Snapshot: Katalin Dobias LL.M. ’13

During her LL.M. year at HLS, Kati greatly valued her work with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Rights Clinic. Her winter term independent clinical with the Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University brought her to Israel at a critical time:  Kati explained that Israel has only recently become a country of destination for refugees, and the country is in the process of developing its laws, policies and indeed its positions on refugee rights. More urgently, her first client, a HIV-positive South Sudanese man with three young children, was facing immediate deportation. The Clinic’s efforts were successful, resulting in a temporary residence permit for the family on humanitarian grounds. “The strategy for an eight-month case is very different from what happens when someone is facing a two-week order,” Kati said. “It was great that I could make a contribution in two weeks.” Her work in Israel involved both direct client service (drafting affidavits, researching country conditions and precedents, and preparing clients for hearings) and policy research (helping with a position paper that advocates for the development of a Convention Against Torture procedure in Israel). Kati recognized the challenges of translating classroom and clinical work into the field: “I had to learn to walk a very fine line respecting religious, cultural and political sensitivities to be able to help our clients,” she remembered. Still, her winter term in Tel Aviv has “greatly reaffirmed [her] commitment” to working with refugees after graduation:  “That’s why I came to Harvard, and that’s why I’m a lawyer.”

(Please visit “Winter Term 2013: Snapshots from Students” to read about other recent projects.)

Lauren Herman (JD ’13), 2012 Chayes Fellow, on her work with Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

“I just got back from a day in court where my organization was defending two cases. The first was for a group of Druze sheikhs who were indicted for traveling to Syria and the second was for the Arab member of the Knesset who helped organize the trip for them (and was claiming parliamentary immunity). This is the third case so far this summer where Adalah has represented members of parliament; it’s been really interesting. Above is a picture of Jerusalem from ourfirst trip to the Supreme Court last month.”

Jaime Latcham (JD ’12) and Joslyn Massengale (JD ’12) on their time in Israel doing an independent clinical program with a Winter Term International Travel Grant at the Refugee Rights Clinic, Tel Aviv University

“Refugee law is in a constant state of flux in Israel, and at the clinic our work focuses on both representing individual clients as well as challenging administrative regulations that we believe violate the rights of asylum-seekers. Last week our clinic argued a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the prohibition on work. We are now deciding how best to challenge other new policies, such as the detention of asylum-seekers when they present themselves to register, and the lack of a meaningful appeals process.”