Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

Salvadoran Woman Escapes Violent Father and Husband


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.

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 (five citizens and three judges) at work. In fact, one of my former students was a judicial member of the jury panel.

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.


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


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. 


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

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 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 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.

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.

Congratulations to Eloise, Julia, and Toby on their promotions

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends heartfelt congratulations to Eloise Lawrence (Harvard Legal Aid Bureau), Julia Devanthéry (Housing Law Clinic), and Toby Merrill (Project on Student Predatory Lending) on their recent promotions to the position of Clinical Instructor.

Eloise Lawrence, Clinical Instructor, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Eloise Lawrence, Clinical Instructor,
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Eloise Lawrence has served as a staff attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau for over three years representing tenants and homeowners in post-foreclosure evictions and working closely with community organizers as part of Project No One Leaves. Previously, she was a staff attorney in the Consumer Rights Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services where she brought affirmative suits on behalf of mortgagors against loan originators, servicers and foreclosing entities. Prior to the foreclosure crisis, she was an attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, and started her legal career as a Skadden Fellow in Chicago representing public housing residents in civil rights class actions. Eloise received a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 2002 and a B.A. from Stanford University in 1995.

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

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

Julia Devanthéry joined the Legal Services Center as Staff Attorney for the Mattapan Initiative in 2013. She now co-teaches and supervises students enrolled in the Housing Law Clinic. She also maintains a caseload of post-foreclosure, private housing, and subsidized housing eviction cases, and practices primarily in the Boston Housing Court. Previously, Julia was the Manager of Legal Advocacy at HomeStart, Inc. where she represented low-income tenants on the verge of homelessness. Prior to working at HomeStart, she was clinical law fellow at Northeastern University School of Law’s Domestic Violence Institute.

Toby Merrill

Toby Merrill, Clinical Instructor and
Lecturer on Law, Project on Predatory
Student Lending (LSC)

Toby Merrill founded and directs the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represents low-income student loan borrowers in predatory lending cases against for-profit and occupational schools and related entities. Toby twice represented legal aid providers and their clients in the US Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking sessions, by which the Department promulgates new student loan regulations, and is a member of the advisory council on Private Occupational Schools to the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure. Toby joined the Legal Services Center’s Predatory Lending Practice in 2012 as a Skadden Fellow, after clerking for the Honorable Janet C. Hall of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Our office wishes them success in their next endeavors!

Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed

Via the New York Times

OAK PARK, Ill. — MILLIONS of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can’t the supply of lawyers match the demand?

In Nebraska, 20 out of 93 counties have fewer than four lawyers. Eleven counties have no lawyers at all. The Montana Legal Services Association, a nonprofit group that is partly federally funded, reports having only 13 case-handling lawyers for the entire state. Throughout the country, millions of low-income people have no access to free or affordable lawyers, even for life-altering civil matters like child-custody disputes or home foreclosures, where legal representation really matters.

Continue reading the full article here.

Student reflects on her clinical work with victims of domestic violence

By Elizabeth Hadaway, J.D. ’15 

In the Family and Domestic Violence Law Clinic, our work involves helping domestic violence victims, both men and women, escape abuse and regain control of their lives. We work with clients to obtain divorces, child custody, paternity, child support, and restraining orders. This semester, a restraining order matter arose that significantly shifted my understanding of both abuse and the law’s ability to support survivors trying to leave their abusers. Our client suffered severe physical injuries as a result of an attack by her husband, which forced her to undergo medical treatment and miss several weeks of work. During her recovery, she sought out an ex-parte restraining order, and we represented her in hearings related to an extension of the order. While our primary objective was to extend the restraining order, we also requested lost wages and medical expenses to address the financial consequences of her husband’s attack.

In conducting research prior to the extension hearing we discovered that Massachusetts law clearly permits a court to provide monetary compensation to abuse victims. In fact, the law explicitly provides that, once the court has determined that a person has suffered abuse, it may, in addition to ordering a restraining order extension, require “the defendant to pay the person abused monetary compensation for the losses suffered as a direct result of such abuse. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, costs for restoring utilities, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, replacement costs for locks or personal property removed or destroyed, medical and moving expenses and reasonable attorney’s fees.” M.G.L. c. 209, §3(f).

