students take at least one clinic, and more than 40 percent take two or more. Existing HLS legal clinics focus on a wide range of legal areas, from cyber, tax and veterans’ law to human rights, immigration, health and housing law.

“Providing students with practical lawyering experience and skills is one of the most important aspects of a Harvard Law School education,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “By enabling students to learn how to be lawyers by representing vulnerable clients who face impediments to practicing their religions, our new Religious Freedom Clinic will build on our long history of clinical education.”

The new HLS clinic will be modeled on Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic, which has represented a wide range of people restricted in the exercise of their religious freedom. Recent examples include Sikh employees of a large trucking company who were not permitted to maintain unshorn hair in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs; a Seventh-day Adventist employee who couldn’t work on Saturday in order to observe the Sabbath; and a Muslim individual facing capital punishment and seeking equal access to pastoral services in the execution chamber.

“The new Religious Liberty Clinic will be a fantastic addition to our strong clinical program” said HLS Professor Kristen Stilt, faculty director of the Animal Law & Policy Program (which now includes the Animal Law & Policy Clinic) and director of the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World.

“Students will have the opportunity to directly serve individuals from a wide range of faiths who would not otherwise have an advocate,” said Stilt, who teaches a course on Islamic Law and Human Rights. “Students will learn the skills needed to engage with clients from diverse backgrounds, understand their faith commitments and the obstacles they are facing, and make legal arguments to achieve their clients’ goals.  Developing the tools to work with the clinic’s clients will make our students better lawyers and better citizens of the world.”

In keeping with the tradition of clinical education at HLS and elsewhere, the new Religious Freedom Clinic at HLS will represent underserved individuals. It will be designed to bring together students from diverse political, ideological, and philosophical perspectives and structured to reflect this commitment.

Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic launches at HLS

via Harvard Law Today

by Grace Yuh

A collection of voting pins in red, white, and blue on a white background. Some read 'VOTE' or 'iVOTE'

“New York, USA – August 14, 2012: Vote buttons featuring elephants for Republican and donkeys for Democrat American political parties sit on white background” Credit: PeskyMonkey/iStock

Harvard Law School has launched a new Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic. The clinic joins the 46 legal clinics and student practice organizations that make up the school’s clinical program.

The new externship clinic focuses on voter suppression and redistricting law and policy, with a particular emphasis on voting rights threats and opportunities, the role of identity in litigation and advocacy, and multi-dimensional advocacy. Students may also choose to work in other areas of election law, including election administration, campaign finance, political party regulation, and ethics.

Students may work with nonprofit litigation and advocacy groups at the local, state, or national level, and could focus on the needs of a particular community or a broader audience. This spring, students are working with organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Voters Not Politicians.

The clinic is led by Ruth Greenwood, who joined Harvard Law School in January as a lecturer on law. A voting rights advocate for more than 10 years, Greenwood has focused her advocacy work on ending partisan gerrymandering and promoting minority representation. She previously served as an adjunct professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Profile photo of Ruth Greenwood.

Credit: Lorin Granger

“The Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic will give our students the opportunity to learn, contribute, and practice law in a field that is central to American democracy,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Ruth Greenwood is a deeply experienced practitioner, thoughtful and principled lawyer who will be both a superb teacher and a wonderful mentor to our students. I am delighted to welcome Ruth to Harvard Law School.”

While directing the Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic, Greenwood also teaches the Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Workshop. Students in the clinic are required to take Election Law, which is taught by Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos. Election Law was first offered this winter term to prepare students for their spring clinical placements.

Since 2016, Greenwood has served as co-director of voting rights and redistricting for Campaign Legal Center (CLC) in Chicago, where she developed and implemented redistricting program plans and engaged in litigation on a variety of redistricting issues. She litigated two partisan gerrymandering cases from the trial level to the Supreme Court of the United States (Whitford v. Gill and LWVNC v. Rucho), and has advised dozens of states on how to draft and implement independent redistricting commissions. She will continue to serve as co-director of the voting rights and redistricting at CLC, in the Cambridge office.

She was previously lead counsel for voting rights at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she managed and developed voting rights litigation, youth civic engagement programs, and advised community groups on legal strategies to improve minority representation. Prior to that, she was a redistricting fellow with the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute.

“As we see efforts across the country to restrict the franchise, it is crucial that we train a new generation of lawyers to take on cases to defend and promote voting rights. I am thrilled to be working with brilliant HLS students to do the important work of defending our democracy. I also can’t wait to see the innovative litigation and advocacy strategies they generate once they are practicing attorneys,” said Greenwood.

In 2016, Greenwood was a Chicago Civic Leadership Academy Fellow. She was awarded an Exceptional Service Award by the Chicago Board of Elections in 2014 for her work on Chicago Democracy Week.

A native of Australia, Greenwood received her undergraduate law and science degrees from the University of Sydney in 2005 and 2003, and her masters in law from Columbia Law School in 2009.

Clinical instruction plays an important role in legal education at Harvard Law School. Through the collective efforts of HLS’s 46 legal clinics and student practice organizations, the school deepens students’ practical experience by enabling them to learn the skills lawyers engage in. Under the supervision of clinical professors, students practice law on behalf of clients, while helping improve the lives of individuals in need through pro bono legal services. More than 80 percent of HLS J.D. students take at least one clinic, and more than 40 percent take two or more. Existing HLS legal clinics focus on a wide range of legal areas, from cyber, tax and veterans’ law to human rights, immigration, health and housing law.

Eloise Lawrence named assistant clinical professor of law and deputy faculty director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Headshot of Eloise Lawrence

via Harvard Law Today

Eloise Lawrence, a community lawyering advocate, was named assistant clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and deputy faculty director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), effective Jan. 1.

She was previously a clinical instructor and a lecturer on law at HLS. She was also the director for community lawyering and strategic initiatives at HLAB, a student-run civil legal aid organization founded in 1913.

“I am delighted that Eloise Lawrence has joined our faculty. She played a pivotal role at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, finding novel and effective ways for lawyers and law students to work hand-in-hand with clients, community members, and community organizations to secure protections for individuals and families facing eviction and predatory practices,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Eloise is a terrific lawyer, advocate, and teacher, and her skill and dedication provides our students and our community with an outstanding example of what great public interest lawyers can accomplish.”

Lawrence joined HLAB in 2011 at the height of the foreclosure crisis to work with students and community organizers to defend hundreds of families—homeowners and tenants who were losing their homes due to foreclosure. During the crisis, her cases involved predatory lending, improper foreclosure practices, discrimination, and unfair practices in the servicing of loans. She also worked with organizers to advocate for policy changes at the local, state and federal level. Since 2015, she has defended families who are being displaced from their homes and communities due to gentrification and speculation. In addition to protecting tenants in the courts, she, along with her students, works closely with community organizers to ensure tenants realize their collective power.

At HLS, Lawrence co-teaches Housing Law and Policy on a biennial basis and is a member of the HLAB teaching team for courses specifically geared towards HLAB student attorneys. She also serves as supervisor and faculty adviser for the student practice organization Project No One Leaves.

From 2008 to 2010, she served as a staff attorney in the consumer rights unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), where she brought affirmative suits on behalf of mortgagors against loan originators, servicers and foreclosing entities.

Earlier in her career, she worked for the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) in Boston, leading its Environmental Health and Justice Initiative using community lawyering to tackle issues such as removing lead from Boston’s drinking water, providing accessible public transportation and ensuring adequate environmental review for bio-containment labs.

Prior to working at CLF, she was a Skadden Fellow with Business and Professional People for the Public Interest in Chicago, where she represented public housing residents in civil rights class actions.

“I am deeply honored to join the HLS faculty. This position will allow me to continue to teach and work with HLS students, to serve the individuals and communities who are traditionally underrepresented by our profession as well as to collaborate with other members of the remarkable HLS faculty,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence received a B.A. in history from Stanford in 1995 and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 2002, where she focused on a variety of social justice issues including juvenile justice, affordable housing and LGBTQ rights.

LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic launches at Harvard Law School

via Harvard Law Today

Full frame rainbow flag shines bright backlit by summer sun

credit: PeskyMonkey/iStock

Harvard Law School today announced the launch of the new LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic.

The clinic will provide students the opportunity to work directly on cutting-edge issues involving LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting underrepresented individuals and groups within the LGBTQ+ community. Clinic offerings include local and national projects covering the spectrum of LGBTQ+ issues. Students will engage in a range of work encompassing various strategies for advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including impact litigation and amicus work, policy and legislative advocacy, and direct legal services for LGBTQ+ clients.

“The LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic will give our students a wonderful opportunity to address vital legal issues in an important and rapidly developing field, to provide first-rate legal representation to the LGBTQ+ community, to develop practice skills and substantive knowledge at the very highest levels, and to make a positive difference in the world,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “I want to welcome the clinic’s terrific new director, Alex Chen, and to wish him and his students well as they undertake the important work of this new clinic.”

