Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

Providing clinical and pro bono opportunities to Harvard Law School students

Criteria Can Solve a Problem, but Delay a Difficult Conversation

Via Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

By Robert C. Bordone

In recent months, the world has been transfixed by the ongoing struggle of migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in search of a better life. The flow of untold migrants into Europe has plunged the continent into a crisis it has not seen since the end of World War II as various European leaders have wrestled with the challenge of integrating these persons into their country and have contended with how many migrants each nation should take. With politicians in Germany and elsewhere calling on each European Union member state to take its “fair share” of the migrants, or to “do their part,” what stands out to me as a negotiation scholar is the perennial question related to criteria for fair distribution: what are the criteria that help us understand the meaning of “fair share?” Insisting on “fairness” is a worthy aspiration, but the devil is in the details.

Negotiation experts typically emphasize the persuasive value of using objective criteria when influencing issues of distribution in negotiation. A common piece of advice suggests that using external criteria in negotiation can serve both as a shield and a sword. By insisting that questions of distribution rely on objective criteria, negotiators can increase the likelihood that a deal will be durable and acceptable to parties over time. Of course, competing criteria exist in many situations, and much of a negotiation often revolves around determining which criteria are most relevant and trustworthy. Similarly, “fairness,” while a widely accepted norm for what makes a successful agreement, is a concept easy to bandy about in academic circles but much more challenging to pin down on the ground.

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Fighting Injustice in the Tennessee Court System

Last Spring, a group of HLS students traveled to Tennessee to work with Equal Justice Under Law, a non-profit civil rights organization started by alumni Alec Karakatsanis ’08 and Phil Telfeyan ’08 with the help of a Public Service Venture Fund seed grant to challenge inequalities in the criminal justice system. The pair met during their first year of law school and both participated in Harvard Defenders, a clinical student practice organization, and the Criminal Justice Institute, HLS’s public defense clinic.

On October 1st, Equal Justice Under Law filed a Complaint against Rutherford County and the private company it contracts to collect court debts. The lawsuit, brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), the United States Constitution, and Tennessee law, alleges “an extortion scheme” aimed at extracting as much money from people who could not afford to pay their court fines. An important aspect of the problem, the complaint states, is a private company, acting as a “probation officer” to collect not only court debt but also fees and surcharges “through repeated and continuous threats to arrest, revoke, and imprison” those who can not pay.

Harvard Law students together with Equal Justice Under Law helped uncover the debt collecting practices while working on behalf of indigent defendants and their families in Tennessee over Spring Break 2015.

Karakatsanis said that HLS students observed some unusual things going on and began interviewing people outside the private probation company and reviewing documents. They ended up “discovering the shocking and illegal things alleged in the Complaint.”

For more details on this issue please read How to Fight Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons? Sue the Courts. article published by The Marshall Project.

A Warm Welcome to the New Clinicians

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends a warm welcome to Clinical Instructors Larisa Bowman (Harvard Legal Aid Bureau) and Marea Parker (Transactional Law Clinics) as well as Associate Samuel Straus (Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program).

Before joining the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Larisa Bowman supervised students in landlord/tenant cases at the Stanford Community Law Clinic, where she once was a student herself.  She was also a housing staff attorney at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, California. Before that, Larisa spent two years as a Skadden Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County in Redwood City, California, providing representation to tenants in foreclosed properties. Immediately after law school, she completed judicial clerkships with the Honorable William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Honorable Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  Larisa is a graduate of Stanford Law School (J.D. ’09) and Brown University (B.A. ’03).

Marea Parker joined the Transactional Clinics as a Clinical Instructor. Previously, she worked as Assistant General Counsel for Urban America, L.P. and as counsel for Urban America Advisors, LLC in the area of real estate investment management. Her professional practice has focused on corporate law, corporate finance, securities and real estate finance and she has worked for large firms such as Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Cahill Gordon & Reindel. Marea holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, a M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

Samuel Straus will be working with HNMCP Director Prof. Robert Bordone ‘97 to expand Harvard Law School’s capacity to train students in skills of facilitation and dialogue. In addition, he will be helping lay the groundwork for a larger initiative that HNMCP hopes to build related to political dialogue at the community, state, and federal level. As part of his work, Sam will help develop teaching materials, design curricula, and identify sources of financial support to grow the initiative and keep it sustainable over time. Sam has served as a co-facilitator and consultant for the Harvard Negotiation Institute, which provides negotiation workshops for attorneys, business executives, and alternative dispute resolution professionals. He has also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Harvard Law School Negotiation Workshop, an intensive semester-long workshop for Harvard graduate students.

Searching For A Leader, Not Just A General


Robert C. Bordone & Sara del Nido

Listening to the language that most Presidential candidates have regularly been using in their speeches, it’s hard not to have a bunker mentality: battles, wars, and fights seem to be all around us. From Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, nearly all the current candidates have engaged in the rhetoric of war to describe their campaigns. Senator Ted Cruz provided an archetypal example of the mindset by asserting during the most recent Republican debate, “We need to stop surrendering and start standing for our principles.” Many media outlets are no better, framing such debates as fights and linking combativeness with perceived strength. The emphasis on “fighting,” “winning,” and “battles” calls to mind a combat mission or boxing match, not an election.