We had to return to court three times in order to obtain full relief for our client. During one hearing, one judge elected to pass us to a different judge to hear the compensation remedy, after she noted how unusual the request seemed to her. But in the end, the clear language and intent of the Massachusetts legislature to protect abuse victims from the further economic harms of abuse won out. Our client walked away with not only the standard year-long extension order but also with an order for lost wages and additional money for medical expenses.

To be sure, the victory in hand does not end the process, either for the client’s self-liberation from her abuser, or for her ability to collect on the judgment. Violations of restraining order provisions related to compensation can be tricky to enforce, especially when clients may still fear inciting their abuser’s wrath if they push too hard to collect a judgment. Likewise, the economic impact of abuse does not boil down so easily into a one-time snapshot of lost wages over a few weeks following abuse. Some clients become homeless upon leaving abusers (indeed, the National Network to End Domestic Violence found that 63% of homeless women have been victims of domestic violence as adults). Others have difficulty finding work because of lost income-earning years during the abusive relationship, or they lose their current job due to missed work, caused either by the abuse, or because of court dates related to the abuse. Immigration issues often arise as well, as many abusers use the threat of reporting a spouse as a form of control and intimidation.

Nevertheless, what is clear from our client’s victory in court and the language of the statute is that the purpose of 209A is to provide remedies for victims that encompass financial losses. In the words of one Massachusetts appellate court, “In terms of the relief available under the Abuse Prevention Act, the statute is sui generis. It incorporates elements of domestic relations relief, criminal relief, equitable relief and tort.” Mitchell v. Mitchell, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 769, 773 (2005) (quoting 3 Kindregan & Inker, Family Law and Practice § 57.8 (3d ed.2002)). Restraining orders under Massachusetts law have greater power than is currently recognized. Accordingly, I hope that our client’s victory and those like it inspire clients and their attorneys to make use of the full scope of relief authorized under chapter 209A, §3, and more broadly to push the conversation on remedying domestic violence to recognize the significant economic impact of abuse.

Sudbury selectmen to undergo training on keeping it civil

Via MetroWest Daily News 

SUDBURY – In hopes to resolve acrimony between each other and with the public, selectmen agreed to hire a mediator to help them work through conflicts.

At a Tuesday night meeting, the board hired Jon Wortmann, of Novel Communications, to host four sessions to teach selectmen to communicate more effectively. The sessions, Wortmann said, will equip board members to understand conflict, deal with it effectively and instate a procedure to engage both with each other and with the community.

The unanimous vote to hire Wortmann comes as a recommendation from the town’s Listening Project, a study on conflict and suggestions on resolving it, which was conducted by the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. The study, requested by the Sudbury Clergy Association, was charged with examining the perceived ill-will in town politics.

Continue reading the full story here.

Roger Bertling on Uber’s lending practices

On May 27, 2015, Roger Bertling, Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law in the Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Clinic was quoted on an Al Jazeera America article regarding Uber’s lending practices. “[These] terms are bad even compared with those generally used with subprime borrowing. “That [lease] is as bad as any I’ve seen on the predatory lending level for autos,” Bertling said.

The Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Clinic, part of the Legal Services Center (LSC), focuses its advocacy efforts on preserving and protecting equity for low- and moderate-income homeowners, combating abuses in the consumer financial services, debt collection, and for-profit college industries, and ensuring equal and fair access to credit markets.

You can read the full article here.

Clinic Files Reply Brief in Apartheid Litigation Appeal

CaptureVia International Human Rights Clinic

Yesterday, the Clinic and our partners filed a reply brief in In re South African Apartheid Litigation, currently on appeal before the Second Circuit. The case, which is being litigated under the Alien Tort Statute, brings claims against Ford and IBM for the assistance and support they provided to the apartheid government and security forces to commit human rights violations against black South Africans.

At issue in the appeal is whether the Plaintiffs will be allowed to file their proposed amended complaints so that the case can proceed. In order to do so, the claims must “touch and concern” the territory of the United States with sufficient force, as mandated by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

Plaintiffs argue that they meet this standard because the proposed amended complaints contain detailed and specific allegations of the ways in which both Defendants, in the United States, took actions to aid and abet the South African government and security forces. For example, the complaints allege that, in the United States, IBM developed hardware and software systems used to produce identity documents that stripped black South Africans of their citizenship and that Ford, in the United States, made decisions not only to sell but also to specialize vehicles used by the South African security forces to oppress and control the black population.

