Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

The Negotiation Within

Via the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

HNMCP Director Bob Bordone, former HNMCP Associate Toby Berkman ’10, and Clinical Fellow Sara del Nido ’13, and have been published in the Fall 2014 volume of the University of Missouri School of Law’s Journal of Dispute Resolution. The article is entitled, “The Negotiation Within: The Impact of Internal Conflict Over Identity and Role on Across-The-Table Negotiations.”

Bordone, Berkman, and del Nido argue that most existing scholarship on negotiation focuses on strategic, structural and psychological barriers to agreement in across-the-table negotiations, but that internal conflict also plays a profound and powerful role as a barrier, as well. Building on the groundbreaking work in Difficult Conversations and Beyond Reason, which brought to the fore the important identity issues underlying negotiators’ experiences, the article draws on a broad range of scholarship from the fields of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and even literature to propose a framework for understanding internal conflicts, and offers prescriptive advice for self-diagnosing and constructively handling one’s own “negotiation within.”

Continue reading the full story here.

Self-Care at the Bureau

Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

6806070e-4dbd-4a02-adc4-46820db6070bAt 5pm on a Thursday, singing emerges from the seminar room. Students and clinical instructors sit around the table. Staff from other centers linger as they exit the building. No, HLAB hasn’t started a choir. Lisa Fitzgerald ’16 is treating the Bureau to a private concert, as part of the new self-care initiative.

Donna Harati ’15 began the self-care initiative in the fall of 2014 to help other Bureau members ensure they take care of their mental health, so that they can provide quality legal services to their clients—in the short and long term.

Since its inception, students have organized weekly activities to take a break from clinical and coursework. Activities include knitting, meditating, touch football, making pasta and decorating gratitude jars.

Jordan Raymond ’16 has always recognized that she needs to carve out time for self-care. “Self-care is paramount to me. Sometimes, when I feel drained, I drive to the beach because that’s my happy place and that’s where I can find peace. It’s nice that we are trying to create those peaceful spaces here at the Bureau.”

The Bureau’s self-care initiative subscribes to many models of and philosophies of self-care. Students, clinical instructors and staff alternate in facilitating activities that help them feel grounded.

“There’s no one correct way to take care of yourself, and I’ve learned a lot from what other people have shared. Personally, I like cooking to de-stress, so I led a session in pasta making,” said Nick Pastan ’15.

Continue reading the full story here.

Harvard Law School Alumna Appointed to Clerk for South African Constitutional Court

Harvard Law School alumna, Philippa Greer HLS LL.M. ’14 has been appointed to clerk for South Africa’s top judicial body, the Constitutional Court, for the latter half of 2015, in a position offered to no more than a handful of lawyers around the world each year. She has been selected to clerk for the Chief Justice, having been chosen from a high number of applicants from across the globe. Her interests lie in strategic litigation and international law. She writes:

HLS Blog- Picture 2

Philippa Greer HLS LL.M. ’14

“I am both thrilled and humbled to contribute to the Court, whose holdings adopt a progressive and transformative approach to law and equality. South Africa is a development State and certainly faces vast resource challenges in making the rights of the Constitution a reality for all. Yet its Constitutional democracy and the Court’s recent reforms to institutionalize the role of the judicial branch as independent from South Africa’s executive arm, have ushered in a new era, characterized by the rule of law and fundamental dignity for all human beings.

In my position as a Law Clerk to the Chief Justice, I will deepen my understanding of the practical barriers to the implementation of international human rights standards. Since assuming my position at the Court, I have been exposed to a number of high-profile cases, including Legal Aid SA v. Magidiwana, which concerns the right to legal aid and access to justice, specifically with respect to the legal representation of miners at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

The Constitutional Court represents transformation in South Africa and the hope of and for a people, in the wake of recovery from a system of racial segregation enforced through law. The recent history of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a restorative justice body assembled to address the gross human rights violations that occurred between 1948 to 1994, South Africa’s Constitutional democracy, its Bill of Rights and its standing on the African continent, combine to offer a particularly complex background to the law and positioning of the apex court.

The Court stands as a memorial to courage and the Court building itself as a moving architectural tribute to the fight against apartheid. Everything from the Court’s judgments to its artwork is distinctive and multifaceted, in recognition of a particular history and hope for further transformation. In the foyer of the Court stands a sculpture by Thomas Mulcaire bearing the words “a luta continua” lit up in projection of the meaning “the struggle continues, victory is certain”. Former Justice Albie Sachs, appointed to the Court by Nelson Mandela in 1994, played a leading role in selecting the Court’s diverse artwork, the first public collection of its kind post apartheid. As a result, the building presents a particularly inspiring physical space to work in.