Alex Chen ’15, an HLS lecturer on law and clinical instructor, will serve as founding director of the clinic. A graduate of HLS, Chen has been a tireless advocate in recent years in efforts to protect and expand LGBTQ+ civil rights.

Photo of Alex Chen sitting on a brown couch in front of a wood paneled wall, fingers laced in front of him.

credit: Lorin Granger

Announcing the clinic, Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Dan Nagin, vice dean for experiential and clinical education and faculty director of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC) and Veterans Legal Clinic, said: “Alex Chen is a fantastic advocate and creative thinker who also possesses a deep commitment to mentorship and community. Under Alex’s leadership, the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic promises to provide singular learning opportunities for law students and critical legal services to underserved populations. We could not be more thrilled to welcome Alex back to Harvard Law School.”

The LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic will be based at LSC, a general practice community law office in Jamaica Plain.

Lisa Dealy, assistant dean for the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs at Harvard Law School, added: “We are so fortunate to have Alex join HLS—I cannot think of a better person to start the new LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. Alex is already well-known in the national LGBTQ+ advocacy community and will bring his boundless energy, vision, intellect and connectedness to create a clinic that can help shape national movements. I cannot wait to see all that Alex, his students, his colleagues and advocacy partners will do together as part of the new clinic.”

In 2017, Chen was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for his groundbreaking legal work to expand the rights of transgender youth. As an Equal Justice Works fellow at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in San Francisco, Chen conducted national LGBT civil rights impact litigation, legislative and policy advocacy, and public education, including in education, employment, health care, housing, prison, conversion therapy, and child welfare and juvenile justice settings.

He was a member of the litigation team in transgender military ban cases (Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump) and a landmark Ninth Circuit transgender prisoner surgery access case, Edmo v. Corizon. He co-drafted AB 2119, a bill making California the first state to guarantee transition-related health care access for trans youth in foster care. He also wrote the “Trans Youth Handbook,” a first-of-its-kind legal resource guide for trans youth and their families.

“I am thrilled that Harvard Law School is launching the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, which will offer students the opportunity to develop their legal advocacy skills while providing critical services to the LGBTQ+ community. I look forward to rejoining the HLS community, and working together with HLS’s incredible faculty and staff to build this exciting new initiative,” Chen said.

At HLS, Chen will supervise clinical students on client matters related to LGBTQ+ civil rights law and he will teach a course on Gender Identity and the Law. Course topics will include constitutional and statutory law; sex-segregated spaces and activities; religion-, speech-, and ethics-based objections; access to health care and reproductive technology; non-binary and intersex identities; race and transgender experience, and military, family, and prison litigation.

Chen earned a B.A. from the University of Oxford in 2009, an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2012 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2015. At Oxford, Chen was awarded the Wadham College Prize for outstanding performance in final-year examinations. Born in Colorado, the son of Chinese immigrants, Chen was awarded a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship in 2014. Chen has also lived in Southern California, Canada, and Hong Kong.

While a student at HLS, he co-founded Queer Trans People of Color at HLS and the Labor and Employment Action Project at HLS, and he served as a student attorney in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project. He was also an articles editor for the Harvard Law Review, and on the board of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

During the summer following his second year at HLS, he served as a fellow for the National Center for Transgender Equality, in Washington, D.C., where he drafted policy guidance for federal agencies and performed legal research on employment, criminal, administrative, and education issues involving transgender people, and as a legal intern in the Educational Opportunities Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Washington, D.C., where he drafted legal briefs, reviewed depositions, and prepared witnesses for desegregation hearings. He also performed legal research for Department of Education Title IX sexual violence guidelines and reviewed Title IX complaints.

As a 2013 legal intern for the American Civil Liberties Union, LGBT & HIV Project, in New York City, he conducted legal research for LGBT civil rights impact litigation, including on marriage equality (United States v. Windsor), family law, status decriminalization, health care access, and transgender rights.

He served as a clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals for Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Clinical instruction plays an important role in legal education at Harvard Law School. Through the collective work of 44 different legal clinics and student practice organizations, HLS students learn the skills lawyers engage in under the supervision of clinical professors by practicing law on behalf of clients, while helping improve the lives of individuals in need through pro bono legal services. More than 80 percent of JD students take at least one clinic, and more than 40 percent take two or more. Existing HLS clinical programs focus on a wide range of legal areas, from cyber, tax and veterans’ law to human rights, immigration, health and housing law.

Emily Broad Leib named clinical professor of law

via Harvard Law Today

photo of Emily Broad Leib sitting on a rock bench in front of a grass lawn

credit: Jessica Scranton

Emily Broad Leib ’08, founder and director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, has been named clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School. She was formerly an assistant clinical professor at HLS.

A national leader in food law and policy, Broad Leib founded the first food law and policy clinic in the country at Harvard Law School. She has used her position to advocate for improvements to the laws and policies that govern America’s food system, including in the area of food waste. She also serves as deputy director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.

“Emily Broad Leib is a superb teacher and is internationally respected for her groundbreaking work on food law and policy,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Through her commitment, intellectual leadership, and teaching, she has inspired countless students and attorneys to pursue options within the legal system to improve the food system and enhance the well-being of others.”

“I am humbled by my promotion to clinical professor, and full of gratitude at the opportunity to continue working alongside the committed and inspiring faculty, staff, and students of the HLS community. It has been a pleasure to make my home at such a supportive institution that has provided the resources and vision for me to build the first clinic in food law and policy, to develop opportunities for students to learn and participate in the vital field of food law, and to see the impact the Food Law and Policy Clinic has had and will continue to have on policies that impact the environment, health, and social justice,” Broad Leib said.

Broad Leib joined HLS’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation in 2010 as a senior clinical fellow. The following year, in 2011, she founded the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), which provides legal advice to nonprofits and government agencies, while educating law students about ways to use law and policy to impact the food system.

Broad Leib focuses her scholarship, teaching, and practice on finding solutions to some of today’s biggest food law issues, aiming to increase access to healthy foods, eliminate food waste, and support sustainable food production. She has published scholarly articles in the California Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, the Harvard Law & Policy Review, and the Food & Drug Law Journal, among others.

In 2015, she was an inaugural recipient of Harvard University’s Climate Change Solutions Fund. Her project “Reducing Food Waste as a Key to Addressing Climate Change,” was one of seven chosen from around the university to confront the challenge of climate change by leveraging the clinic’s food law and policy expertise to identify systemic solutions to reduce food waste, which is a major driver of climate change.

Under Broad Leib’s direction, FLPC has been advocating for the standardization of date labels since the release of its 2013 report “The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America.” FLPC has also worked with members of Congress on legislation to reform the expiration date system, and Broad Leib testified for Congress on date labels and other areas of federal policy that impact the amount of food that goes to waste. She led work with the two largest food trade associations to implement a voluntary standard for date labels, which will go into effect this year. Last summer, the clinic released a follow up issue brief “Date Labels: The Case for Federal Action.”

Beyond date labels, Broad Leib has led the clinic in supporting food producers, businesses, and government agencies in understanding and improving laws relevant to food waste and food recovery. The clinic’s work has included consulting to government agencies and legislators at the federal level and in nearly two dozen states, and publication of scores of policy reports and toolkits, including Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2018 Farm Bill (2017) and Food Safety Regulations and Guidance for Food Donations: a 50-State Survey of State Practices (2018) and a number of resources to support states and localities in addressing food waste through policy, including “Bans and Beyond: Designing and Implementing Organic Waste Bans and Mandatory Organics Recycling Laws” (2019) and “Keeping Food Out of the Landfill” (2016).

Drawing on this expertise, in 2019, Broad Leib launched the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas project, through which she and clinic staff and students are partnering with local food donation agencies in fifteen countries around the globe to compare and analyze the laws relevant to food donation, and make recommendations for best practices that can help more safe, wholesome food make it to those in need.

In 2016, she was named by Fortune and Food & Wine to their list of 2016’s Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink. Her groundbreaking work has been covered in such media outlets as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, The Guardian, TIME, Politico, and the Washington Post. She has appeared on CBS This Morning, CNN, The Today Show, and MSNBC.

In 2016, Broad Leib partnered with colleagues around the country to found the Academy of Food Law and Policy, the first-ever academic association for the growing number of faculty and scholars teaching and writing in the field of food law and policy. She served as the founding co-chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2019.

After graduating from HLS, Broad Leib spent two years in Clarksdale, Mississippi, as the Joint Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Delta Fellow. She directed the Delta Directions Consortium, a group of university and foundation leaders who collaborate to improve public health and foster economic development in the Delta region. In that role, she worked with community members and outside partners, and with support from more than 60 HLS students, to design and implement programmatic and policy interventions on a range of critical health and economic issues in the region.