Everywhere we turn, it seems that our politicians are fighting for every possible cause. But against whom? And why?

Truth be told, it’s likely that nearly all of the Presidential candidates aspire to similar fundamental goals – economic and national security, quality education, freedom of expression – albeit with different strategies on how to achieve them. But what gets lost when these differences are persistently framed as zero-sum battles that the President must fight?

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Christina Zuba Reflects on Summer at HIRC

Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program


Christina Zuba, HLS ’16

By Christina Zuba, 2015 Cleary Gottlieb Summer Fellow

I am unbelievably grateful for the time I spent working as the Cleary Gottlieb Summer Fellow at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).  Throughout my summer at HIRC, I was challenged daily and learned so much about immigration law, the provision of legal services, and myself.  I was so fortunate to be supervised by incredibly talented, supportive, and helpful people who genuinely care about their work and about teaching students to be compassionate and effective lawyers.  Professor Deborah Anker, Sabi Ardalan, Phil Torrey, and Maggie Morgan all served as wonderful role models and mentors, and I cannot imagine a better group of people to have supervised me.

During my time at HIRC I represented clients in various stages of their asylum and immigration processes.  I was able to develop and strengthen many important skills through working at HIRC while seeing clearly that I was truly making a difference in the lives of my clients.  In my first two weeks at HIRC I presented at two master calendar hearings, which is something I had not had the opportunity to do previously.  I formed strong relationships with wonderful and resilient individuals seeking asylum, and I interviewed them many times throughout the summer in order to develop their cases and file their applications.  These interviews were often difficult and incredibly moving, and they had an immeasurable impact on me.  I learned to write affidavits effectively for my clients, being sure to make a strong case and include all the necessary legal elements while still maintaining the client’s unique voice.  In addition to various other assignments, I assisted clients in their applications for work authorization and legal permanent residence.

I cannot put into words how fortunate I feel to have spent my summer at HIRC and to have had the opportunity to work with such inspiring clients and welcoming and passionate supervisors.  These experiences will remain with me for not only the rest of my career but also the rest of my life.  Thank you so much to the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic staff for giving me this opportunity and for encouraging, guiding, and teaching me every day.

Massachusetts SJC Ruling Protects Cellphone Location Privacy

Via Cyberlaw Clinic

cyberlawIn a strong affirmation of the privacy interests of cellphone users, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled unanimously earlier this week that law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth must obtain a warrant to access anything more than a minimal amount of the cell-site location information (CSLI) that telecommunications companies collect about their users. The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in Commonwealth v. Estabrook on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in support of privacy protection for CSLI.

As explained in a previous blog post on this case:

Cellular service providers must know where their subscribers are at any given time to provide them with service. Providers therefore collect vast quantities of location information, tracking the movements of customers wherever they go. Last year, in Augustine, 467 Mass. 230 (2014), the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that, in general, the police must get a search warrant to obtain location information from a cellular service provider. The ruling left open the possibility, however, that the police might be able to obtain a “brief period” of “six hours or less” of location information without a warrant but, instead, with a court order that is considerably easier to obtain.

At issue in Estabrook was whether law enforcement could obtain two weeks of CSLI with a mere court order, and yet take advantage of the Augustine exception, since it would only use six hours of this data in prosecuting the defendant. In rejecting this proposition, the SJC agreed with the position advocated by amici that the government cannot remedy the constitutional violation caused by conducting an unlawful, warrantless search by promising after the fact to use only what it might have lawfully obtained under the “six-hour” exception.

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Harvard Law’s Community Enterprise Project Heads to Oakland, Forges Partnership with Sustainable Economies Law Center

L-R: Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Amanda Kool, SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi, SELC Director of Economic Democracy Ricardo Samir Nuñez, SELC Intern Cyndi Malasky, and Matt Diaz J.D. '16

L-R: Clinical Instructor & Lecturer on Law Amanda Kool, SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi, SELC Director of Economic Democracy Ricardo S. Nuñez, SELC Intern Cyndi Malasky, and Matt Diaz ’16

By Matt Diaz, J.D. ’16 

In early August, Amanda L. Kool, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor of Harvard Law School’s Community Enterprise Project of the Transactional Law Clinics (“CEP”), and CEP clinical student Matt Diaz, J.D. ’16, met with staff members of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (“SELC”) in Oakland, California to cement a partnership between the two organizations. With a shared ambition to foster community economic development through innovative approaches to transactional law, the partnership between the relatively-new law school clinic and the influential legal services organization carries tremendous potential for the organizations themselves, the clients they represent, and lawyers interested in how transactional law can play an important role in the modern economy.