Oral argument before the Second Circuit will be heard on June 24, and a decision is expected later this year.

Blake Strode leaves Harvard Law for Arch City Defenders

Blake Strode, J.D. '15

Blake Strode, J.D. ’15

Via the St. Louis American 

As a student at Harvard Law School, native St. Louisan and former tennis pro Blake Strode would often spend his weekends in Boston knocking on the doors of recently foreclosed homeowners.

Sometimes the families wouldn’t even know their houses were in foreclosure, said Strode, who graduated with honors in May.

“We’d ensure them that they have a lot of legal rights,” he said, speaking of his work of Project No One Leaves, a student practice organization, “and try to help them weather the storm of foreclosure.”

Before Ferguson exploded in the fall, Strode said he might have pursued a career in Washington, D.C., where he had worked the past two summers – including an internship with the Department of Justice in the civil rights division’s voting section. However, the police brutality cases in Ferguson, Cleveland and Baltimore became a “defining theme” for many of his classmates, he said, and they spent their last year in law school holding “die-ins” and questioning the legal system.

“For a lot of students, it changed our focus, and it changed the kind of work that was being done by students,” he said. “It changed our conception of justice so that people saw the legal imperfections in lot of ways – which is huge and the first step in creating change. That’s what’s happening in St. Louis.”

Strode has decided to return to St. Louis to work with the Arch City Defenders, the nonprofit that has pushed for systematic reform of municipal courts in Missouri. Strode said there’s a lot of energy focused on building a more equitable region in his hometown, and he wants to be part of “harnessing” that energy towards helping marginalized residents. That’s one of the things that drew him to Arch City Defenders, he said. The nonprofit provides legal aid to such residents, including homeless, battered spouses, veterans and low-income residents.

“Arch City is a good example of an organization that is giving people a means to have a voice in our legal system,” Strode said, “and working to protect and preserve the laws that currently exist while fighting to expand those rights.”

Continue reading the full story here.

CHLPI launches a campaign to promote federal law and policy reforms for type 2 diabetes

CHLPI PATHS Beating Type 2 Diabetes Recommendations reportVia HLS News

As a direct response to the looming health epidemic, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) officially launched a campaign to promote federal law and policy reforms for type 2 diabetes prevention and management on May 19. This effort is part of CHLPI’s broader, multi-phase Providing Access to Healthy Solutions (PATHS) initiative that first worked to strengthen local and state policy to address diet-related health conditions and more specifically improve type 2 diabetes treatment and prevention. PATHS is now focusing on federal law and policy reform.

The Federal Report, written by CHLPI staff and the clinic students, offers specific recommendations to decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes and to promote effective management of the disease in those who have already been diagnosed. Beating Type 2 Diabetes: Recommendations for Federal Policy Reform builds off of the best-practices identified through years of work at the state and local level and the guidance of people living with and at-risk-for diabetes, health and social service professionals, food providers and producers, government officials and other stakeholders,” says Robert Greenwald, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Director of its Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI).

Continue reading the full story here.

Emily Broad Leib named Assistant Clinical Professor of Law

Emily Broad Leib, Food Law and Policy Clinic

Emily Broad Leib
Food Law and Policy Clinic

Via HLS News

Emily Broad Leib ’08, cofounder and director of Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, has been named Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at HLS.

Broad Leib has worked at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, of which the Food Law and Policy Clinic is a part, since 2010. She founded the Food Law and Policy Clinic in 2011, and in 2013 was appointed Deputy Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.

“In a few short years, she has helped build the Food Law and Policy Clinic into the nation’s most innovative and influential clinic addressing complex problems surrounding the production, distribution, and safety of food and related issues of health and equity,” said Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School.  “Emily’s passion, imagination, and strategic analysis have inspired students and faculty around the country.  We are so delighted she is joining Harvard Law School’s clinical faculty.”

Broad Leib is recognized as a national leader in Food Law and Policy. She teaches courses on the topic and focuses her scholarship and practice on finding solutions to today’s biggest food system issues, aiming to increase access to healthy foods, prevent diet-related disease, and reduce barriers to market entry for small-scale and sustainable food producers. She has published scholarly articles in the Wisconsin Law Review, the Harvard Law & Policy Review, and the Journal of Food Law & Policy, as well as in the Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies.

