Winter Term Opportunities: Writing and Clinical Projects and International Travel Grants

Tuesday, October 8
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Austin 111

Upper-year J.D. and LL.M. students at HLS can apply to participate in winter term writing or clinical projects.  Students who will be traveling abroad in furtherance of an approved winter term writing or clinical project are eligible to apply for Winter Term International Travel Grants.  Come find out more!

Please feel free to bring your lunch.

(For information about Winter Term Abroad at Harvard Law School, and a link to the Winter Term International Travel Grant Program, click here.)

Snapshot: Derek Galley, J.D./M.U.P. ’14

Just a week before Derek arrived in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the city implemented a new program eliminating fares on public transportation for city residents. For Derek — who came to Harvard to study urban planning, then became interested in how legal institutions affect how cities develop — this was a local experiment with global significance. “An idea like this helps people get around and save money, but it also challenges the traditional ways that the law thinks about how cities should be governed,” he explained, involving issues ranging from fiscal structures and shifts in urban population to politically marginalized communities. By traveling to Tallinn, Derek was able to do archival research with medieval documents that helped to explain Estonia’s long tradition of local autonomy, then visit City Hall to interview the deputy mayor and director of transportation. Equally important, “I could wait at a bus stop, ask people for change (because I still had to pay), and see who was using the bus,” Derek remembered; “It’s a popular policy, voted in by a referendum, but there was also a lot of cynicism, a sense of disillusionment with the politics behind it.” His winter term project has given him a “rich vein of material” for his academic work and an appetite for more international travel:  “I want to go to places where there’s something to learn from.”

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

Snapshot: Samiron Ray ’14

A growing interest in start-ups, incubators and entrepreneurship took Samiron to Santiago to look closely at Start-Up Chile, a program created by the Chilean government that provides grants to entrepreneurs from around the world willing to relocate to Santiago and grow their businesses there. “Although Chile is a fast-growing economy and has a stable political system, it has not been traditionally thought of as an entrepreneurial country,” Samiron said; “the government takes no equity stake in the ventures, but instead hopes that the presence of hundreds of entrepreneurs in Chile will help establish its own version of Silicon Valley.” During his trip, Samiron interviewed program staff, attended Start-Up Chile social events and functions. and met with  entrepreneurs participating in the program and with lawyers and investors working with them. By talking with “the people in the trenches,” he was able to look at the financial and business concerns facing the entrepreneurs, ranging from personal liability to employment issues, and explore the ways in which government infrastructures and legal institutions might hinder or support business growth. “I am fascinated by the intersection of law, entrepreneurship, and economic development,” Samiron explained, an interest that he has also explored in working with Harvard’s Innovation Lab and the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic.

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


Snapshot: Stephen Lam ’13

Stephen’s winter term writing project focused on understanding the legal and regulatory impact that efforts to transform the Chinese Renminbi into an international currency will have on the development of Chinese capital markets and on the future development of China as a financial actor. By traveling to Beijing and Hong Kong in January, he was able to interview experts — including law firm partners, financial economists, journalists and ratings officials — and refine his research thesis. There was a clear benefit in “being able to sit down with practitioners in the field and talk about what is going on,” Stephen noted; “there’s only so much you can get from secondary sources, especially in a subject area like this, where there is so much change.” His project grew out of a long-standing interest in East Asian and Chinese legal studies, reflected in the courses, independent research, and Chayes International Public Service Fellowship he has undertaken during the last three years. Stephen grew up speaking Cantonese, but the four semesters of advanced Mandarin that he took through cross-registration allowed him to delve more deeply into the cultural and social aspects of his research, as well as the legal ones. “The resources available to internationally focused students are one of the things that attracted me to HLS,” he explained.

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


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.)