Co-founded by Janelle Orsi and Jenny Kassan, SELC engages a broad set of legal approaches to facilitate “community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment.” Through its various interconnected programs—including its program focused on promoting cooperative businesses—the organization offers legal expertise to empower communities to transition to fairer and more robust local economies. SELC’s multifaceted strategy involves legislative advocacy, workshops, and educational materials for lawyers and community members, and the delivery of legal services through channels such as its “Resilient Communities Legal Cafe,” where SELC staff and volunteer attorneys provide legal consultations to community businesses and organizations.

CEP is similarly invested in community economic development, though CEP’s targeted communities are those that surround the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. In addition to representing clients with a wide range of transactional legal needs, CEP students work in small groups to connect with community organizations, identify transactional legal needs common to their community, and develop tailor-made, comprehensive strategies to address those needs.

Cooperative Connection

During the fall semester, a group of CEP students will work closely with SELC staff to create a comprehensive guide that demystifies the myriad laws related to forming and operating a cooperative business in Massachusetts. The collaboration between CEP and SELC will afford the students access to some of the nation’s foremost experts on cooperatives, while CEP’s local community ties and outreach efforts ensure that the guide will benefit from a strong network of cooperative lawyers and technical assistance providers in Greater Boston, as well. Once finished, the guide will be published, translated, and distributed through the Transactional Law Clinics’ website and through the project’s community partners, as well as hosted by SELC on the state-by-state resources page of their popular website,

Immigrant Entrepreneurship

CEPIn addition to the cooperative guide, CEP tapped SELC’s expertise to finalize a document produced last semester by CEP students Susan Nalunkuma, LL.M. ’15, Steven Salcedo, J.D. ’16, and Diaz. This document, A Legal Overview of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, was created in partnership with the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative and is intended for use by immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, as well as by technical assistance providers and community organizers who work with immigrant entrepreneurs across the state.

Because of the document’s comprehensive foray into diverse areas of law, preparation of the materials entailed cutting-edge research at the intersection of business law, employment law, tax law, and immigration law, bringing together dozens of lawyers, academics, and professionals in the community and across the country. Due to the profile of the project, CEP students and staff were able to connect with people such as Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who became a lawyer in 2014 after a five-year legal battle that ended with a new state law permitting undocumented immigrants to be admitted to the California bar.

“CEP has a successful track record of creating well-researched, useful publications amid the community workshops, client representation, and other great work CEP students complete each semester. However, this project proved to be our most challenging one yet, due to the many areas of law involved and the fact that no one, to our knowledge, has ever compiled such a thorough analysis of the many legal implications of immigrant entrepreneurship. We could not have completed this project without our lead project partner (the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative) and their meaningful connections to the population at the heart of this document, and we are indebted to countless lawyers and other experts across the country who advised and supported us along the way.” ­–Amanda L. Kool, Lecturer on Law  

Though the document was only recently published, A Legal Overview of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts promises to have national significance, as other organizations already plan to build upon CEP’s work by creating new iterations of the document for other states across the U.S. This fall, Professor Eliza Platts-Mills and her students in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic of the University of Texas Law School will be modeling CEP’s project on behalf of immigrant entrepreneurs in Texas, and similar collaborations have been proposed by lawyers in other states. CEP and SELC are currently exploring ways in which SELC can host these state-specific resources for immigrant entrepreneurs on their popular website.

“Working on the immigrant entrepreneurs document has served as an invaluable source of development for me,” Diaz said. “The project presented an opportunity to make a significant impact in uncharted legal territory, uncovering a rabbit hole of legal research possibilities. The effect we have been able to spark on a sizable underrepresented population is a testament to CEP, which allows students to tap into their entrepreneurial spirits and target relevant issues afflicting local community members. I cannot wait to see that effect expand, as organizations around the country build upon the foundation we have built.” –Matt

Everett Police Department and HNMCP Begin Joint Initiative



The City of Everett Police Department and the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP)are pleased to announce the start of a new three month joint initiative to assess perceptions of current Department practices and address any potential sources of tension or conflict between police and local youth. While the Department has worked hard to develop a strong relationship with the youth of Everett, there are natural challenges and conflicts that arise in the course of policing. At a time when the nation is examining how well law enforcement relates to the communities they serve, the Department has enlisted the support of HNMCP in conducting a stakeholder assessment in order to focus on and strengthen its relationship with the youth of the community.

In pursuit of that goal, HNMCP wants to hear the voices of Everett’s diverse community. Over the course of this project, a team of dedicated students from HNMCP will conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with members of Everett youth groups, police officers, community groups, and other interested individuals. The information gathered from these interviews and focus groups, combined with independent academic research and best practices in dispute resolution, will be incorporated into a community presentation on key findings, themes, and recommendations.

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Inter-American Court of Human Rights Summons Brazil to Answer for Violence at Aníbal Bruno Prison

Via International Human Rights Clinic

September 22, 2015 – After three major riots and at least sixteen deaths (including one police officer killed and one prisoner quartered) within the last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has taken the rare step of summoning the Brazilian state to a public hearing at the end of the month to answer for recurring violations at the Aníbal Bruno Prison Complex (renamed Curado Complex), one of the largest prisons in Latin America.