Broad Leib’s fellowship work in Mississippi inspired the Mississippi Delta Project, a student practice organization at HLS that provides opportunities for current students to continue advocating for similar issues in the Mississippi Delta region. Broad Leib continues to support that organization as the faculty supervisor. She is also the faculty supervisor for the Harvard Law School Food Law Society.

In 2013, she was appointed deputy director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. In 2015, she was named an assistant clinical professor of law.

Broad Leib received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Columbia University.

Sabrineh Ardalan named clinical professor of law and faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

via Harvard Law Today

Headshot of Sabrineh Ardalan

credit: Martha Stewart

Sabrineh Ardalan ’02, who teaches in the fields of immigration and refugee law and advocacy, was appointed a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, effective January 1.  Ardalan, formerly an assistant clinical professor and assistant director of HIRC, succeeds Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84, founder and inaugural faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic Program.

“Through her outstanding work in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Sabi Ardalan has made vital contributions to litigation, advocacy, pedagogy, and teaching in the important fields of immigration and refugee rights,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Through her exceptional expertise and commitment as a teacher, Sabi has trained countless students to do excellent and impactful work serving countless clients at a critical time.  I thank Debbie Anker for her vision in founding HIRC and training lawyers now working across the globe. I know that Sabi will build on that great foundation to ensure that Harvard Law School continues to lead, to contribute, and to help others through the clinic’s superb work.”

Ardalan joined HIRC as a clinical fellow in 2008. She was appointed a lecturer on law in 2010 and an assistant clinical professor in 2017. In 2012, she was appointed assistant director of HIRC.

At HLS, Ardalan teaches courses on immigration, U.S. asylum law, international refugee law, international labor migration, and trauma, refugees and asylum. In her clinical work, she supervises and trains law students in direct client representation, appellate litigation, research, and policy advocacy.

She has written amicus briefs on cutting-edge issues in U.S. immigration and asylum law submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals, federal district courts, circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ardalan initiated the clinic’s interdisciplinary approach, partnering with an on-site social worker, and currently oversees and collaborates closely with the clinic’s social work staff as part of her teaching and client advocacy. Since 2017, she has helped lead HIRC’s response to the travel ban and border and interior enforcement executive orders, and launched HIRC’s efforts to provide legal and social services to undocumented members of the Harvard community.

Ardalan is a Fulbright specialist at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Faculty of Law for a 2020 project on human rights and legitimacy in European Union and U.S. migration and asylum law. She has been a visiting lecturer on immigration and refugee law at Yale University and at the College of Law and Business in Tel Aviv, Israel. She co-taught an international human rights practicum in New Delhi, India, as an adjunct professor with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Boyd School of Law. In 2016, she conducted research on the development of the asylum system in Morocco and EU border externalization policies as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. In 2015, she was one of the honorees in the HLS International Women’s Day Celebration.

Ardalan’s work has been published or is forthcoming in a wide range of publications, including the Brooklyn Law Review, the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, The Fordham Urban Law Journal, The Leiden Journal of International Law, Westlaw’s Immigration Briefings and in major media publications. Her article, “Trump is Rewriting Asylum Law,” appeared in the Atlantic (Nov. 13, 2018). She has also contributed to several books, including “Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness Expertise and Testimony” (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and “Securitizing Asylum Flows” (Brill, forthcoming).

“I am deeply grateful to the Dean, Clinic Founder Deborah Anker, and Harvard Law School for this opportunity to work with incredible law students and dedicated colleagues to advance the rights of immigrants and refugees,” said Ardalan. “Debbie is a legend in the field who has taught and mentored countless students. I am lucky to be one of them. It is such a privilege to be part of this community. And at a moment when there is an unprecedented assault on immigrants’ rights, it is also our obligation to use our skills to pursue justice.”

Anker, who will continue to support the program as Founder and engage in research in the field, said: “Sabi has that extraordinary combination of commitment to clients, the immigrant community, and brilliant appellate advocacy and scholarship. I know the Program will expand and flourish under her directorship.”

Prior to her work with the clinic, Ardalan clerked for Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She previously served as the Equal Justice America fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, where she worked on advocacy for a right to health care under U.S. and international law, and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine.

She earned a B.A. in history and international studies from Yale University in 1997 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002.

Congratulations To The 2020 Skadden Fellows

via Above The Law

by David Lat

Text on the window of a building written 'Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP'

Credit: David Lat

The holiday season is an opportune time to think not just about Biglaw bonuses, Christmas parties, and vacations, but also about the less fortunate. It’s a time to be thankful for our blessings, but also to share those blessings with others.

So it’s appropriate that this time every year is when we learn about the latest class of Skadden Fellows. As we’ve explained in the past, these prestigious fellowships, “the public-interest world’s version of Supreme Court clerkships or Rhodes Scholarships,” allow their recipients to pursue public interest work on a full-time basis for two years.

Skadden Arps started the program in 1988 to commemorate its 40th anniversary as a law firm, and in honor of the firm’s 70th anniversary in 2018, it extended the program for another decade. According to Kathleen Rubenstein, who took over as executive director of the Skadden Foundation earlier this year from longtime executive director Susan Butler Plum, this latest crop of 28 new fellows will take the total number of fellows to 877 in just over three decades.

When I spoke with Plum last year about the selection process for fellows and their projects, she told me, “We try to stay away from what’s sexy and what’s hot. We focus on the work. Nobody knows what the clients need better than the applicants, because they’ve worked closely with the agencies in developing their proposed projects.”

That said, there’s no denying that the fellows and their projects will reflect current events to some degree. So it should come as no surprise that several of the new fellows will be focusing their work on immigration and on serving immigrant communities. In a piece about the new Skadden Fellows for Big Law Business, Elizabeth Olson shines the spotlight on two such fellows — Juan Bedoya of NYU Law School and Iva Velickovic of Yale Law School — both the children of immigrants themselves.

Congratulations to Bedoya, Velickovic, and the 26 other deserving recipients and thank you for the work that you already have done — and will do, as Skadden Fellows — in service of the public interest.

Here are three lists. The first shows the schools that have sent the most graduates into Skadden Fellowships for the past 12 years (fellowship classes 2009 to 2020). The top four remain unchanged from last year, but this year, with an impressive showing of three fellows, UCLA bumped Penn Carey Law Penn Law out of fifth place.

The second list shows all law schools that have sent graduates into Skadden Fellowships for the same period. The third shows the 2020 Skadden Fellows and the organizations they’ll be working for.

Again, congratulations to the 28 new Skadden Fellows, their 14 law schools, and their sponsoring organizations.


1. Harvard – 59
2. Yale – 46
3. NYU – 32
4. Stanford – 21
5. UCLA – 17


American University – 4
Boston College – 2
Boston University – 1
Chicago – Kent – 1
City University of New York – 8
Columbia – 12
Denver – 1
DePaul – 3
Duke – 4
Fordham – 4
Georgetown – 12
GW – 1
Harvard – 59
Howard – 1
Indiana – 1
John Marshall (Chicago) – 1
Loyola (Los Angeles) – 2
Michigan State – 3
Northeastern – 6
Northwestern – 4
NYU – 32
Roger Williams – 1
Rutgers – 3
Seattle – 1
Stanford – 21
Suffolk – 1
Tulane – 1
University of Arkansas – 1
UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall – 12
UC Davis – 1
UC Irvine – 2
UCLA – 17
U. Chicago – 8
University of Connecticut – 2
University of Illinois – 1
University of Maryland – 3
University of Miami – 1
University of Michigan – 15
U. Penn. – 16
University of Texas – 2
University of Tulsa – 1
UVA – 5
University of Washington – 1
University of Wisconsin – 1
Valparaiso – 1
Vanderbilt – 4
Villanova – 1
Washington & Lee – 2
Wash U. – 3
Wayne State – 1
West Virginia – 1
Widener – 1
William & Mary – 1
William Mitchell – 1
Yale – 46

TOTAL: 341


Esther Araya
Yale Law School
Kids in Need of Defense
Washington, DC
Will identify, represent, and promote access to support services for unaccompanied children subjected to mistreatment, due process violations, and/or abuse in U.S. custody.

Eric Baudry
Yale Law School
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Minneapolis, MN
Will provide direct representation through IRS administrative proceedings of misclassified, low-income Minnesota workers, and coalition building to provide both relief from the negative economic consequences of misclassification and also access to the full range of employment benefits and protections.

Juan Bedoya
New York University School of Law
Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project
Boston, MA
Will provide comprehensive civil legal services for pregnant and parenting immigrants. Will support family unity and stability by providing legal support in child-welfare, education, housing, and public benefits.

Jordan Berger
New York University School of Law
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
New York, NY
Will provide direct representation, policy advocacy, impact litigation, and collaboration with local Social Services Districts in New York State, to achieve systemic reform that protects the rights of people with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness in accessing public benefits.