Continue reading the full story here.

Legal Services Center Launches Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership

Via the Legal Services Center 

On Tuesday, June 2, the Veterans Legal Clinic of the Legal Services Center launched the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership. Through the program, the clinic will refer cases, offer trainings, and provide ongoing support to local attorneys who agree to provide pro bono representation to veterans discharged less-than-honorably in petitions to upgrade their discharge statuses. Having a less-than-honorable discharge can prevent a former servicemember from accessing care and treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs and impede efforts toward stable employment, education, and housing.

The Partnership kicked off with a half-day training at the Boston Bar Association, where attorneys learned about military law and culture, the review boards, and service-related medical diagnoses and treatment, among other topics. In addition to Veterans Legal Clinic attorneys Daniel Nagin, Betsy Gwin, and Dana Montalto, presenters included Susan Lynch, an attorney and Major in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Army Reserves, and Dr. Sandra Dixon, a core faculty member of William James College who teaches about trauma and meeting the needs of returning veterans. In attendance were more than two dozen attorneys, including solo practitioners, public-interest lawyers, and members of some of Boston’s leading law firms.

Hundreds of thousands of servicemembers were separated with less-than-fully-Honorable discharges in the past decades, including more than 200,000 in the Post-9/11 Era. Despite the availability of a legal remedy and a demand for legal assistance, very few attorneys offer representation to former servicemembers before the records correction boards and even fewer provide pro bono representation to low-income veterans. The mission of the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership is to close that gap by providing attorneys interested in assisting those who have worn the uniform with the skills and resources necessary to represent them.

Attorneys who are interested in joining the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership should contact Dana Montalto at dmontalto [at]

Clinic Submits Comments on Proposed Regulations for Offshore Drilling in the Arctic

Via Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic 

The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic submitted comments today on the Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) proposed regulations for offshore exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic.  The Emmett Clinic supported the agency’s proposals to require that operators maintain a secondary drill rig in the Arctic to respond to potential losses of well control and that operators have prompt access to, and immediately deploy, source control and containment equipment in the event of an oil spill.

The Clinic also identified areas in which the proposal could be improved.  In particular, the Clinic criticized DOI’s reliance on a performance-based standard for the secondary drill rig requirement.  The Clinic proposed that the regulations should instead mandate that a relief rig always be available within a minimum distance from the drill site, while still including a performance-based standard as a backstop.  In addition, the Clinic suggested several ways that the regulations could be changed to improve public access to information and provide better opportunities for public participation in the regulatory process.

The comments were part of the Emmett Clinic’s on-going focus on the impacts of offshore drilling, especially in the Arctic.  Previous Emmett Clinic offshore drilling work is available here.

Clinic student James Zhu, JD ’16, took the leading role in drafting the comments.  Abhishek Banerjee-Shukla, JD ’15, and Pradeep Singh, LLM ’15 also contributed to them.  The students worked under the supervision of Clinic Director Wendy Jacobs and Senior Clinical Instructor Shaun Goho.

DOJ Releases Patriot Act Report following Clinic FOIA Request

CaptureVia the Cyberlaw Clinic 

The Cyberlaw Clinic is pleased to report that earlier today the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released its internal audit of the FBI’s use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2007–2009. Release of the Inspector General report comes soon after the Clinic prepared a FOIA request seeking a copy of the report, on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to obtain orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain “tangible things” as part of investigations into foreign intelligence or terrorism. This section has come under intense scrutiny after the revelation by Edward Snowden that the government was using Section 215 to gather records related to every call made on networks operated by Verizon Business Network Services, as well as those of other phone companies. Section 215 is set to expire on June 1, and is currently the subject of vigorous national debate as Congress contemplates whether to reauthorize this surveillance authority.

The report released today is the third addressing the FBI’s use of Section 215, after Congress mandated the DOJ to such periodic reviews under the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005. Earlier reports reviewed the FBI’s use from 2002 through 2005 and for 2006. As the FOIA request prepared by the Clinic notes, this report “will no doubt be one of the most important public documents used in this debate; it is vitally needed to inform the ongoing public debate about whether the provision should be reenacted, and with what amendments.”

Clinic students Naomi Gilens (’16) and Gabrielle Hodgson (’15) worked on this request, along with Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars, Clinical Instructor Vivek Krishnamurthy, and Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project.

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