Project on Predatory Student Lending Releases Poster Explaining Rights and Options of Students Who Attended Closed Everest Schools

1Via the Legal Services Center 

LSC’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, along with the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, released a poster showing rights and options of students at the two Massachusetts Everest schools, as well as other Corinthian-owned schools that closed or are in the process of closing.

For-Profit Corinthian Colleges agreed to shut down operations and sell many of its campuses. Prior to that agreement, the Massachusetts Attorney General sued the schools for taking advantage of students with high-pressure and deceptive recruiting, and misleading students about the value of the schools’ services and career preparation and opportunities in order to boost profits at students’ expense.

The shut-down agreement is complicated, and it continues to be difficult for Everest students who struggle with large debts and few employment prospects to figure out their best options. The poster displays options for students at the schools that have closed or will close.  The options for students at schools that continue to operate, either under Corinthian’s ownership or under other ownership, are more limited.

A downloadable pdf of the poster is available here.

Harvard Law School film crew examines Montana’s strict milk expiration laws

picVia Billings Gazette 

MISSOULA — Montana has the strictest law in the nation governing the “sell by” date for milk, forcing grocers to dump untold thousands of gallons of perfectly good food every week.

That’s why a documentary film crew from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic was in town on Friday to interview Pattee Creek Market owner Jim Edwards.

“This has been part of a long-running interest of ours that’s around how we’re wasting so much of the food we produce in the U.S. We’re looking at how these laws – like the law we’re looking at in Montana – are the cause of that waste,” said clinic director Emily Broad Leib.

Emily Deddens, a law student, said she has been working with Broad Leib and Rebecca Richman Cohen, a filmmaker who teaches media advocacy at Harvard Law School, to illustrate the issue of food waste and how food dates, specifically, contribute to the problem.

Continue reading the full story here.

Berkman Center and Cyberlaw Clinic to Support MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative

bitVia the Cyberlaw Clinic

We at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society — and, in particular, here at the Cyberlaw Clinic — are thrilled to share today’s announcement from our friends and frequent collaborators at the MIT Media Lab of the Lab’s new Digital Currency Initiative. MIT has been a leader on both the study and implementation of bitcoin-based systems, with the MIT Bitcoin Clubbringing students and others together to think about the development of bitcoin-related platforms and the MIT Bitcoin Project putting virtual currency in the virtual hands of students in an effort to generate interest in emerging payment systems. We are ecstatic to see the Media Lab put its weight behind research on and facilitation of blockchain-based technologies and welcome the effort to formalize its role as a neutral hub and convening force on the topic of digital currency.

Continue reading the full story here.

 

Harvard Law champions entrepreneurship and innovation

A native of California who came to HLS with an interest in startups and business, Shant Hagopian ’15 gave legal advice to entrepreneurs as a student in the Transactional Law Clinic during his 2L year. Shortly thereafter, he co-founded Virtudent, a tele-dentistry startup designed to increase oral health care access for underserved populations. Credit: Heratch Photography

A native of California who came to HLS with an interest in startups and business, Shant Hagopian ’15 gave legal advice to entrepreneurs as a student in the Transactional Law Clinic during his 2L year. Shortly thereafter, he co-founded Virtudent, a tele-dentistry startup designed to increase oral health care access for underserved populations.
Credit: Heratch Photography

Via HLS News

The moment Shant Hagopian ’15 stepped through the doors of the Harvard Innovation Lab, the air was abuzz with the energy of wildly creative ideas, and he knew Harvard Law School had been the right choice for him.

“The first time I walked into the i-lab I thought, ‘Wow, this is a really cool place,’” says Hagopian, a native of California who came to HLS with an interest in startups and business. “The i-lab brings together students from many different academic backgrounds to launch their ideas for how the world should look in the future.”

The i-lab, a collaborative workspace and idea incubator at Harvard University which champions entrepreneurship and innovation, connects students, faculty, and other creative idea-makers from across the university to resources, thought leaders, and funding sources. Since launching in 2011, it has drawn scores of law students who’ve worked on a wide variety of cutting-edge projects—some law-related, and many not.