Alexis Christensen
Georgetown University Law Center
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Washington, DC
Will establish a new project based at the DC Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to provide same-day, on-site advice, and extended representation to low-income clients who are challenging denials, terminations, or reductions in safety net benefits.

Maia Cole
New York University School of Law
Brooklyn Defender Services
Brooklyn, NY
Will provide representation to NYCHA residents facing permanent exclusion from public housing, or seeking to lift a permanent exclusion. Also will develop community education materials and bring affirmative litigation challenging NYCHA’s unjust and illegal practices.

D’Laney Gielow
Yale Law School
Legal Aid Chicago
Chicago, IL
Will revitalize the legal requirement that child welfare agencies make “reasonable efforts” to keep families intact.

Elizabeth Gyori
Harvard Law School
Legal Services NYC, Tenants Rights Coalition
New York, NY
Will vindicate the rights of NYCHA tenants, including those facing privatization of their units under the new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, through direct representation, affirmative litigation, and policy advocacy.

Emma Halas-O’Connor
Northeastern University School of Law
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
Portland, ME
Will ensure that low-income tenants in rural Southern Maine have safe and affordable housing conditions by representing them in affirmative warranty of habitability actions.

John He
University of Michigan Law School
Public Justice Foundation
Oakland, CA
Will combat the imposition and collection of excessive criminal justice fines and fees through legal outreach, impact litigation, and advocacy.

Carly Hite
Stanford Law School
Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo
Buffalo, NY
Will provide direct representation and policy advocacy to reduce the number of Buffalo Public Schools students with disabilities who are suspended. Will advocate for an integrated suspension diversion program.

Ruby Kish
Rutgers University School of Law
Advocates for Children of New Jersey
Newark, NJ
Provide direct legal representation to youth with disabilities involved in New Jersey’s juvenile justice system in matters related to education, allowing them to successfully return to their communities.

Vail Kohnert-Yount
Harvard Law School
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Brownsville, TX
Will provide comprehensive legal services for low-income workers who have experienced workplace abuse or labor exploitation.

Lauren Koster
Boston College Law School
Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts
Lynn, MA
Will provide individualized, comprehensive legal representation for children in foster care with a special focus on ensuring their educational stability and academic achievement, particularly during times of crisis.

Stephano Medina
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Eviction Defense Network
Los Angeles, CA
Will provide direct representation of individuals, community organizations, and coalitions in Los Angeles’ low-income communities of color seeking to fight gentrification and assert their land use rights in the City’s Community Plan Updates, a program which aims to rewrite the local zoning regulations and set the framework for future development in gentrifying communities.

Mariel Mussack
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Justice at Work
Philadelphia, PA
Will address the unique legal needs of workers recruited through temporary labor migration programs, including administrative advocacy, civil litigation, and U & T visas.

Eliana Navarro Gracian
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project
St. Louis, MO
Will provide holistic legal representation and community-based legal education to support U.S. citizen children living in St. Louis and the surrounding rural areas who are separated from their parents as a result of immigration enforcement.

Jared Odessky
Harvard Law School
Legal Aid at Work
San Francisco, CA
Will provide direct representation and community education to support low-wage LGBTQ workers in Fresno County and Tulare County California facing discrimination, harassment, and other work-related issues.

Emanuel Powell
Harvard Law School
ArchCity Defenders
St. Louis, MO
Will enforce Missouri public records laws, impact litigation, community-driven policy advocacy, and pro se tool creation to support the surviving family members of people killed by the police.

Iva Velickovic
Yale Law School
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
Westminster, CO
Will provide direct representation to immigrant children who have suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment to provide stability and fulfill the promise of recently enacted state legislation.

Kelsey White
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Alliance for Children’s Rights
Los Angeles, CA
Will defend the education rights of low-income students of color with disabilities living in foster care, by providing comprehensive direct representation across special education, school discipline, and juvenile court settings.

Vic Wiener
University of Tulsa College of Law
Juvenile Law Center
Philadelphia, PA
Will mobilize communities to end the registration of youth as sex offenders through support and advocacy with individuals and families impacted by youth registration, utilizing a movement lawyering model. Will engage legal service providers to challenge barriers caused by registration.

Jesse Williams
Yale Law School
Legal Aid of North Carolina
Greenville, NC
Will combat land loss in rural North Carolina by directly representing poor, rural landholders — especially those from minority communities and those affected by hurricanes — in consumer debt and property matters; pursuing impact litigation to expand protections for such individuals; and building lasting networks for legal support.

Sam Williamson
University of Maryland School of Law
Homeless Persons Representation Project
Baltimore, MD
Will eliminate barriers to housing, employment, safety, and stability for LGBTQ homeless youth by providing LGBTQ-focused outreach and representation in shelter grievances, discrimination cases, public benefits appeals, criminal record expungements, and petitions to change legal names and gender markers.

Emily Wilson
William & Mary Law School
Equip for Equality
Chicago, IL
Will provide direct representation for transition-age students with disabilities to ensure students receive appropriate transition planning and services that address independent living, education, and employment, in order to improve post-secondary outcomes.

Kath Xu
Yale Law School
American Civil Liberties Union – Women’s Rights Project
New York, NY
Will challenge the use of predictive analytics in the child welfare system through impact litigation, community outreach education, and policy advocacy.

Larisa Zehr
Northeastern University School of Law
Legal Aid Justice Center
Falls Church, VA
Will use individual representation, impact litigation, community education, and policy advocacy to prevent eviction and displacement of low-income Latinx immigrant communities.

Allison Zimmer
New York University School of Law
Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights
New Orleans, LA
Will provide direct representation and policy advocacy to protect the special education rights of New Orleans youth during juvenile incarceration and the transition back into the city’s 100% charter school system.

OCP Welcomes Olivia Klein

Profile photo of Olivia Klein in front of a red brick wall.


The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs is excited to welcome Olivia Klein as Coordinator!

Olivia initially joined the OCP team in June of 2019 as an intern and has remained with the office throughout the fall. She graduated from Simmons University this December with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Business Management. During her time at Simmons University, Olivia was a Writing Assistant for the Writing Center, where she assisted students in first-year writing seminar classes, and was also a tour guide and orientation leader. Previously, Olivia worked with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as a Development Intern, where she created and maintained donor records using The Raiser’s Edge database and assisted with indexing and museum events. Olivia also completed editorial, marketing, sales, operations, and data management projects in her role as Editorial Intern at De Gruyter Inc.

OCP Welcome Communications Coordinator Grace Yuh


Grace Yuh joined the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs as the Communications and Administrative Coordinator in September 2019. Yuh received her B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University this May.

Yuh spent three years as the executive features editor for The Tufts Daily, an independent student-run newspaper. She wrote over 20 feature-length articles about Tufts alumni and student groups committed to addressing gun violence, disability rights, and body positivity, among other issues. She also served as a communications and development intern at BUILD Boston where she developed content for social media and led recruitment campaigns. A member of the Asian American Journalist Association and the Tisch College of Civic Life Honos Civicus Society, Yuh has advocated and led efforts to promote fair coverage of communities of color and diversity in media organizations.

In addition to many other responsibilities, Grace will be writing stories for OCP’s blog and publishing stories that your clinics and SPOs generate.

FLPC Welcomes New Team Member Emma Scott

Via CHLPI Blog 

The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) welcomes Emma Scott to the team as a Clinical Instructor!

Emma joined the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic in August 2019 as a Clinical Instructor. Her work currently focuses on FPLC’s Sustainable and Equitable Food Production Initiative and the Clinic’s ongoing projects in the Mississippi Delta.

Prior to joining FLPC, Emma served as a Justice Catalyst Fellow at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation in the Labor and Civil Rights Litigation Unit. At CRLAF, Emma’s practice focused on group representation of immigrant workers in employment and labor litigation, with an emphasis on farmworkers and the H-2A visa program.  Emma got to know FLPC as an HLS student through the Food Law and Policy Seminar, attending FLPC sponsored conferences, and serving as a Research Assistant to Prof. Emily Broad Leib.  Emma received her B.S. in Social Sciences, with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Studies and International Development, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2010. She graduated from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 2016. She then served as a law clerk to the Hon. John A. Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California from September 2016 to August 2018, assuming the position and responsibilities of Senior Law Clerk in her second year.  She is a licensed member of the California Bar.

Animal Law and Policy Clinic launches at Harvard Law School

Via Harvard Law Today

Credit: Chris Green
Rising 3L Boanne Wassink pets Charlotte, a rescued pig who was on campus for a screening of the documentary “The Last Pig.” Wassink will be one of the inaugural group of students working in the Animal Law & Policy Clinic this September.

Harvard Law School today announced the launch of the new Animal Law & Policy Clinic. Animal protection is one of the fastest developing areas of public interest law. Reflecting this interest, the number of schools in the United States offering Animal Law courses has increased dramatically from only nine institutions in the year 2000 to 167 such law schools today.