The Court has ordered the Brazilian state to protect the life and integrity of prisoners, staff, and visitors of the notorious prison since May 2014, when it analyzed hundreds of complaints of abuse presented by a coalition of human rights organizations.  At the hearing—set to take place on September 28 and be broadcast live from Costa Rica at 1:00 p.m. EST on the Court website ( the coalition will present new evidence demonstrating the continuation of grave abuses at the Complex, including decapitations, gang rapes, beatings, and knife attacks.

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The Federal Circuit at Harvard Law School

Via Cyberlaw Clinic

CAFC-300x300The Cyberlaw Clinic is delighted to announce that on October 8, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be holding oral arguments at Harvard Law School, in the Ames Courtroom in Austin Hall. The court will hear four cases, starting at 2:00pm.

The Federal Circuit was established in 1982, and has exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals from federal district courts in patent cases. The Court also oversees appeals from administrative tribunals, including the Court of Federal Claims and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (an administrative body created in 2012 under the America Invents Act to review issues of patentability of inventions). Given its focus on matters of patent law, the Court is popularly considered the most important technology law court in the country.

The event on October 8 is an actual session of the Federal Circuit, and the Court will be hearing real cases. As such, the event is free and open to all members of the public who wish to attend. The cases heard will include:

Hirmiz v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 15-5043, a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, on behalf of a child who suffers from neurological damage, which her parents claim is the result of a flu vaccine.

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You Help Me, He Helps You: Dispute Systems Design In The Sharing Economy


We’re excited to announce a new article co-authored by HNMCP Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Heather Scheiwe Kulp, “You Help Me, He Helps You: Dispute Systems Design in the Sharing Economy,” published in the new issue of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy (Vol. 48, 2015), subtitled “New Directions in Community Lawyering, Social Entrepreneurship, and Dispute Resolution.”

Kulp, and co-author Amanda L. Kool, also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, discuss the potential for dispute resolution schemes in a sharing economy, one they argue involves a more efficient use of resources. The sharing economy is at the nexus of fast-paced technology that connects people to previously inaccessible resources to increase local consumption. Kulp and Kool argue that such sharing economies maximize the benefits of ownership by leveraging goods and services into a resource generator allowing increased access to goods and services at a lower-than-market rate. This unique market structure requires a distinct set of laws to address the unique relationships involved, and this article explores how attorneys can best assist in managing conflicts in a sharing economy.

Client Spotlight—Fr. Richard Erickson

Via Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP)

The Rev. Dr. Richard Erickson has participated in two projects with HNMCP—originally as a stakeholder in one of our first projects, with the Paulist Center, in the fall of 2006, and the second as a client, the Sudbury Clergy Association, this past spring 2015. We asked him about his experiences and his response makes clear that he holds the value of clear and constructive dialogue as dear to his heart as we do!

Sudbury Clergy Association
By Rev. Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D.

 To paraphrase Christian scripture very loosely, I did not find HNMCP, HNMCP found me. When I was serving as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston (2006-2011), Prof. Bob Bordone invited me to join ina series of conversations with Catholics who felt disappointed, discouraged and/or angry at some of the teachings of the Catholic Church and/or how those teachings were being implemented locally. From the very start, I was impressed with the approach and demeanor of Bob and his colleagues. I found the conversations to be very enlightening and even, at times, enjoyable. As a leader in the Church, hearing the concerns, hopes and life experiences of my sisters and brothers helped me greatly. What began as conversations about issues and concerns ended as personal sharings. I hope those who took part in the conversations also benefited from connecting with the leadership of the archdiocese in such a personal (and hopefully substantial) way.

In 2012, I began serving as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury. A great blessing to me is the ministry and example of the Sudbury Clergy Association. I have a great deal of respect and esteem for my colleagues, even though there are some matters on which we disagree strongly. At our regular meetings, we began to share concerns about what we perceived to be a strong negative content to public dialogue in our community. At a dinner with the Selectmen, we heard similar concerns. Both the Rev. Barbara Williamson and myself had previous positive experiences with HNMCP, so we invited Bob Bordone and Rachel Viscomi to one of our monthly meetings. As a result, and with great enthusiasm, we applied to become a client of HNMCP.

We were delighted to welcome Seanan Fong and Jiayun Ho in January of 2015. We were amazed at their commitment and hard work. They were totally invested in assisting our community. Through an online survey (open to all residents of Sudbury), focus groups and interviews, Seanan and Jiayun were able to confirm that many people were experiencing dialogue in our town in a very negative way. Their report and recommendations are very impressive. They provided background and narratives on the perception and experiences of those who participated in the project. They offered recommendations on how the town could move toward a more positive and constructive dialogue.  A number of therecommendations are already being implemented.

Perhaps in both projects, the beginning goals were somewhat modest: to enhance communication and relationships in the Archdiocese of Boston and to “test” the perception of the Sudbury Clergy Association about toxic aspects of public dialogue. In the end, the goals were far exceeded with great progress being made in both communities. You could say that with HNMCP, I have been twice blessed.