Credit: Martha Stewart Chris Bavitz, Clinical Professor of Law and managing director of the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Credit: Martha Stewart
Chris Bavitz, Clinical Professor of Law and managing director of the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

“Anyone with a Harvard ID can tap in, sit down, and do their thing,” says Chris Bavitz, Clinical Professor of Law and managing director of the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Dean’s Designate to the i-lab. “That means anything from having shared space to work to looking at a physical bulletin board where people are looking for a software developer or lawyer. Nearly every night of the week, there’s programming about venture capital or how to deal with employment issues or any number of other legal and business concerns that startups face.”

As a 2L in the HLS Transactional Law Clinics , which holds office hours at the i-lab where law students give legal advice to entrepreneurs, Hagopian found himself wanting to make the leap to the other side and become an entrepreneur himself.

Just a few months later, he did—as a co-founder of Virtudent, a tele-dentistry startup created by a friend, Dr. Hitesh Tolani, a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Hagopian introduced Virtudent to the i-lab, where doors quickly opened and connections were made. Last year, Virtudent, designed to increase oral health care access for underserved populations, was a finalist in the 2014 President’s Challenge, which offers a $100,000 prize for the most innovative idea for solving a complex societal problem. Though it didn’t win the grand prize, Virtudent received initial funding from Harvard and will soon be rolling out.

Continue reading the full story here.

Australian Radio Interviews Tyler Giannini on Mining Company Settlement with Rape Survivors

Via the International Human Rights Clinic 

Earlier this week, Australian radio interviewed Tyler Giannini about a significant development in the world of business and human rights: one of the world’s largest mining companies, Barrick Gold, recently settled claims with a group of women in Papua New Guinea who were raped by the company’s security guards. The settlement, negotiated by EarthRights International, came as the women were preparing to file suit.

The International Human Rights Clinic has been investigating abuses around the Porgera mine for several years, along with NYU’s Global Justice Clinic and Columbia’s Human Rights Clinic. Reports of rape around the mine in the highlands of Papua New Guinea date back to at least 2006, but the company did not acknowledge them for years.

In 2012, the company set up a complaint mechanism, which Tyler describes in the interview as inadequate. Initially, the company was preparing to offer the women who stepped forward a compensation package of used clothing and chickens. At the urging of advocates, including the Clinic, the company later revised its offer, and more than 100 women accepted the settlement.

EarthRights represented a group that did not agree to settle through the company’s complaint mechanism. At least one woman described the original settlement offers as “offensive.”

“If you have settlements that aren’t really getting to justice, the discourse with the community is not really healed, and you don’t get real reconciliation,” Tyler said in the interview. “That’s not good for the company, that’s not good for the survivors, and I think that’s one of the lessons that needs to be taken away.”

Listen to the full 7 minute interview here

2015 J-Term International Travel Grant Recipients

Via HLS News

During the 2015 winter term, 52 HLS students traveled to 26 countries conducting research for writing projects or undertaking independent clinicals, with support from the Winter Term International Travel Grant Program, which includes the Cravath International Fellowships, the Reginald F. Lewis Internships, the Mead Cross Cultural Stipends, the Andrew B. Steinberg Scholarships, and the Human Rights Program Grants. The following are snapshots of 12 student experiences.

Clinic and HRW Release Report: “Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots”

Via the International Human Rights Clinic 

(Geneva, April 9, 2015) – Programmers, manufacturers, and military personnel could all escape liability for unlawful deaths and injuries caused by fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report was issued in advance of a multilateral meeting on the weapons at the United Nations in Geneva.

RobotCoverThe 38-page report, “Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,” details significant hurdles to assigning personal accountability for the actions of fully autonomous weapons under both criminal and civil law. It also elaborates on the consequences of failing to assign legal responsibility. The report is jointly published by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.

“No accountability means no deterrence of future crimes, no retribution for victims, no social condemnation of the responsible party,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior Arms Division researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report’s lead author. “The many obstacles to justice for potential victims show why we urgently need to ban fully autonomous weapons.”

Fully autonomous weapons would go a step beyond existing remote-controlled drones as they would be able to select and engage targets without meaningful human control. Although they do not exist yet, the rapid movement of technology in that direction has attracted international attention and concern.

Continue reading the full story here.