The Animal Law & Policy Clinic will provide students with direct hands-on experience in litigation, legislation, administrative practice, and policymaking, both in the U.S. and internationally. The clinic will work on a broad range of issues affecting farmed animals, wildlife, animals in captivity, and the overarching threat to all forms of life from climate change. Establishing such a clinic at HLS will leverage all of Harvard University’s institutional strengths and resources to develop creative strategies utilizing law, science, and public policy. These educational opportunities will enable Harvard Law School students to make crucial contributions to the field while HLS trains a new generation of leaders for the animal protection movement.

The clinic will be part of the Animal Law & Policy Program, led by Faculty Director Professor Kristen Stilt. Announcing the clinic, Stilt said: “The Animal Law & Policy Clinic at HLS will train and prepare our graduates to embark on careers in the animal protection field, produce impactful litigation and policy analysis to benefit the animal protection movement, and provide an internationally renowned platform for educating the broader public about the many pressing issues involving animal law and policy.”

The clinic will be led by Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Katherine Meyer and Clinical Instructor Nicole Negowetti. Recent HLS graduate Kate Barnekow ’19 will be returning to serve as the first Clinical Fellow, and Sarah Pickering will be joining the team as Communications Manager for both the clinic and the program.

Katherine Meyer

Nicole Negowetti

The Animal Law & Policy Clinic’s inauguration is made possible by major gifts from the Brooks McCormick Jr. Trust, the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, the Animal Welfare Trust, and other generous supporters.

“Animal law is a vitally important and rapidly growing field,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85. “Our new Animal Law & Policy Clinic will  give students real-world experience in this burgeoning field, build on Harvard Law School’s long tradition of innovative pedagogy, and prepare future graduates to address significant societal challenges. I am delighted to welcome Katherine Meyer to the Harvard Law School community and congratulate her, Kristen Stilt, and Nicole Negowetti on the launch of this terrific initiative.”

Katherine Meyer joins HLS as one of the most experienced animal protection litigators in the country, having founded the nation’s leading environmental and animal public interest law firm 26 years ago. At Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks, Meyer developed a long track record of training many other leading attorneys now practicing in the animal protection movement––as she did while also teaching Civil Litigation and Public Interest Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center.

“I am thrilled to become part of the team that is launching the new Animal Law & Policy Clinic at Harvard, and very much look forward to mentoring and working with HLS students to advance the very important cause of fighting for non-human animal rights, protection, and conservation,” Meyer said.

Richard Lazarus ’79, the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law, praised both Meyer’s experience and the contributions she will bring to students.

“This is truly thrilling news for our law students and for the entire law school community. Katherine Meyer’s contributions as a public interest lawyer and animal welfare advocate in Washington D.C. are legendary,” said Lazarus, who teaches environmental law at HLS. “She has been a consistent path-breaker and it is wonderful that Harvard Law students will now have the tremendous advantage of learning from Katherine in the law school’s new Animal Law & Policy Clinic.”

Nicole Negowetti is a nationally recognized food systems policy expert, and comes to the Animal Law & Policy Clinic from the HLS Food Law and Policy Clinic, where she was a clinical instructor and lecturer on law. Prior to that she was the Policy Director for the Good Food Institute and an associate professor of law at Valparaiso University. Negowetti has focused her teaching, scholarship, and advocacy on the impacts of industrial livestock production on animal welfare, the environment, and human health. In addition to her work at the Animal Law & Policy Clinic, she will also teach the reading group “Disruptive Food Technologies: Law, Politics, and Policy” in the fall semester.

“I am honored to help launch the Animal Law & Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School,” said Negowetti. “The clinic will provide outstanding training for a new generation of advocates as we identify and pursue high-impact legal strategies to achieve a resilient, healthy, and just food system—for the benefit of human and non-human animals alike.”

One of Negowetti’s current students said: “Nicole’s drive to help others and her unique background, particularly her expertise related to plant-based and cell-based meat regulation, make her an invaluable resource for students like me at Harvard Law. Nicole is patient and supportive of student learning, and has gone out of her way to serve as a mentor to me. It is great news that she will be joining the new Animal Law & Policy Clinic,” said Kelley McGill ’20, co-president of the HLS Animal Law Society.

As Gabriel Wildgen ’20, co-president of the HLS Animal Law Society, explained, “Having advocated for animal protection laws with Humane Society International for over six years, HLS was my obvious first choice because it was the only top law school with a program dedicated to animal law and policy. The world-class faculty and visiting fellows in the Animal Law & Policy Program have exposed me to cutting edge issues, enabling me to focus on my particular interest in the intersection between cruelty to farm animals and the food innovations that are making animal products obsolete. The new Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic will be another huge step forward for Harvard and for the field of animal law as a whole, and I am excited to be taking part in its groundbreaking work.”

The Animal Law & Policy Clinic will develop and strengthen synergies across HLS’s wide-reaching clinical program, given that many of the harmful impacts to animals from major commercial uses have adverse effects on a range of other public interest concerns, including environmental protection, labor rights, human rights, and other social justice issues. As one example, the externalities of industrial animal agriculture, such as air and water contamination, food safety risks, worker exploitation, and greenhouse gas emissions, present an opportunity for collective legal action by a consortium of affected constituencies. The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic will be able to convene and represent a diverse coalition of stakeholders who are injured by such practices, and thus build a strong foundation for catalyzing change.

FLPC Welcomes New Team Member Melissa Shapiro

Via the Center for Health Law and Policy

Melissa Shapiro

The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) welcomes Melissa Shapiro to the team as a Clinical Instructor!

Melissa joined the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic in July 2019 as a Clinical Instructor.

Immediately prior to coming to FLPC, Melissa served as a consultant to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, working with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to increase the visibility of the right to food mandate, and as an Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel. Melissa received her J.D. and Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School in 2016, where she led the Food and Agricultural Law Society and worked with Hunger Free Vermont as a Schweitzer Fellow. Melissa received her B.A. in Human Ecology from Middlebury College in 2013. She is a licensed member of the bar of the State of New York.

Rachel Krol ’12 and Sara del Nido Budish ’13 named co-Assistant Directors of HNMCP

Via the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program 

Rachel Krol

The Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) is pleased to announce that Rachel Krol ’12 and Sara del Nido Budish ’13 have been promoted to co-Assistant Directors of HNMCP.  They will also be continuing their activities as Clinical Instructors in the Dispute Systems Design Clinic.

In their roles as Assistant Directors, Krol and Budish will help establish and pursue strategic priorities and curricular objectives for HNMCP, and assist with various administrative and programmatic aspects of HNMCP’s activities.  Krol will have primary responsibility for managing the processes of the Dispute Systems Design clinic and supervising clinical instructors in their project work.  Budish will have primary responsibility for creating, implementing, and managing HNMCP’s communication and content strategy and supervising the Clinical Fellow, Harvard Mediation Program staff, and student organizations (HLS Negotiators, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, and the Harvard Mediation Program).

Sara del Nido Budish

“I am overjoyed that Sara and Rachel Krol have agreed to take on leadership roles within HNMCP,” said Director of HNMCP and Assistant Clinical Professor Rachel Viscomi.  “Rachel and Sara are each enormously talented and committed to our work, our field, and our students. Their teaching, supervision of students, work with clients, and insight have made a huge impact over the last several years. I am thrilled that our program will continue to benefit from their wisdom and guidance, and grateful that they will be my partners in leading the next phase of the clinic’s work.”

Krol and Budish were both clinic students in HNMCP during their time at Harvard Law School, and since returning as alums they have served in a variety of roles within HNMCP, including as Clinical Instructors and teaching team members for numerous courses in negotiation and dispute systems design.

“I couldn’t be more excited for this unique opportunity to support HNMCP’s growth, development, and impact,” said Budish. “I’ve been so inspired by the work of our students, clients, and colleagues across the country who share a commitment to constructive conflict engagement, and it’s a gift to be able to deepen our program’s connections and build new ones.”

Krol added, “I echo Sara’s sentiments and look forward to contributing to the vibrant HNMCP community in this new role. I am honored to continue supporting our efforts to provide meaningful educational opportunities for our students and high-quality services for our clients.”

Before joining HNMCP, Krol taught negotiation at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and practiced law at the firms Drinker, Biddle, & Reath LLP and Ahmad Zaffarese LLC in Philadelphia.  Budish previously served as a Research Associate in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School, where she wrote case studies and helped design a curriculum focused on negotiation and incentive systems.


Sheryl Dickey Named a 2019 Harvard Hero

By: Olivia Klein

OCP and OPIA staff with award winner Sheryl Dickey (middle)

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) is proud to celebrate Sheryl Dickey, Attorney Advisor for the LL.M. Pro Bono Program, as she receives the 2019 Harvard Heroes Award. Sheryl has a been an integral part of the OCP office since she joined Harvard Law School (HLS). She is incredibly deserving of this recognition.