LSC Volunteers at Stand Down Event for Veterans

Legal Services Center staff at Stand Down 2015

From L-R: Julie McCormack, Robert Proctor, Chris Melendez, Kristin Antolini, Tammy Kolz Griffin, Dana Montalto, Maureen McDonagh, Julia Devanthery, Roger Bertling, Betsy Gwin, Keith Fogg, Dehlia Umunna, Nnena Odim, and Daniel Nagin. (Not pictured: Lisa Bernt)

Via Legal Services Center

On Friday, August 28, 2015, attorneys and volunteers from the Legal Services Center participated in Massachusetts Stand Down 2015 and provided free legal assistance to scores of homeless and at-risk veterans.

Stand Down, organized by the New England Center for Homeless Vets, is a day-long event that provides an opportunity for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to connect with service providers. In addition to legal assistance, services included housing and job assistance, clothing provision, medical and dental care, haircuts, and free meals. The event was held in tents set up by the Massachusetts National Guard in the parking lot of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103 in Dorchester.

“I came away with an overriding sense of gratitude that we were given the chance to meet directly with veterans in need and provide immediate assistance,” said Julie McCormack, Director of the Disability Litigation & Benefits Advocacy Project at LSC. “Some veterans came to the tent in real crisis, and Stand Down created an opportunity for us to be there in the right place at the right time.”

LSC staffed the legal assistance tent for half the day, providing pro bono legal consultations to nearly 50 veterans. Ten attorneys from across LSC’s clinics and practice areas participated, advising veterans in the areas of VA and disability benefits, SNAP and other public benefits, tax controversies, housing law, family law, estate planning, and consumer law. LSC also recruited volunteer attorneys from the Fair Employment Project, the Northeast Justice Center, and Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute to provide advice on employment law, family law, and criminal law matters.

Volunteering at Stand Down is just one example of outreach by LSC to meet the legal needs of our community. LSC also sponsors the People’s Law School, where attorneys and law students provide free legal education to community members. The next People’s Law School event will be held in November 2015 and will focus on the needs of veterans.

Undermining Injustice, One Prison Visit at a Time

Via HLS News

Fernando Delgado ’08 and his students in the International Human Rights Clinic put prisoners’ voices in Brazil at the heart of a human rights case

Fernando DelgadoCredit: Dana Smith

Fernando Delgado
Credit: Dana Smith

There is no marker in Aníbal Bruno prison that speaks to home. In some cells, there are only dozens of men, sleeping on floors stained with feces, eating out of plastic bottles cut in half. But when he stands at the bars, Fernando Ribeiro Delgado pauses, as he would at the doorstep of any stranger’s house.

He offers a handshake to every man inside. He looks them in the eye. He calls each prisoner “Sir.” And though Delgado already has official permission to enter, he asks, because asking matters: Would it be all right if I came in?

“It’s the kind of respect that is obviously required, but that they are denied regularly by nearly everybody,” said Delgado, a clinical instructor in the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School.

Over the course of the years, as an expert on prison conditions in Brazil, Delgado has argued before the inter-American human rights system; negotiated with government officials; and nurtured relationships with prisoners’ families, prison officials, and members of the national press. But it all begins, for Delgado, in the cell blocks and hallways of Brazil’s most overcrowded prisons, listening to the people who live there.

Born in Brazil, fluent in Portuguese, Delgado has worked in these prisons for years, challenging his clinical students to think through the complications that come with mass incarceration and neglect. Inside Aníbal Bruno, they watch him closely: the calm, firm way he negotiates with officers for access; the undivided attention he gives to prisoners; the deference he shows to his local partners, whom he considers the undisputed experts in the rhythm of the place.

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Crimmigration Clinic Bridging the Gap between Criminal Law and Immigration Law

dscn0371Via Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Philip Torrey, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC), has carved out a space in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic for a unique and evolving area of law called crimmigration.

“Crimmigration is a dynamic and growing field of law that concerns the intersection of criminal law and immigration law,” explained Torrey. “It concerns the immigration consequences of criminal activity and the use of the state criminal law machinery (local law enforcement, detention, secure communities, etc.) for the purpose of immigration enforcement as well as the use of the deportation system as a method of crime control.”

In addition to teaching a seminar on this subject, Torrey began a Crimmigration Clinic two years ago for students to gain hands-on experience. Students work on policy projects and impact litigation, and they provide consultation to criminal defense attorneys with noncitizen clients.

“It’s a really complicated area of law–combining state, federal, and administrative–so the day to day work is intellectually interesting,” said crimmigration clinical student Emma Scott. “It’s also an exciting area because it’s still evolving–you can probably find something in the news related to crimmigration every day.”

Last semester, the Crimmigration Clinic worked closely with the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) to assist immigrant clients in obtaining the best results from the criminal law system. This collaboration ensured the presentation of plea deals that would not have unfortunate immigration consequences. Both HIRC and CJI are eager to continue this partnership in the future.