There are major distinctions to be drawn with the United States Supreme Court, and a comparative analysis can be made with regard to the each Court’s jurisprudence on the death penalty, gender equality, affirmative action, freedom of expression and religion, and socioeconomic rights. For example, despite the racial and geographic arbitrariness of the death penalty in the United States, punishment for the sake of retribution remains permissible under the Eighth Amendment. In 1995, in S v Makwanyane, despite evidence that many South Africans favored the death penalty, the Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional, with former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson citing capital punishment as an example that should be rejected in light of its disparate impact along racial and poverty lines.

If we contrast this “dignity jurisprudence” to the continued use of capital punishment in the United States, for example in Louisiana where the death penalty is confined predominantly to African-American men prosecuted in Caddo Parish in particular, we can see how the Constitutional Court in South Africa has attracted international acclaim and how it serves as a model for the world’s other Constitutions.”

While Philippa was still a student at Harvard Law School, she participated in Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic and held editorial positions on the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review and the Harvard Human Rights Journal, as well as serving as a Board Member of Harvard Law School’s Moot Court Board.

A Tale of Two Student-Run Organizations

Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

c7c44c7f-bdd8-41aa-a2cb-4dce920621dbIt seemed like a natural collaboration: Harvard College; Harvard Law School; a student-run homeless shelter; a student-run legal aid firm. Those parallels ignited the partnership between the Youth to Youth (Y2Y) and Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, which will go into full effect this fall.

The Y2Y shelter, founded by two recent Harvard College alumni, will house homeless youth and provide social services, job training and community programming. The shelter focuses on youth because Boston has a relatively high homeless youth population, but only 8-12 beds total designated for them, according to student attorney Awbrey Yost ’16.

“It can be dangerous for homeless youth to be with adult residents….The Y2Y founders realized, after being involved with the Harvard University Homeless Shelter for adults, that that the needs of homeless youth in Boston were not a focus for any organization,” Yost said.

Continue reading the full story here.

Replacing “Kid Food” with “True Food” in School Cafeterias

schoolfoodsconferenceVia the Center for Health Law and Policy Clinic

On June 10, the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) co-hosted the first annual Healthy Food Fuels Hungry Minds conference at Harvard University to discuss how to improve the quality of food in schools. Those attending the conference held diverse roles from school administrators to health experts to parents to school food service workers. Many attendees discussed the importance of getting rid of “kid food” in schools and instead serving our children “true food,” a term coined by Minneapolis public schools to describe flavorful, nutritious menu items in lieu of the stigmatized “healthy food” term.

As a third-year law student that previously had only a rudimentary knowledge of school food, I left the conference feeling invigorated. I realized that everyone, including me, has a role in creating positive changes in the school food environment and that we can create change on multiple levels: at an individual school, within a school district, and through state and federal policies.

FLPC Director Emily Broad Leib focused her presentation on how federal policy change affects school food, highlighting the upcoming Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). The current CNR, the 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act, will expire in September 2015. Advocates are pushing for a wide variety of improvements to school food regulations, including: increased funding for reimbursable meals, food literacy programing, kitchen equipment grants, kitchen staff training, and farm to school grants.

Continue reading the full story here.

CHLPI Director Quoted in NY Times Article on Hepatitis C Medication

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

The New York Times released an article on August 25, 2015 on the call for increased access to life-saving medications for individuals with hepatitis C from health care experts and advocates. Robert Pear, the reporter behind “White House Is Pressed to Help Widen Access to Hepatitis C Drugs via Medicaid,” interviewed CHLPI director Robert Greenwald about the Center’s research on health insurance coverage of the Hepatitis C medication Solvaldi throughout the United States.

Excerpt from the article:

“Federal and state Medicaid officials should widen access to prescription drugs that could cure tens of thousands of people with hepatitis C, including medications that can cost up to $1,000 a pill, health care experts have told the White House.

The experts, from the Public Health Service and President Obama’s Advisory Council on H.I.V./AIDS, said restrictions on the drugs imposed by many states were inconsistent with sound medical practice, as reflected in treatment guidelines issued by health care professionals and the Department of Veterans Affairs…

…But Robert L. Greenwald, an expert on health law and policy at Harvard Law School, said: “These criteria defy clinical guidelines and best practices. Rather than recommending the exclusion of people who inject drugs, we should encourage earlier treatment as a way to prevent transmission of the virus.””

Read the full article

Community Health Workers

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

While interactions with physicians and nurses have become ubiquitous, the number of community health workers in formal care capacities remains limited. However, auxiliary medical professionals, such as community health workers, have the potential to transform the current health care landscape. Throughout the summer, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the role of community health workers as members of a care team in depth. In the last ten weeks, I’ve gained perspective on the importance of community health workers in facilitating the care of chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

Community health workers serve as a connection between medical providers and individuals with chronic conditions. Typically, they perform a number of tasks, from coordinating care with physicians to providing individuals with health management skills. By working directly with particular communities, community health workers have the potential to help achieve the “triple aim” of improving access, enhancing quality, and reducing costs associated with health care utilization.

