Know Your Rights video series

Via The Bay State Banner

The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School has released a Know Your Rights video series consisting of 97 videos informing Massachusetts residents of their legal rights when faced with foreclosure or eviction. The videos are a product of the Mattapan Initiative — a free legal services anti-foreclosure and eviction defense program created in 2013 in response to the foreclosure crisis that ravaged the Mattapan section of Boston, as well as other low-income neighborhoods throughout Massachusetts. The Mattapan Initiative and the Know Your Rights video series were funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

The aim of the video series is to educate Massachusetts residents regarding their legal rights when faced with foreclosure of their homes, or the threat of displacement due to foreclosure or eviction. The series includes videos on legal issues pertaining to: Basic Tenant Rights, Loan Modifications, Bankruptcy as it Relates to Foreclosure, Eviction Summary Process for Former Homeowners, Eviction Summary Process for Tenants as well as FAQ videos for homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure or eviction.

Attorney Roger Bertling, Director of the Mattapan Initiative and Director of the Consumer Protection/Predatory Lending Clinic at the Legal Services Center, says “we created these videos in hope that they’ll be used as a resource for distressed homeowners. The mission of the Legal Services Center is to protect the legal rights of the communities we serve, and as an extension of that mission, these videos are available to help people make informed decisions regarding their foreclosure or eviction.”

The Know Your Rights videos can be viewed on the Legal Services Center’s website and will be distributed using social media. To view each series in its entirety, visit the YouTube links below:

Three Questions with Emily Broad Leib of Harvard Law School

Via The Daily Meal

Food Tank, in partnership with the George Washington University, is hosting the 1st Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington D.C. on January 21-22, 2015.

This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more.

Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Emily Broad Leib, of Harvard Law School, who will be speaking at the summit.

Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?

Emily Broad Leib (EBL): I’m going to talk about the role that legal and policy research must play in improving the food system, the importance of collaborating across disciplines to identify innovative new approaches, and one way that we are using a university-wide student challenge to help foster that collaboration and innovation

(FT): How are you contributing to building a better food system?

(EBL): The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) was established in 2010 to link Harvard Law School students with opportunities to work with clients and communities on various food law and policy issues. The FLPC provides legal advice to nonprofits and government agencies seeking to increase access to healthy foods, prevent diet-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and reduce barriers to market entry for small-scale and sustainable food producers, while educating law students about ways to use law and policy to impact the food system. The FLPC engages a strong policy orientation as well as substantive expertise in the food system to assist a range of federal, state, and local clients around the United States—from Massachusetts to Mississippi—in understanding the legal and policy regimes that apply to food production and sales.

Continue reading the full story here.

Inspiring HLS Students to Pursue Pro Bono Work

On Tuesday, January 20th, Akin Gump’s leader of worldwide pro bono practice, Steven Schulman, spoke to a room full of HLS students interested in making pro bono work part of their careers.

Mr. Schulman leads Akin Gump’s Pro Bono Scholars Program, started seven years ago. This two-summer commitment program is currently offered in five offices: Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. During their 1L summer, Pro Bono Scholars spend seven weeks at a public interest organization of their choosing. Mr. Schulman said the organization could be located anywhere in the world, and in discussing this with the students, encouraged them to choose a placement that matches their interests and will provide them with a meaningful experience.

In addition, students also spend four weeks at the Akin Gump law firm, where they engage with substantive assignments in a variety of subject areas and interact with other attorneys in a mentoring environment. During their second summer at the firm, students have the opportunity to work on substantial pro bono matters. It is expected that they will go on to make pro bono work an integral part of their practice careers.

Why Do Pro Bono?

Helping people is what lawyers are all about, said Mr. Schulman. “It is in the essence and DNA of lawyers.” Former Pro Bono Scholars have helped develop a charter school, represent abused women, assist asylum seekers, and prepare custody cases. At Akin Gump students find a large pro bono practice which includes the areas of death penalty trial defense, education reform, environmental protection, human rights and refugees, impact litigation, international development, and policy work in the public interest.