Sheryl joined HLS in 2013. She received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law, and she later earned her LL.M. in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. For several years, Sheryl worked as a litigator with White & Case LLP where she also represented several pro bono clients on matters related to family law and social security benefits. Sheryl went on to spend five years at Vermont Law School, serving first as a Clinical Fellow in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) and then as an Assistant Professor, Acting Director and Consulting Attorney in the Clinic.

At OCP, Sheryl is a strong resource for HLS students interested in law firm pro bono work. She advises LL.M. students interested in in-house clinics, externships, and pro bono opportunities and provides J.D. students with general clinic advising. She has also been a leader on a range of special projects, including the development of an online ethics tutorial in collaboration with clinical faculty and the HLS Library and helping organize the HLS in the Community Event in April 2018 as a part of the HLS Bicentennial Celebration.

Sheryl’s thoughtful, attentive, and cheerful nature has made her an incredible asset to the office. In her glowing nomination, Lisa Dealy, Assistant Dean for Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, noted that Sheryl is “incredibly smart and detail-oriented . . . full of creative ideas and proactively addresses issues before they become problems.” Assistant Dean Dealy also stated that Sheryl is a “natural collaborator, facilitator, and innovative problem solver,” and is sought out as a teammate from others across departments. “Sheryl is the epitome of excellence in everything she does,” Assistant Dean Dealy exclaimed.

In response to receiving this award, Ms. Dickey stated, “I am deeply honored to receive this award. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with an outstanding team at OCP and across the law school to help students gain practical experience while also serving the community.”

The Harvard Heroes program celebrates high-performing staff across every school, recognizing them for their dedication and accomplishments each school year. Nominated by their departments and peers, these staff members exemplify the best that Harvard has to offer in qualities such as leadership, service, teamwork, and innovation. Only 60 Heroes are named university-wide each year, making it an honor of great prestige.

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends its warmest congratulations to Sheryl!

Project on Predatory Student Lending Director Toby Merrill Honored by the American Constitution Society

Via the Project on Predatory Student Lending

Toby Merrill Credit: Martha Stewart

At the American Constitution Society’s National Convention in Washington, D.C. this week, Project on Predatory Student Lending director and founder Toby Merrill was honored as a finalist for the prestigious David Carliner Public Interest Award. The American Constitution Society(ACS) is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization.

David Carliner, whom the award honors, was a champion of justice throughout his career, devoted to protecting civil and human rights and combating injustice on a systemic basis. The award recognizes outstanding public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies Carliner’s legacy.

Toby has been a fierce advocate for students cheated by for-profit colleges since she founded the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2012, and has since led the Project’s team of attorneys in winning groundbreaking court victories in landmark cases protecting and advancing the rights of defrauded students. The Project is part of Harvard Law School’s clinical program, and a number of its clinical students have gone on to pursue careers to attacking the big, systemic issues that have allowed such a predatory industry to thrive for so long.

“David Carliner was a true civil rights champion, and I’m honored to to be associated with this award named for him,” Toby said. “The Project’s clients have been treated so unfairly—first by a predatory industry and then by a government that refuses to recognize their rights. This recognition is a testament to their willingness to stand up and fight for their own rights and the rights of the millions of students across this country who were seeking a better life through higher education, and instead were lied to and ripped off by for-profit colleges. The billions of dollars of debt that the government tries to collect from them every day is illegitimate.

“In addition to our clients’ bravery and perseverance, the Project’s work is driven by its dedicated staff and clinical students,” Toby added. “They inspire me every day, and I’m lucky to stand up for our clients with such an amazing team.”

The Project represents thousands of former for-profit college students across the country. The Project has cases against for-profit college companies, and against the Department of Education for enabling and supporting this predatory industry. Many of the Project’s clients are people of color, veterans, and immigrants. Most are the first in their family to attend college. The Project’s work supports its broader goals of economic justice and racial equality.

The Project is part of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (LSC), a community law office and clinical teaching site of the law school. Clinical students join the Project’s staff to litigate cases on behalf of clients, in partnership with community-based and advocacy organizations.


Lynn Weissberg receives an honor from the Massachusetts Chapter for the National Lawyers Guild

By: Alexis Farmer

Lynn Weissberg

On May 17, 2019 the National Lawyers Guild – Massachusetts Chapter (NLG) celebrated its fifty year anniversary at St. Paul African Methodist Life Center in Cambridge. The NLG celebrated its achievements in supporting social movements over the years, from defending anti-war demonstrators against criminal charges in the late 1960s to representing labor unions, prison activists, tenants with substandard housing conditions, and tenants in eviction proceedings more recently. During the celebration, the organization honored long-time activist and former clinical instructor at Harvard Law School Lynn Weissberg.

Lynn Weissberg has been a fierce advocate for social justice throughout her forty-year legal career. At Weissberg & Garin LLP, Weissberg vigorously fought on behalf of her clients in a wide variety of employment cases, representing academics and professionals, low-wage workers, and women facing discrimination in non-traditional jobs such as firefighters and heavy machine operators. She is a founding member of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association and was an Executive Committee member and committee chair until her retirement.

Weissberg has often been politically active since her college days. While at Brandeis University, she worked on Al Lowenstein’s congressional campaign and after graduating cum laude in 1969, she worked for former New York City Mayor John Lindsay. Believing teaching was a way to promote social change, she received her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Harvard in 1972 and taught for five years at the George Bancroft School, an alternative public school in Boston’s South End. After graduating cum laude from Boston College Law School in 1979, Weissberg worked as a staff attorney at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, representing people who had been discriminated against in employment and housing.

For over 35 years at the Tenant Advocacy Project, Weissberg supervised law students who represent public housing tenants in eviction cases and Section 8 tenants in subsidy termination cases. Through her work at TAP, hundreds of tenants were able to keep their homes. Many law students gained practical experience and a wonderful mentor and role model under Weissberg’s guidance.

Congratulations to Lynn Weissberg on a well-deserved honor. We are profoundly grateful for all of your years of service supervising and mentoring students, and advancing access to affordable housing for people in Greater Boston.

Lynn joins a list of other Harvard Law School clinicians honored by the National Lawyers Guild Massachusetts Chapter, including Deborah Anker, David Grossman, Nancy Kelly, John Willshire-Carrera, and John Salsberg.

Two Clinical Staff Members Receive the Dean’s Award for Excellence

Congratulations to Dana Walters and Carol Flores, who are recipients of the 2019 Dean’s Award for Excellence. The award honors staff members who exemplify the spirit of excellence in the Harvard Law School community through leadership, collaboration, commitment and innovation.

Carol Flores, Administrative Coordinator, Criminal Justice Institute (CJI)

Carol Flores

Since August 2016, Carol Flores has managed the logistics of both the Fall and Winter Trial Advocacy Workshops, each of which consists of about 100+ students, 90+ visiting faculty members, and 30-60 volunteers.  When a new Trial Advocacy winter session course was announced as part of the Law School’s 1L January Experiential Term, Carol jumped in to help.

With the spirit of innovation and collaboration, Carol partnered with the program’s director and other team members, created monthly and weekly meetings to keep things organized, took on extra work, and brought everything together to support the creation of the inaugural 1L Introduction to Trial Advocacy Workshop. She did all of this on top of maintaining her roles as faculty assistant and administrative coordinator to CJI and pursuing a degree in Legal Studies at the Extension School. Carol also recently became the first-ever staff member to receive the Harvard Women’s Law Association Shatter the Ceiling Award, which recognized her strong impact on the student body. Her nominators note, “Carol’s positive can-do attitude is undoubtedly reliable, and her work product is seamless. Her dedication and drive are both forces to be reckoned with. Carol is always reflecting and looking for ways to do things even better the next time. She is humble, dedicated, hardworking, and driven to make sure whatever she touches is the best it can be.”


Dana Walters, Program and Communications Coordinator, Human Rights Program (HRP)

Dana Walters and Dean John Manning at the Dean’s Award for Excellence Ceremony on May 22. Credit: Martha Stewart

Dana joined the Human Rights Program in 2017, and quickly established herself as an exemplary colleague. She works collaboratively, innovates to increase impact and efficiency, and leads important aspects of the Human Rights Program. Supporting both the clinic and the academic program, Dana also took on communications responsibilities when a colleague left and did so with seamless transition. Since then, she has started an Instagram account and has significantly expanded the HRP presence and reach across numerous platforms, tailoring our outreach to different constituents and increasing engagement with HRP’s work.

Because of her collaborative nature and creative problem-solving skills, Professor Giannini asked Dana to work with him on innovative pedagogy projects. She has supported HRP’s advanced human rights clinical seminar and J-term courses where she actively facilitates group activities and helps design sessions. Her nominators describe her as “exceptional” and note that they “feel privileged to work alongside such a dedicated and creative colleague, highlighting that, “Dana has excelled in promoting a culture of collaboration across the Program, and is committed to seeing challenging tasks through to completion.”