Continue reading the full story here.

Hands-on Work Has Always Been Vital

Via the New York Journal

Until even the middle of the 20th century, many attorneys entered the legal profession through the process of apprenticeship. As we know, the legal profession has evolved and entry to the legal profession today requires a three-year J.D. degree program followed by the bar exam. Solid legal education has always contained the element of hands-on learning, whether in an apprenticeship or now in law school clinics or jobs with legal employers. Today, law schools are taking practical skills to a higher level to achieve the type of readiness that legal employers require and demand. But what does this new “practice ready” movement currently taking place in law schools mean for current law students?

New Hiring Criteria

Recently, Google told the New York Times that GPA is “worthless as a criteria for hiring,” while law firms, some even while acknowledging this as a fact, continue to hire based almost entirely on academic credentials. Thankfully this is changing, but slowly. Now firms are increasingly looking for performance and experience rather than an “A” in Con Law. Firms have taken steps to identify who the MVPs are at the firm and are beginning to realize that it may not be those from the top schools or with the top grades. What is coming more slowly is the movement in hiring criteria to reflect these new understandings.

Read the full story here.

Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers – Fall 2015

Description

Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers is a non-credit class that offers HLS students the opportunity to learn Spanish language skills in a legal context, emphasizing language most commonly used in civil and criminal legal services practice.

The class will strengthen existing Spanish speaking and comprehension abilities and teach Spanish legal vocabulary to students involved in public interest legal practice. The class will introduce students to general legal Spanish vocabulary (e.g. immigration, human rights, legal aid, etc.). Students will work to develop stronger attorney-client relations by improving communication with Spanish-speaking clients.

Student Requirements

  • Students must have at least advanced proficiency in Spanish.
  • This class is not for credit, but regular attendance is required. The class will meet once a week for two hours (7-9PM, day of the week TBD).
  • Class participation is vital and outside homework is minimal. Language practice and listening to Spanish between classes is encouraged.

Enrollment

  • Enrollment is limited to 20 students.
  • 2L and 3L students currently in a direct services clinic or SPO who have at least advanced proficiency in Spanish will receive priority.
  • Students meeting the criteria will be accepted through a randomized selection process.

To Apply

Email clinical at law.harvard.edu with the following information by 5 PM on Monday, August 31:

  • Name
  • Year (1L, 2L, 3L)
  • If applicable, name of the clinic or SPO you will be working with in the fall and any clinic or SPO you have previously worked with.
  • Rank in order of preference ideal class time: (Tuesdays 7-9PM) (Wednesdays 7-9PM)
  • At least one paragraph, in Spanish, describing your general interests and your focus in law school.
  • Bullet points (also in Spanish) that list past or current experiences you’ve had speaking Spanish or working with Spanish-speaking clients.

Students will be contacted on September 2 with the results of their application. Students who are accepted will receive information about the class meeting time. Classes will be held weekly. The first class will meet the week of September 8 and the last class will meet the week of November 10.

 

Caitlin Marshall Reflects on Summer Experience at HIRC

caitlin-at-hirc-with-court-docs-july-152-e1438200505675

Caitlin Marshall finishes compiling a lengthy court filing.

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

I am an Australian final year Bachelor of Laws student studying at Charles Darwin University (CDU). This summer I was honoured to be selected to partake in an inaugural collaboration between CDU and the HIRC to experience not only the tenacity and commitment of the team at HIRC but to join them as they assist clients applying for non-refoulement under both the Refugee Convention and the Torture Convention because they have either suffered persecution in the past or have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future on account of their race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion should they return back to their home countries. Not only have I had the honour of working with the HIRC legal and academic team but with other dedicated interns.

By day two of my experience I quickly learned that stories of refugee status seekers that have evolved from case law and academic writings in my studies only bears a minimal resemblance to the reality of personally dealing with those who have faced human rights atrocities in their country of origin. My ‘baptism’ into the culture of the HIRC was a sudden immersion into the depths of the clients’ stories and a honed understanding of the importance of the work the HIRC do in providing pro-bono legal assistance to them. My fear of my own inadequacies paled into insignificance when I realised the urgency of the work needed to be done, the time frames in which to do them along with my limited time of 4 weeks with the Clinic. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Continue reading the full story here.