“Collaborating with Phil Torrey and the Crimmigration Clinic students has been one of the highlights of our year at CJI,” said Dehlia Umunna, Deputy Director of CJI. “Our CJI clients are the beneficiaries of exceptional and incomparable expertise provided by Phil and his students.  Phil has assisted us with identifying some of the most effective new approaches in advocating for clients facing immigration consequences, including crafting alternate dispositions that allow clients to avoid deportation and preserve eligibility to pursue available immigration relief. Our students and staff find Phil easy to work with; readily available, knowledgeable and extremely patient! It continues to be an honor to work with Phil and the Crimmigration Clinic, and we look forward to many more years of joint partnership as we emphasize a holistic approach to advocacy.”

Torrey and his students also worked with other groups from the Boston area, including Black Lives Matter activists, and they filed amicus briefs in the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals concerning criminal bars to asylum. The Clinic will take on similar projects next semester, once again working closely with CJI. It will also expand litigation and policy projects both to advance individual client cases and to impact the criminal justice system as a whole.

A Warm Welcome to CHLPI’s New Clinicians

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs extends a warm welcome to the new clinicians who have joined the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI): Clinical Fellows, Emma Clippinger and Christina Rice (Food Law and Policy Clinic), Jamille Fields (Health Law and Policy Clinic); and Senior Associate Director and Litigation Manager Kevin Costello (Health Law and Policy Clinic).

Emma Clippinger, Clinical Fellow, Food Law and Policy Clinic

Emma Clippinger
Clinical Fellow
Food Law and Policy Clinic

Emma Clippinger received her J.D. in 2015 from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar. During law school, she acquired a range of public interest experience–from representing low-income tenants in Brooklyn Housing Court to co-authoring a report on effective civil society engagement for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Emma was a member of the International Organizations Clinic and the Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic. She also co-founded NYU’s Food Law student group and served as an Articles Editor on the Journal of International Law and Politics.

Christina Rice, Clinical Fellow, Food Law and Policy Clinic

Christina Rice
Clinical Fellow
Food Law and Policy Clinic

Christina Rice attended University of Arkansas School of Law Agricultural and Food Law LL.M. program. As a LL.M. candidate Christina explored a broad spectrum of food law and policy issues through a combination of academic study and project-based work. As a graduate and research assistant to Susan Schneider, Director of the LL.M. program, Christina researched various areas of food and agricultural law for scholarly articles, updated chapters in the Food, Farming, and Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law textbook and contributed to the American Agricultural Law Association annual food law updates. Christina is licensed to practice law in North Carolina. She received her J.D. from Charlotte School of Law in 2014.

Jamille Fields, Clinical Fellow, Health Law and Policy Clinic

Jamille Fields
Clinical Fellow
Health Law and Policy Clinic

Prior to joining the Health Law and Policy Clinic, Jamille Fields  spent two years as the Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow placed at the National Health Law Program’s (NHeLP) Washington, D.C. office.  At NHeLP, where Jamille also interned during law school, her work focused on increasing and defending access to reproductive health care, particularly for adolescents, and increasing access to care for women living with HIV. She also participated in monitoring ACA implementation and Medicaid defense advocacy. Jamille is a licensed bar member in the state of Missouri. She received her J.D. and Master of Public Health degrees from St. Louis University’s Schools of Law and of Public Health in 2013.

Kevin Costello, Litigation Manager, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Kevin Costello
Senior Associate Director,
Litigation Manager,
Center for Health Law
and Policy Innovation

Kevin Costello is the Senior Associate Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) and directs the Center’s litigation efforts. Prior to coming to CHLPI, Kevin was in private practice for eight years, most recently as a principal at Klein Kavanagh Costello, LLP. Kevin’s practice involved complex litigation in the fields of housing, health care, civil rights, antitrust and consumer law. He has been appointed by federal courts across the country to represent classes in Multi-District Litigation, as well as in nationwide class action litigation. Mr. Costello is an honors graduate of both Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He served as law clerk to both the Hon. Joseph H. Rodriguez of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Hon. Francis X. Spina of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Student Spotlight: Ariel Eckblad ’16

Ariel Eckblad, J.D. '16

Ariel Eckblad, J.D. ’16

Via Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP)

I write with the fundamental belief that the problems created by humanity can be solved by humanity.”

This note from my mother, at some point, became my mantra after a childhood laced with her stories of the Nigerian civil war, forced migration, and famine. There is a sort of ever-gnawing “it doesn’t have to be this way” ethos that has guided many of my life’s choices. And still, at some point before law school but after high school graduation, these words had hollowed. Penned so often and repeated with such frequency, it seemed they had shed their sincerity. I believed these words in theory but had no clue what they meant in practice. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, HNMCP (and a Google search) gave these words a newfound meaning.