A Warm Welcome to Kat Eutsler

Kat Eutsler, Senior Grant Writer and Administrator, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Kat Eutsler, Senior Grant Writer and Administrator, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Via the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends a warm welcome to Kat Eutsler, who joined the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation in May 2014 as the Development Consultant and is now the Senior Grant Writer and Administrator. Kat graduated in May 2014 with a Masters of Science degree from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, focusing on Food Policy and Applied Nutrition and specializing in Economics and Politics of Food and Agriculture. During graduate school, Kat interned at CHLPI working on food law and policy issues. She was a contributing author for two of CHLPI’s pinnacle food policy toolkits.

Before graduate school, Kat was Director of Sales for her family business in Philadelphia, PA, a food brokerage company, where she managed 1 of the 5 wholesale manufacturers that the company represents and fostered new connections, resulting in significant growth of the business. She is experienced in successfully managing hundreds of buyer accounts, along with cultivating new relationships.

In both Philadelphia and Boston, Kat actively volunteered at several community-based nonprofit organizations that focus on issues surrounding nutrition, food, farming, justice, and health. It was through her years of volunteer work that she became interested in development work and funding strategies for nonprofit organizations. Using her background in sales and her passion and expertise in food and health policy issues, Kat collaborates with the Center’s directors, clinical instructors, and fellows to secure financial support for the Center and to foster positive, long-term relationships with foundations, corporations, individual donors, and government agencies.

David Carliner Public Interest Award

The award recognizes outstanding mid-career public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies David Carliner (1918-2007), a champion of justice in his native Washington, D.C. and on the national stage.

The winner of the award receives a $10,000 cash prize, transportation and lodging, in full, to the ACS National Convention in Washington, DC to accept the Award in person, and an award of $2,500 to the recipient’s organization.

Any public interest attorney who graduated between 2003 and 2008 is eligible.

Applicants may nominate themselves or have someone apply on their behalf. For more information, please contact me or visit the award’s website.

An Orientation to the Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

On Thursday, January 15th, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) held an orientation session to provide students with an overview of the various clinical placements, student practice organizations, and pro bono opportunities at Harvard Law School. Christopher Bavitz, Clinical Professor of Law at the Cyberlaw Clinic, Esme Caramello, Clinical Professor of Law at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and Lisa Dealy, Assistant Dean of the Clinical and Pro Bono Programs spoke about the benefits of doing a clinic. Over 250 students participated and asked questions.

In the upcoming Spring semester, OCP will relaunch ClinicTalks, a series of information sessions designed to help students learn more about each clinic and discover their legal interests.

OCP welcomes all students to stop by our office in WCC 3085 to ask questions and seek advice from our team of lawyers and educators.

CLEA Files Amicus Brief in VA Attorneys’ Fees Case

Via the Clinical Law Prof Blog

CLEA has filed an amicus brief in the case of Rogers v. McDonald in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The case involves a successful claim by Harvard’s Veterans Clinic and the VA’s refusal to pay attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. 

The brief is available at CLEA’s site here. 

From the introduction:

A federal judge once said, “[W]hen all else fails . . . , consult the statute.” Here, the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) is clear. Under the terms of the statute, Mr. Rogers is the prevailing party, the government’s position was not substantially justified, and there are no special circumstances that make an award unjust. The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) does not dispute any of these points. Therefore, the plain language of the statute dictates that the “court shall award . . . fees and other expenses.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A).

VA fails to identify any statutory text modifying this clear directive or otherwise supporting its position that the EAJA does not authorize recovery for work performed by law students in law school clinics. Instead, VA relies on misapplied law and misplaced policy in proposing a bar on EAJA awards that would decrease access to legal counsel, disincentivize work done by law school clinics, and diminish law students’ ability to serve unrepresented citizens. . . .