Mass SJC Sides with Free Speech Advocates, Declares False Campaign Speech Statute Unconstitutional

CaptureVia the Cyberlaw Clinic

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court handed a big win to free speech advocates today in its decision in Commonwealth v. Lucas, siding with defendant Melissa Lucas and declaring Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 56, Section 42 (“Section 42”) unconstitutional.  The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the case, in support of defendant Lucas, on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC (owners of the Boston Globe), Hearst Television, Inc. (owners of WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston), the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, the New England Newspaper and Press Association, Inc., and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. The SJC’s reasoning followed many of the arguments advanced by our amicus coalition.

Continue reading the full story here.

Reuniting with former students in Japan

By Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.)

Each year the Judicial Process in Community Courts Clinic and class includes judges from Japan and Korea who are enrolled in the LL.M. program providing them the opportunity for an internship with an American trial judge. These student/judges return to judicial work in their home countries with new perspectives from their exposure to the workings of our courts. Their written work often tackles innovative approaches unfolding in the US, such as the growth of specialty courts, restorative justice, and judicial participation in plea bargaining.

“Through discussions with judges and court officials, I could see and understand how the American legal system actually works,” says Takahiko Iwasaki, a judge and former clinic student.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in reunions with my student/judges in both Korea and Japan. My visit to Korea in May included several lectures on ADR and a dinner with eight of my former students.

In June, twenty of my former Japanese students hosted a dinner in Tokyo. Among the guests were student/judges who received their LL.M. degrees going back to 1995 and one judge who flew in from his duties in Okinawa for the event. During our week in Tokyo, these judges arranged for visits to the Supreme Court of Japan, the Tokyo District Court, the Judicial Training Center, and the Sapporo District Court.

After years of discussion of our comparative judicial systems, and particularly the initiation of the jury system in both Japan and Korea, it was particularly meaningful for me to experience the Japanese mixed jury (six citizens and three judges) at work. In fact, one of my former students was a judicial member of the jury panel.

Salvadoran Woman Escapes Violent Father and Husband

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Maggie Morgan
Clinical Fellow

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

In a truly heart-wrenching case of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual violence, HIRC attorneys Maggie Morgan and John Willshire Carrera, along with student Phebe Philips, were able to declare a victory for Kristina, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons. Kristina was granted asylum this year by an Immigration Judge in Boston, after escaping a horrific upbringing in El Salvador where her father and husband consistently and violently abused her mentally, physically, emotionally, and sexually.

When her husband decided to come to the United States over a decade ago, Kristina saw an opportunity to escape the abuse from her father, who continued to abuse her throughout her marriage.  Once in the United States, Kristina saw how the rights of woman in the United States were exercised and how domestic violence was treated as a crime, as opposed to in El Salvador where perpetrators of domestic violence were rarely punished. Realizing this, Kristina took the opportunity to leave her abusive husband as well.

Continue reading the full story here.

Indigenous Woman Escapes Serious Human Rights Violations in Guatemala

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Over the course of several months, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Philip Torrey, along with HLS students Sima Atri ’15 and Brittany Llewellyn ’15 represented an indigenous woman from Guatemala fleeing from gang violence and seeking asylum in the Untied States. After hundreds of hours of interviewing the client, researching country conditions in Guatemala, gathering corroborating documentation, and presenting an argument in court the client was finally granted asylum this past February. As an indigenous woman who supported equal rights for women, she and her family were targeted by a violent gang leaving her with no choice but to flee Guatemala.

Ana, whose name has been changed for confidentiality reasons, came to the United States after she was sexually assaulted by a gang affiliated with the notorious MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha, one of the most violent gangs in the world. Known for their unrelenting retribution and punishment, MS-13 originated in California and has since become a transnational criminal organization. Gangs like MS-13 have been repeatedly cited as the most prevalent push factor forcing people out of Central America.

Continue reading the full story here.

HLS represented at White House event celebrating 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

CaptureVia HLS News

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA on July 26, 1990, committing the nation to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. A special reception was held at the White House on July 20 to celebrate the landmark act.

On hand to introduce President Barack Obama ’91 and Vice President Joe Biden was Harvard Law School graduate Haben Girma ’13, who is currently a Skadden Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, Calif. Girma was the first deafblind student to graduate from HLS. While studying at the law school, she was named a White House Champion of Change for her advocacy on behalf of deafblind individuals and her efforts in promoting educational excellence for African Americans. Read more about her journey to HLS and career as an advocate.

“For my grandmother back in Africa, my success in law school seemed like magic,” said Girma in her introduction. “For all of us here, we know people with disabilities succeed not by magic, but through opportunities in America, and the hard won power of the ADA.”

Continue reading the full story here.

Congrats recent graduates, and good luck on the Bar!

HIRC Assistant Director Sabi Ardalan and Sophie Glickstein HLS ’15 celebrate  during Commencement Day.

HIRC Assistant Director Sabi Ardalan and Sophie Glickstein HLS ’15
celebrate during Commencement Day.