I appreciate that I am a bit of an anomaly amongst my peers in that the Negotiation Workshop was the reason I came to HLS. In fact, I remember the evening I decided not to forgo my acceptance after 3 years of deferring—I was skimming an article on peace-building and the Harvard Program on Negotiation was spotlighted. I, at the time wondering whether a three year postponement had made law school redundant, did a quick Google search for “Harvard Law Negotiation.” What I found, a simple website detailing the work of HNMCP, altered the trajectory of my academic career. It was not until I was sitting in the UK scrolling the HNMCP website that I realized that there was a community of people dedicated not only to the study but to the practice of conflict resolution. I realized that I was not alone in believing that it did not have to be this way—we could peaceably and elegantly resolve the conflicts we caused.

I came to HLS hoping to close the gap between dispute resolution theory and practice. The Spring 2014 Negotiation Workshop was my first step in narrowing this gap. It was here that I was pushed to not only hone my negotiating skills but to question the tacit assumptions that shaped me as a negotiator: What does it mean to “win”? Can one be both empathetic and assertive? What is the role of relationships in reaching an agreement? The Workshop proved to be more than a rigorous academic endeavor. It was here that I began to revisit my once hollow mantra. Conflict resolution morphed from a possibility to a process. Conflict resolution was, in fact, an art and there was a community of people seeking to master it.

After the Workshop, eager to fully engage with this community, I enrolled in The Lawyer as Facilitator (LAF) class and the Negotiation and Mediation Clinic in the Fall of 2014 and served as a Teaching Assistant for the Negotiation Workshop in the Spring of 2015. The clinic and LAF worked in tandem to buttress that which I had begun to explore in the Workshop. In LAF I was encouraged to both develop my facilitation skills and explore what made it difficult for me to employ said skills. As a member of the Clinic I worked on a fascinating curriculum design project, supervised by Professor Bordone, and began to re-engage with concepts that I had learned but not yet taught. Ultimately, delivering a negotiation and conflict resolution training for Seeds of Peace (the culmination of my work in the clinic) and serving as a Teaching Assistant for the Negotiation Workshop were professionally and personally transformative. It was in these moments that I came to appreciate the power of facilitation, the potentiality of collective brilliance, and the sheer joy of teaching.

HNMCP has created a unique space at HLS for which I am eternally grateful. It is, without question, a context in which skills are honed, assumptions are challenged, and rigorous academic work is done. And still, in a larger setting where all of that is commonplace, what makes HNMCP unique is its underbelly of hope. Underneath HNMCP’s work, is a hope that is neither idealistic nor naïve but grounded in study, process, and precision. In this paradigm, student and faculty are allowed to collectively re-imagine conflict, unearth well-designed solutions, and believe that the problems we create we can also solve. Thank goodness for that Google search.

Standing Room Only at the Student Practice Organization Panel

On September 16, 2015, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs together with Student Practice Organization Leaders hosted a panel discussion to introduce students to opportunities to practice law on a pro bono basis at HLS. Over 250 students attended the event.

Student representatives from the 11 Student Practice Organizations (SPOs) discussed the projects, culture, and structure of their organizations, many of them referring to the work they’ve done in SPOs as meaningful and life changing. SPOs, the students said, are an avenue for building new friendships with upperclassmen and creating a tight-knit community at HLS.

Every year, hundreds of students participate in SPOs, working on legal matters under the supervision of attorneys who are experts in their field of law. While they don’t receive academic credit, their work hours can count towards the HLS Pro Bono Graduation Requirement.

Students interested in participating in SPOs this academic year should read the Opportunities for Student Practice at a glance document and visit the Application Deadlines webpage.

Two Project on Predatory Student Lending Alumni Testify to Department of Education

Via Legal Services Center (LSC)

Two alumni of the Project on Predatory Student Lending testified to the Department of Education in support of the rights of borrowers treated unfairly by for-profit colleges to a fair, effective, and efficient process to get their federal student loans discharged. Over the past two weeks the Department held hearings in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to allow the public to comment on its upcoming rulemaking, and to propose new topics to add to the agenda.

Megumi Tsutsui was a student in the clinic in 2013, after working with the Project as a volunteer in 2012. She is currently an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) in Oakland, California, where she works to eliminate barriers to affordable credit. Megumi shared the story of a borrower deceived and ripped off by one of the Corinthian schools campuses in California, and urged the Department to create “a clear and transparent process that is easily accessible for students eligible to receive a discharge of their loans under defense to repayment.” She also highlighted the need for automatic relief for groups of borrowers who are affected by widespread misconduct within a given program, school, or group of schools, and encouraged the Department to investigate when it sees signs of widespread misconduct and to identify students who have been affected and are eligible for discharge.

Mike Firestone, a student in the clinic in 2012-13 and current Director of Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Attorney General in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, delivered powerful testimony urging the Department “to establish simple processes for impacted students to seek the relief to which they are entitled by law and by contracts,” and asking the Department to “rely on conclusions and investigative findings reached by state Attorneys General regarding state law violations and provide discharges without requiring individual students to make a submission to the Department.” He described some of the impressive efforts that Attorney General Healey’s office has pursued to help borrowers harmed by for-profit schools, including lawsuits against several schools, as well as hundreds of hours of outreach to borrowers. He said, “Relief must not be limited just to those who can hire a lawyer, or those who know the magic words about placement rates to communicate in an attestation. . . . These students are counting on us to enforce the law and fight for them.”