Phil Torrey wins 2019 HLS Student Government Teaching & Advising Award

Via the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program 

We are proud to announce that our Managing Attorney, Phil Torrey, won a 2019 HLS Student Government Teaching & Advising Award. We are honored to have Phil as part of our team and we thank him for his tireless dedication to his students and to the Clinic. Congrats, Phil!

Here are some quotes from student nominators:

“Phil is responsive, considerate, and provides thorough feedback.”

“Phil has taught me more about lawyering and litigation than any other individual at HLS…The time and energy that he puts into mentoring and teaching is incredible; the behavior that he models as a lawyer is exceptional.”

“He is a tireless advocate for some of the most vulnerable clients.”

“I am truly lucky to have had the privilege to learn from Phil.”

“Phil is the best mentor I have ever had…[he] is able to find that rare balance of providing us with enough guidance and direction to maintain our confidence in and the high quality of our work, while allowing us, the students, to drive our cases and make substantive decisions about our cases.”

“Because of his teaching and guidance…I feel prepared for my summer job and for engaging in legal work upon graduation.”

“I mean it when I say that I wish all other faculty members were more like him.”

PLAP’s Shanell Lavery Honored with WLA Shatter the Ceiling Award

By: PLAP’s Executive Board

On Wednesday, April 17th, the Harvard Women’s Law Association (WLA) is holding their annual Shatter the Ceiling Awards ceremony. Each spring, the WLA recognizes the people who represent the gold standard for promoting inclusiveness and equality, both at Harvard Law School and beyond.

Shanell Lavery, program manager of the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), is being awarded with WLA’s Shatter the Ceiling Award for Staff Excellence in Promoting Equity and Justice. Lavery is a tireless advocate and the work PLAP does would not be possible without her. We are so grateful for her leadership and hard work.

Shanell Lavery

Below are a few important reflections on Shanell Lavery’s work with PLAP:

“Shanell hit the ground running at PLAP.  She has a deft touch with students, striking that important balance of supporting students as they operate a student-led organization, while being hands-on enough to ensure that the office runs smoothly.  She fulfills an important role for us as the face of the office, interacting with students, interns, prisoners, other HLS offices and staff, prison officials, and parole officials. Across all of those interactions, she demonstrates real professionalism, which ensures that the office runs smoothly and also serves as a model for law students.  We’re lucky to have her.”

– Joel Thompson, PLAP Supervising Attorney

“Shanell goes above and beyond for PLAP. She keeps the office running so smoothly that we often don’t even realize just how much she does. She often gives up her own time to meet with people or help with the office after hours. She also knows virtually every member of PLAP (not an easy task in such a large organization), and has been a wonderful resource and friend. I have loved working with Shanell and I will miss working with her after I graduate.”

– Kaitlyn Gerber, 2018-19 PLAP Executive Director

“In addition to being amazing at her job, Shanell is an amazing mother, commuting all the way from Providence to spend her days with us, but always getting her kids to school before she comes here and supporting them every step of the way alongside her wife. In daily work, Shanell is on top of so many thankless tasks that student attorneys may never even think about because she’s there behind the scenes. Every year, she deals with the logistical nightmare of getting every single member of PLAP approved by DOC. Having the system set up through Shanell means that we don’t run into any issues when we show up at the door. Our work could not happen without her.”

– Rachel Kroll, 2018-19 Legal Resources Manager

This year’s Shatter the Ceiling Award honorees include:

  • Shanell Lavery, for Staff Excellence in Fostering Equity and Justice,
  • Da Lin, for Excellence in Fostering an Inclusive Classroom,
  • Judge Lauren Reeder, for Alumni Excellence and,
  •  All Professors who Signed the Kavanaugh Letter, for Excellence in Promoting Gender Equity (Judge Nancy Gertner will be accepting on behalf of this group)

2019 Skadden Fellows

By: Mahalia Mathelier, OCP Intern

Congratulations to Kamala Buchanan, Elizabeth Soltan, and Michael Zuckerman on their acceptances to the 2019 class of Skadden Fellows! The Skadden Fellowship offers young lawyers two year Fellowships to pursue public interest law on a full-time basis. The Skadden Foundation aims to expand the legal services available to economically disadvantaged communities, by supporting newly graduated lawyers to pursue work they are passionate about, and to help them establish long term public interest careers. The Skadden Fellowship Foundation launched in 1988, and has funded over 800 Fellowships to date.  90% of the former Fellows continue to work in the non-profit sector. All three Harvard Law School (HLS) student awardees actively engaged in the clinical program during their time at HLS.

Head shot of Kamala Buchanan J.D. '19

Kamala Buchanan J.D. ’19 Credit: Dave Cross

Kamala Buchanan is the Executive Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a student-run clinic providing civil legal services to low-income people in the Greater Boston Area. Buchanan will spend her Fellowship at the Georgia Legal Services Program. She will provide direct representation and community education to low-income students of color in various Georgia counties to address racially disparate public-school discipline.

Head shot of Elizabeth Soltan, J.D. '19

Elizabeth Soltan, J.D. ’19 Credit: Dave Cross

Like Kamala, Elizabeth Soltan, has spent two years as a clinical student at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. During her first year of law school, Soltan was active in the Tenant Advocacy Project, a student practice organization where students represent tenants of and applicants to public and subsided housing at administrative hearings through greater Boston. Soltan will work as a Skadden Fellow at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. Her project will focus on expanding the medical-legal partnership in West Philadelphia. In this role, she hopes to stabilize the income of families with newborns by providing them with employment and public benefits representation.

Michael Zukerman, J.D. ’10 Credit: Dave Cross

For former Harvard Law Review president, Michael Zuckerman, the road the public-service law was paved from childhood. Zuckerman’s father was an attorney, whose legacy of pro bono litigation and helping others challenge injustice through the law inspired Zuckerman, and made him realize that work in the public-sector was something he could truly take joy in. Zuckerman participated in several clinics during his time at the law school, including Judicial Process in Community Courts and the Criminal Justice Institute. He will be working at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, an organization fighting to protect the rights and dignities of incarcerated people and helping people who have been incarcerated overcome barriers to rebuilding their lives. As a Skadden Fellow, Zuckerman plans to establish a practice in Avondale, one of Cincinnati’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and provide direct representation to citizens re-entering from incarceration to help them overcome legal barriers.

Judy Murciano, Associate Director and Director of Fellowships in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) works tirelessly to help students like Buchanan, Soltan, and Zuckerman brainstorm, draft, and polish fellowship applications. She’s helped many students achieve distinguished fellowships that provide a promising launching pad into their career in public service.

Congratulations to all of the Fellows!

Yee Htun Honored by Harvard Women’s Law Association as a Woman Inspiring Change

Via the International Human Rights Clinic 

By: Susan Farbstein

We’re thrilled to share this happy news: in honor of International Women’s Day 2019, the Clinic’s very own Yee Htun has been selected by the Harvard Women’s Law Association as a “Women Inspiring Change.” To say this honor is well deserved would be an understatement.

Yee Htun was honored by her colleagues and students at the WLA reception on Monday, March 11. From left to right: Program Coordinator Dana Walters, Delphine Rodrik JD’20, Elise Baranouski JD’20, Rez Gardi LLM’19, Anna Rembar JD’19, Yee Htun, Lecturer on Law Anna Crowe LLM’12, Eun Sung Yang JD’20, Luna Borges Pereira Santos JD’19, and Isabel Pitaro JD’20.

Since joining the Clinic in 2016, Yee has guided teams of students as they engage with some of the gravest and most pressing human rights issues facing her native Myanmar: ending violence against women and girls, decriminalizing sodomy laws and enshrining LGBTQI rights, repealing or revising laws that encroach on freedom of expression, documenting hate speech and designing strategies to promote tolerance, spearheading coordination between local and international organizations seeking accountability for atrocities, and improving land rights for the rural poor.

Yee’s personal story is also inspiring. Yee fled Myanmar as a young child in the late 1980s, following the military junta’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.  After five years in a Thai refugee camp with her mother and sisters, the family emigrated to Canada as government-sponsored refugees. Yee would go on to earn a J.D. specialized in international law, to be selected by the Nobel Women’s Initiative to lead the first-ever international campaign to stop rape and sexual violence in conflict, and to serve as the inaugural director of the Myanmar Program at Justice Trust.

But Yee’s dazzling resume, strategic judgment, and legal accomplishments pale in comparison to who she is as a person.  She earns your respect and admiration without an ounce of ego. Students are in awe of Yee without being intimidated by her. She’s a hug and a shot of adrenaline, all rolled into one.