Via the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

With the upcoming Bar examination, we wanted to shed light on what some of our graduates have been up to since graduation. Since graduating in May, our alumni are off to start some exciting adventures. From fellowships, to clerkships, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical program (HIRC) and Harvard Immigration Project (HIP) graduates are taking on the legal world one step at a time. We wanted to wish our graduates good luck as they take the Bar and give you a brief snapshot of what some of our graduates will be doing next:

Scott Hochberg- Scott will be starting an immigrant workers’ rights practice at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto on a two year Skadden Fellowship. His focus will include wage theft, discrimination, and other problems faced by immigrant workers in Silicon Valley.

Antonia Olivia Domingo- Antonia will be working as a staff attorney for the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh.

Sima Atri- Sima will be heading to the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice on a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship. While there, she will support local efforts to improve low wage workers’ and immigrant rights.

Continue reading the full story here.

New Markets Lab – Independent Clinical Program – January 2016

The New Markets Lab will supervise an independent clinical project in January 2016 to offer students an opportunity to see firsthand the impact that the commercial legal and regulatory environment can have on development and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.  The independent clinical project will (likely) take place in Tanzania, where the New Markets Lab is working with partners on the ground, including the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, among others. The program will expose students to the role of government, business, and international institutions in interacting with and shaping the enabling environment for business and trade to encourage agricultural development at the grassroots level.

This winter term independent clinical placement will involve applying the substance of the required reading group in consultations in Tanzania with agribusinesses, local organizations and institutions, and public sector and civil society representatives to better understand how legal and regulatory needs and challenges are dealt with in the market.  Students will assess how these needs could possibly be addressed and how local institutions could be strengthened moving forward.

As part of the program, students are required to produce a 15 page paper that conforms to the independent clinical program guidelines and is supervised by a Faculty Sponsor.

Pre-Requisite

Students must be enrolled in Katrin Kuhlmann’s Fall 2015 reading group, “Trade, Development, and Entrepreneurship,” to be eligible to apply.

Application 

Students interested in applying should fill out the Independent Clinical Application by November 2, 2015.

When filling the application, students should list the Placement Organization as the New Markets Lab and the Supervising Attorney as Katrin Kuhlmann.  There is no need to describe the details of the project as they have been provided above.  Students should, however, provide a statement of interest in the project, and any relevant experience they have in the field.

In accordance with the Independent Clinical program, students should also submit a Faculty Sponsor Form, an Unofficial Transcript, and Resume.

Further information and all of the required documents can be found on the OCP website. 

Funding

This project is being funded through the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, and there is therefore no need to submit a funding application. It is anticipated that students who are selected for the program will have their transportation and housing costs covered.

Please feel free to email Ms. Kuhlmann if you have questions about the project and/or are trying to decide whether to apply.  She can be reached at  kkuhlmann at newmarketslab.org.

Budget Victory for the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative

Students in the Education Law Clinic / Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) traveled back and forth to the Massachusetts State House on numerous occasions over the last few months to encourage state legislators to fund An Act Relative to Safe and Supportive Schools.  

This month, their work paid off, when both the House and Senate chambers approved $500,000 for the implementation of the statute.  The funding will allow $400,000 in grants to schools and $100,000 for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to establish safe and supportive learning environments and cultures. The funding will also help schools and districts through provisions for technical assistance, state and regional conferences, and sharing best practices related to the implementation of the framework.

This marks a second victory for TLPI and the students who last August prevailed in having the provisions of the bill enacted into law.

The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, which is a joint program of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School, continues to lead efforts in supporting schools to meet the learning needs of all children. TLPI is also working on a research study to assess school culture outcomes for three schools that are using the Safe and Supportive framework.

In Memoriam: David Grossman ’88, Clinical Professor and Lawyer for the Poor

Via HLS News

Grossman_David_OP14_Unknown-683x1024David Abraham Grossman ’88, a lawyer and teacher who devoted his career to addressing the legal needs of the poor and served as Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, died on July 12.

Grossman had been director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) since 2006, when he was appointed to the position by Elena Kagan, then-dean of Harvard Law School. HLAB provides free legal counsel to indigent clients while simultaneously providing hands-on training to HLS students.

“David devoted his life to pursuing justice with creativity, integrity, and craft–and to inspiring and enabling students to do so as well,” said Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School. “As Clinical Professor, he played pivotal roles both at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center and then as managing attorney and faculty director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where among other great efforts he guided the nationally recognized Project No One Leaves (PNOL), a nonprofit tenants’ rights organization. In this effort, he made sure that lawyers and law students worked hand-in-hand with clients, community members, and community organizations in bringing legal education to low-income people facing foreclosure and eviction, advancing protections for individuals, families, and communities, changing and enforcing laws, and strengthening the tools and spirit necessary for helping people in serious need. With a formidable intellect and constant courage, David also brought his tremendous humility, humor, and friendship to every encounter, elevating allies and opponents alike. We were truly honored to have his work and leadership and will do our best to continue his vital efforts.”

Continue reading here.

Pre-Approved Independent Clinical Opportunity

WHAT: Massachusetts Division Of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA)
Students interested in working with Magistrates at the Massachusetts Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) will assist with the resolution of appeals from a variety of state agencies starting with the arrival of the appeal at DALA until the final DALA decision is rendered. For each case assigned to a student, this can mean attending the pre-hearing conference, the hearing, consultation with the magistrate assigned to write the decision, research and drafting for the magistrate’s decision as well as the feedback and editing process with the magistrate. Students may have the option of selecting the subject matter of the appeal they handle as the magistrates at DALA hear and decide appeals from various state agencies including Retirement Boards, the Board of Registration in Medicine, the Department of Public Health, the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Veterans’ Services. Students are expected to be available for at least one full day a week at the DALA office in Boston.

HOW: Independent Clinical Program
Through the independent clinical program, you may earn clinical credits to work with DALA. Please review the independent clinical guidelines on OCP’s website for additional information. If you’re interested in applying for this internship during fall 2015 or spring 2016, please email Liz Solar  esolar at law.harvard.edu a copy of your resume, a writing sample and unofficial transcript. Your application will be forwarded to DALA who will contact you directly to set up an interview in person or by telephone. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs will handle clinical registration. Please contact Liz Solar with any additional questions at  esolar at law.harvard.edu or by telephone at 617-495-3765.

New Publication: Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion: Creating Connections for Client & Community Health

7.9.15 Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion - coverVia Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

In July 2015 CHLPI released the white paper Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion: Creating Connections for Client & Community Health.

Food banks are embedded in local communities across the country. They are central to the economic well-being of clients, who often struggle to find regular access to food. Food banks partner with government agencies, donors, and private companies to serve the interests of the more than 46 million individuals in the United States at risk of hunger.

Food banks do not need to be experts in health care, but they can be important partners in health promotion for their clients and local communities. Feeding America has increased national efforts to provide Foods to Encourage, or foods that align with the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, at member food banks. Recent changes in health care delivery may enable food banks to play a more formal role in health promotion and tailor some services to food insecure populations with specific health needs. There are new incentives for health providers to increase community engagement in order to improve health outcomes for clients. For food bank directors and partner agencies, this means potential opportunities for partnership and new sources of funding.

This White Paper aims to describe some shifts in the health care landscape that open up new opportunities for the nation’s food banks. It will also discuss several of the ways that food banks can take advantage of these developments to become a partner for health care providers. It outlines some top concerns for food banks seeking to form these partnerships, including capacity to invest resources in building new relationships and/or tailoring and expanding services.

Read the White Paper.

Housing Law Clinic’s Julia Devanthery wins appeal against Wells Fargo

Julia Devanthéry, Attorney and Clinical Instructor, Housing Law Clinic (LSC)

Julia Devanthéry,
Attorney and Clinical
Instructor, Housing Law
Clinic (LSC)

Attorney and Clinical Instructor Julia Devanthéry of the Housing Law Clinic (LSC) recently won an appeal in the case of Wells Fargo Bank v. Cook, et al. Her clients were two homeowners from Mattapan who had been fighting eviction after the unlawful foreclosure of their home.

The central issue in the case was whether a massive 2008 foreclosure prevention workshop held at Gillette Stadium qualified as a “face-to-face” meeting between lenders and borrowers under the regulations which govern Federal Housing Administration insured mortgages. The Appeals Court concluded that Wells Fargo had failed to demonstrate that the Gillette event met the requirements of the regulations since the bank representative rejected the borrowers’ attempt to make a payment, and didn’t have the requisite authority to modify their loan at the event.

Devathéry, quoted in a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article, says “Wells Fargo tried to argue that the HUD regulation merely requires that a lender representative have a meeting in the same room with borrowers,” but that in fact, the regulation contemplates “something much more nuanced and personalized.” Devanthéry says she and her clients are hopeful that the decision will “translate into compliance by FHA-insured lenders to really work with borrowers in a way that allows them to avoid foreclosure if at all possible. In giving FHA-insured mortgages to borrowers, lenders take on additional consumer protection obligations in exchange for mortgage insurance from the federal government. By foreclosing on the Cooks’ home without first complying with the HUD regulations, Wells Fargo is essentially trying to take the benefits of this federally subsidized insurance program, and none of the obligations or responsibilities that go along with it.”

“The win would not have been possible without the work of several outstanding clinical students and the leadership of Housing Clinic director Maureen McDonagh,” Devanthéry said.

You can read the full article on Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly here. (Subscription is required). 