My co-director, Tyler Giannini, echoes this sentiment: “There are people who just naturally connect with others and inspire them to action—Yee is one of them.  She has a tremendous ability to bring people together, which is so critical in a place like Myanmar where the military has tried to divide people for so long. She leads with her energy, which is contagious. And she leads with her commitment to justice, which is unwavering.”

In January 2019, Yee (right) traveled to Myanmar with her clinical team. From right to left, Paras Shah JD’19, Judy Beals, Assistant Director, Religious Literacy Project, Delphine Rodrik JD’20, Chloe Do JD’19, and Ginger Cline JD’20.

I have watched, again and again, as clinical teams working with Yee are transformed by the experience—discovering not just their passion for human rights but also the confidence to act, speak, and lead in ways that they might never have imagined without her support and mentorship.

So it comes as no surprise that Yee’s students nominated her for this recognition, singling out her “courage, empathy, and tenacity” as particularly inspiring. Describing a recent trip to Myanmar, the students emphasized her incomparable “optimism and relentless advocacy” as she balanced strategizing with local partners, drafting human rights reports, and leading workshops, all while mentoring and training them.

I first met Yee at a staff meeting when I returned from a semester of leave and was immediately drawn in by her confidence, sincerity, and good humor. As she discussed the work that she and her students had undertaken that term, I was overwhelmed by how much she had accomplished, and energized by her warmth and enthusiasm. I still feel that way every time we speak—impressed, inspired, and invigorated.

Yee, thank you for giving so much of yourself to your students and your work. Thank you for being not only a generous colleague, but also a friend and a true role model. Thank you for motivating us all to rise to your level.

HRP Welcomes New Spring Staff to the International Human Rights Clinic

Via the International Human Rights Clinic

With the semester already off to a great start, we’d like to extend the warmest welcome to our new spring staff! We have two new members of the International Human Rights Clinic. Read below to learn more about them and make sure to stop by and introduce yourself.

Nicolette Waldman, Senior Clinical Fellow

Nicolette Waldman is a Senior Clinical Fellow for the Spring 2019 term. Previously, she was a researcher on Iraq and Syria for Amnesty International; a researcher for the Center for Civilians in Conflict, covering Gaza, Somalia, Libya and Bosnia; a legal fellow at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul; a program manager for Save the Children in the West Bank and Gaza; a Fulbright scholar in Jordan; and a senior associate in the legal and policy division at Human Rights Watch in New York. Waldman has a B.A. in International Affairs and English Literature from Lewis & Clark College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and is a member of the State Bar of New York.


Jim Wormington, Clinical Instructor

Jim Wormington is a Clinical Instructor for the Spring 2019 term. He is also a researcher at Human Rights Watch in the Africa Division, where he covers West Africa. He was previously an attorney at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, where he conducted research to inform rule of law and human rights development programs, and implemented programs in West and Central Africa. Wormington has also worked at the International Crisis Group and the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is an English-trained barrister, an associate member of QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers, and was educated at Cambridge University (MA) and New York University School of Law (LLM). He is fluent in French.


CHLPI Welcomes New Team Member Kristin Sukys

Via the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) and the Health Law and Policy Clinic welcome Kristin Sukys to the team as a Policy Analyst!

Kristin joined the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School as Project Consultant in August 2018 leading the GIS analysis for the Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan and is currently a Policy Analyst working on HLPC’s whole-person care initiatives.

Kristin graduated in May 2018 with a Masters of Science degree in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Specializing in community food systems and public health, her work focused on the intersection of our health care and food systems. Prior to graduate school, she received a B.A. in International Relations specializing in Environmental Issues from Virginia Tech.

A New Harvard Law Building Opens on Mass Ave

Via Harvard Law Today

Credit: NBBJ Boston

By: Clea Simon

Citing its future role in “innovation, deep learning, collegiality, and service,” Dean John F. Manning saluted the opening of the Harvard Law School’s newest building, at 1607 Massachusetts Avenue, on Monday evening. At a joyful reception in the open first floor, guests, faculty and community members nibbled pizza and sweets while taking in enlarged photos of the location’s previous incarnations, watching a time-lapse film of the structure’s 12 months of construction and queuing up for tours of the interior. Raising a glass of champagne, Manning thanked the many individuals from Harvard Law School and the City of Cambridge who had made the building possible, and he hailed the LEED Gold certified building as “designed to inspire and provoke collaboration.”

Indeed, the sleek wood and brick structure, which sits across Everett Street from HLS’s Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Students Center, and Clinical Wing building, was created to foster and expand the law school’s experiential and clinical learning and tosupport research programs. Along with space for faculty offices and other future uses, 1607 Massachusetts Avenue, the first Harvard Law School project designed by Alex Krieger, a principal of NBBJ and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, will provide elbow room for Harvard Law’s clinical education and research.  It will serve as the new home for the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, which includes the Health Law and Policy Clinic and also the Food Law and Policy Clinic. The building will also house the Criminal Justice Institute and the Harvard Defenders, a clinical program and student practice organization, respectively, in which students represent clients in criminal hearings; the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change; the Animal Law & Policy Program; and the Access to Justice Lab.

“This new building reflects a commitment from both former Dean Martha Minow and our current dean to having a law school curriculum that reflects the needs of our law students and the community writ large,” said Clinical Professor Robert Greenwald, director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.

Clinical or experiential learning, Greenwald said, “needs a very different kind of space” than traditional lecture halls or classrooms. As an example, he described the new Health Law and Policy Clinic space, which features open areas, where students can work collaboratively, as well as more private offices and conference rooms. “A lot of the work happens via Skype and other electronic communication,” he said. “So all of our offices are designed for that.”

 Credit: Lorin Ganger

“The new building will provide invaluable space for the clinical programs and modern facilities to engage in the lawyering advocacy and teaching that are at the heart of the clinical programs,” said Clinical Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Experiential and Clinical Education Daniel L. Nagin. “This space will promote collaboration and enhance the ability of staff and students and faculty to interact and think across boundaries,” he added.

Continue reading.

HLS Students Honored for Their Pro Bono Work

HLS alumna Amy Volz, J.D. ’18 and the other recipients of the 2018 Adams Pro Bono award pictured (left to right) with Chief Justice Ralph Gants ’80, Justice Kimberly Budd ’91, and Elizabeth Ennen Esq., Chair of the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs offers its heartfelt congratulations to the 55 Harvard Law students that were recognized by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services for their commitment to pro bono work. The ceremony was held at the Adams Courthouse on October 18 and the students are listed on the SJC’s Pro Bono Honor Roll website.

The recognition is presented annually to law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government attorney offices, non-profit organizations, law school faculties, and law students who certify that they have contributed at least 50 hours of legal services without receiving pay or academic credit.

Alumua Amy Volz ’18 was also honored with a Pro Bono Publico Award for being someone who demonstrated an outstanding and exceptional commitment to providing unpaid legal services to those in need for her extensive pro bono work at HLS. During her time at HLS, Volz contributed thousands of hours of pro bono service to clients through the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), the International Human Rights Clinic, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).


Charmaine Archer JD’19 Karin Drucker JD’19 Margaret Huang JD’19 Daniel Reis JD’20
Lindsay Bailey JD’19 Jenna El-Fakih JD’20 Milo Rohr Inglehart JD’19  Joseph Rosenberg JD’19
Megan Barnes JD’19 Ian Eppler JD’19  Jason Kohn JD’19 Bradford Sherman JD’19
Nathan Berla-Shulock JD’19 Mingming Feng JD ’20  Sarah Libowsky JD’20  Laura Smith JD’20
Katrina Marie Black JD’19 Rebecca Friedman JD’19 Daniela Lorenzo JD’19  Elizabeth Soltan JD’19
Laura Bloomer JD’19 Lindsay Funk JD ’20 Marissa Marandola JD’19 Benjamin Spiegel JD’20
Elizabeth Carr JD’20 Anna Gee JD ’19 Deborah Mariottini JD’19 Teresa Spinelli JD’19
Jenny M. Chan JD’19 Kaitlyn Gerber JD’19 Allena Martin JD’19  Bing Sun JD’19
Willy Chotzen-Freund JD’19 Jillian Goodman JD ’19  Marissa McGarry JD’19  Isabelle Sun JD’19
Chloe Cotton JD’20 Elizabeth H. Gyori JD ’19 Patrick Nowak JD’19 Jianing Xie JD’19
D Dangaran JD’20 Andrew Leon Hanna JD’19  Kiera O’Rourke JD’20
Alyxandra Darensbourg JD’20  Michael Haley JD’19  David Papas JD’19
Dalia Deak JD’19  Josephine Herman JD’20 Madelyn Petersen JD’19
Lolita De Palma JD’20  Felipe Hernandez JD’20  Heather Pickerell JD’20
Yang Ding JD’19 Rebekah K. Holtz JD’19 Emanuel Powell JD’ 19
Older posts