CHLPI study finds life-threatening barriers in access to breakthrough Hepatitis C drugs

Via HLS News

A team of researchers from Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Brown University’s Department of Medicine, Rhode Island’s Miriam Hospital, Treatment Action Group, and Kirby Institute of Australia, has released findings from a nationwide study of Medicaid policies for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV), which affects over 3 million Americans. The study examined reimbursement criteria for sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), a highly effective medication to cure HCV in the overwhelming majority of patients. The article, which was published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, details the coverage restrictions put in place by most Medicaid programs, and calls for policy change to improve access to new life-saving HCV treatment.

“Federal Medicaid law requires coverage of sofosbuvir, yet reimbursement criteria for Medicaid programs effectively cut off access to treatment. Intentional or not, the denial of treatment by the overwhelming majority of states goes against the spirit of the federal law,” said Dr. Lynn E. Taylor of Brown University Department of Medicine, lead author of the study.

Continue reading the full story here.

Protecting Independent Medical Device Research

IMG_0614-225x300Via Cyberlaw Clinic

Over the past several months the Cyberlaw Clinic has been working with medical device researchers Hugo Campos, Jay Radcliffe, Karen Sandler, and Ben West, in a proceeding before the Copyright Office regarding the anticircumvention laws created in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Here’s what we’ve been doing, and why we’re doing it.

The Clinic has written about this proceeding twice before, but as a quick review: our clients each study the safety, security, and effectiveness of medical devices. Some look at the devices from a system design perspective, analyzing the hardware and software of the devices for misconfigurations or vulnerabilities. Others look at the devices as they are applied to a particular patient’s care, and help patients retrieve important information off the devices that the device otherwise would not share, or would only make available through periodic checkups with doctors once every several months. Their research has helped patients and doctors better tailor care, the public understand the nature of medical device risks, and regulatory agencies like FDA improve government oversight of devices.

Continue reading the full story here.

New Joint Report on Civilian Harm from Explosive Weapons

Via International Human Rights Clinic

(Geneva, June 19, 2015) – Extensive civilian casualties caused by the use of explosive weapons in towns and cities around the globe show the urgent need for countries to agree to curb the use of these weapons in populated areas, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Remains of the Luhansk airport terminal in eastern Ukraine, which was destroyed by repeated use of explosive weapons. © 2014 Human Rights Watch

Remains of the Luhansk airport terminal
in eastern Ukraine, which was destroyed by
repeated use of explosive weapons. © 2014
Human Rights Watch

Air-dropped bombs, artillery projectiles, mortars, rockets, and other explosive weapons kill or injure tens of thousands of civilians every year. In the first half of 2015, Human Rights Watch documented incidents involving the use of explosive weapons that claimed civilian lives and destroyed vital infrastructure in populated areas of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere.

The 35-page report, “Making a Commitment: Paths to Curbing the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas,” published jointly with Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, says that countries should develop and implement a new non-binding agreement to reduce the harm from explosive weapons and offers options for developing such an agreement.

“The high levels of civilian death and destruction from explosive weapons are avoidable,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “Nations should agree to curtail the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and stop using those with wide-area effects entirely.”

Continue reading the full story here.

Former President of Harvard Legal Aid Bureau wins Echoing Green Fellowship

Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA), headed by former Harvard Legal Aid Bureau President Lam Ho, HLS J.D. ’08, was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to emerging leaders working to bring about positive social change. Of 3,629 applicants, 52 were selected to receive Fellowships.

CALA is a non-profit organization that unites lawyers, communities and activists to bring legal services directly to the most disadvantaged in the Chicago area. Ellen Craig, President of CALA’s Board of Directors, remarked, “CALA’s staff, community partners and Board of Directors are very pleased that Echoing Green, an internationally-recognized nonprofit that is building a global community of emerging leaders in social change, has awarded one of its coveted Global Fellowships to Lam Ho, CALA’s founder and Executive Director. We appreciate Echoing Green’s generous support which will enable CALA to continue to provide our underserved communities access to justice and to pursue social change in collaboration with our community partners.”

Food Law Student Leadership Summit

Via Food Law and Policy Clinic 

Food law and policy is a fast-growing field of interest among law students, legal professionals, and society at large. Communities around the country and the world are searching for ways to improve the environmental, public health, and social impacts of the food system. Law students and lawyers are uniquely situated to make significant contributions to this emerging field. In response, growing numbers of law schools now offer food law and policy courses, operate student food law organizations, have undertaken clinical work related to food policy, and have hosted conferences on various food law and policy topics.

The Food Law Student Leadership Summit is the first conference to convene law students from around the country who share a passion for food law and policy. Participants will hear from national experts about key food law and policy issues related to the environment, health, food safety, and food waste; develop strategies to start or expand student food law organizations; build a national network of food law and policy colleagues; and begin to develop coordinated strategies for addressing some of society’s most pressing food law and policy concerns.

Continue reading here.

Food Policy in Our Hometown: Partnering with the Boston Food Policy Council

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

As interns at the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), we have many opportunities to connect with innovative leaders and participate in exciting events in the foods system in Boston and beyond.  Even so, presenting at the quarterly meeting of the Boston Food Policy Council is not an everyday occurrence.  It is, however, one of the unique experiences I have had during my summer at FLPC.

On June 15, the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives (OFI) convened the quarterly public meeting of the Boston Food Policy Council.  People from across many sectors and interests participated in the meeting, including representatives from city government, non-profit, USDA, health care, private foundations, urban agriculture, school food, youth empowerment, and food waste recovery.  It was my privilege to present to the assembled group about model structures for local food policy councils (FPCs).

FLPC has worked with OFI on past projects on a range of themes including food trucks and urban agriculture.  This meeting was a continuation of FLPC’s support of Boston Food Policy Council’s while it defines its major policy areas and potential advocacy options.  At the Boston Food Policy Council’s March 9 meeting, FLPC staff presented an overview of food policy issue areas from FPCs around the country.  In small groups, meeting participants discussed food challenges facing the city of Boston and then voiced their main policy priorities to the entire group.  FLPC staff and interns distilled these issues into six areas of interest, including the hot topics of access to healthy and affordable foods in underserved neighborhoods and consumer participation in Boston Farmers Markets.

Continue reading the full story here.

Student’s clinic paper becomes pending legislation

By Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.)

Andrew Spore J.D. ’15, an alum of the Judicial Process in Community Courts Clinic and class, initially wrote his final paper on a proposal that certain vulnerable tenants facing eviction proceedings have a right to counsel. Often called “Civil Gideon”, the effort to expand the right to counsel for low income litigants from criminal proceedings to civil cases in which basic needs like housing are at stake is gaining momentum. One approach to expand the availability of counsel in contested civil trials is to select types of trials like evictions and create a statutory right of low income tenants to a free attorney.

And so, in Spring of 2014, following his clinical internship with a federal judge, Andrew Spore researched an existing project that provided attorneys for low income tenants in selected eviction situations; disability, alleged criminal conduct, and children. The success of that project led Andrew, in collaboration with the legal services programs behind the pilot and a subcommittee of the Boston Bar Association, to draft a statute that would allow a Housing Court judge to appoint counsel in these targeted eviction cases.

Andrew continued with the drafting process in the Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015, eventually rewriting his paper and draft statute. With the help of various interested organizations, his drafting focused on three considerations; eligibility considerations, the delivery model, and sources of funding. Just before graduation, he produced 6 draft versions of “A Right to Counsel in Certain Eviction Cases”, reflecting different policy choices among the key considerations.

Remarkably, on January 16, 2015, Representative David Rogers along with 44 House and Senate co-sponsors, filed House Bill 1560, An Act establishing a right to counsel in certain eviction cases. The influence of Andrews’s work is obvious in the text of the proposed legislation.

This is the first time in memory that a student paper has become a pending bill in our State House.

“This collaborative process was unlike any other work I undertook while at Harvard Law School,” said Andrew. “Through it, I gained perspective on the systematic problems in the Massachusetts housing courts and the ongoing efforts to reform and improve those courts. Hopefully, the pending bill will only increase the momentum of this project and passage of the bill will be forthcoming.”

Joint Publication Released on Encryption, Online Anonymity and Human Rights

CaptureVia International Human Rights Clinic

The International Human Rights Clinic and Privacy International released a publication today that examines the vital role that encryption and anonymity tools and services play in safeguarding human rights. The 30-page publication, “Securing Safe Spaces Online: encryption, online anonymity, and human rights,” complements a landmark report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye.

Kaye’s report, which he will present to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today, calls on states to ensure security and privacy online by providing “comprehensive protection” through encryption and anonymity tools.

The clinic’s joint publication explores measures that restrict online encryption and anonymity in four particular countries – Morocco, Pakistan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. In all four countries, these restrictions impede private and secure online communication and inhibit free expression. The publication also points to opportunities for governments, the corporate sector, and civil society to eliminate or minimize obstacles to use of encryption and online anonymity.

The Clinic’s collaboration with Privacy International dates back to last fall, when we supported a coalition of NGOs calling for the creation of a new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy. In March 2015, the Human Rights Council established this new Special Rapporteur.

The Clinic began work on the encryption and anonymity publication this past spring. Clinical students Sarah Lee, JD ’16, and Mark Verstraete, JD ’16, worked on the publication throughout the semester and participated in a meeting of Privacy International’s global partners in April.

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