We are incredibly proud of their advocacy on behalf of low-income people who have been harmed by widespread lawless, unfair, and deceptive conduct by for-profit schools, and gratified that they continue to work on behalf of their clinical clients’ interests years after each of them left the clinic.

CHLPI’s SWOT Analysis of the Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy is Published

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Robert Greenwald, Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has co-authored an editorial with David Holtgrave, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, on the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) from the federal government. “A SWOT Analysis of the Updated National HIV AIDS Strategy for the U.S., 2015-2020″ has been published by the AIDS and Behavior Journal and will be available in the pubmed database shortly.

The original NHAS was created in 2010 to guide the country’s response to the epidemic through 2015. Since its creation and release, the original NHAS  has served as a useful guide to encourage better evidence-based prevention and care efforts. The updated strategy outlines recommendations and guiding practices to lead policy and care through 2020.

The editorial offers a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis with the aim of increasing discussion of ways to truly fulfill the promise of the updated NHAS and to address barriers that may thwart it from achieving its full potential. The authors highlight a small number of key factors under each element of the SWOT analysis, and conclude with overarching recommendations for next steps. They note that their purpose is not comprehensiveness, but rather to highlight a few factors seen as truly critical, and to hopefully spark further discussion and elaboration in the field.

Excerpts from the editorial praise that the NHAS “is clear that HIV care and treatment must be affordable, accessible, and very broadly defined to encompass the behavioral and ancillary services needed to address the social determinants of HIV…The updated strategy is clear that while we have effective treatments available, many people living with HIV are not able to access them.” The authors go on to highlight a major weakness of the strategy, saying that “it is essential for public health planning to estimate the scope of unmet needs, identify resources to meet those needs, and estimate…the public health and economic impact of such investments. These estimates are essential to develop so as to inform the federal action plan soon to be released.”

“Time is of the essence, for the epidemic marches on every hour of every day in the United States, and the human and economic consequences of the epidemic are enormous,” says Robert Greenwald. “Our hope is that this paper spurs conversation and updates to the strategy that further improve it.”

CHLPI Files Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual

Via Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

On September 4, 2015 the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI), along with seventeen health services, policy, and law professors, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. In this case, the Court is deciding whether self-funded insurance plans can disregard State law and refuse to submit their health care claims data to an All Payer Claims Database (APCD). More specifically, the Court will decide whether ERISA, a federal law governing employee benefit plans, preempts State regulations requiring all health insurers, including self-funded employer based health care plans, to submit their health care claims data to the local APCDs. If the Court decides that these requirements are preempted, self-funded insurance plans—which includes 61% of enrollees in private insurance—will no longer be required to submit their claims data to their APCDs, potentially undermining the breadth of these data sets.

CHLPI’s brief stressed the importance that APCDs have as a data source for important health services and policy research, including recommendations for improving clinical care and controlling health care costs. CHLPI discussed the breadth of research facilitated by data from APCDs as well as the negative ramifications loosing access to this data would have on research. CHLPI also explained why APCDs are unique and why this research cannot be done using alternative data sources. CHLPI spearheaded an academic multi-disciplinary coalition to bring this aspect of the case to the Supreme Court’s attention.

Read the amicus brief here.

President Obama’s Department of Injustice

Via the New York Times

By Alec Karakatsanis, HLS J.D. ’08

WASHINGTON — LAST month, President Obama used his clemency power to reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up on drug-related charges. But for the last six years, his administration has worked repeatedly behind the scenes to ensure that tens of thousands of poor people — disproportionately minorities — languish in federal prison on sentences declared by the courts, and even the president himself, to be illegal and unjustifiable.

The case of Ezell Gilbert is emblematic of this injustice. In March 1997, he was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, Mr. Gilbert was automatically sentenced to a quarter-century in prison, though even the judge who sentenced him admitted that this was too harsh.

Continue reading the full story here.

Interviews with the Bureau Community: Alumnus Jemel Derbali

Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

3b4dac68-8eec-4054-9b74-8a040dd42e0bJemel Derbali
Alumnus, Co-founder of WISE Systems
Class of 2013

“At the Bureau, the way I was thrown into new cases and had to respond on the fly helped prepare me for the twists and turns of a young company.”

Where are you working now?
I founded a company, WISE Systems, with friends from MIT. WISE provides software to help organizations that deliver goods and services on-demand reach customers more effectively.  I am in charge of operations, so I work on everything from finances, to business development, strategy, management, HR, and legal.

How did your time at the Bureau influence your work now?
The bureau taught me how to get things done – how to hustle and solve problems. A lot of the work in founding a company is new to our team and it changes constantly. Similarly, at the Bureau, the way I was thrown into new cases and had to respond on the fly helped prepare me for the twists and turns of a young company. The Bureau taught me how to negotiate, talk to people, work with a team, and to always recognize how discrete details affect the greater whole. Most importantly, it was an opportunity to work alongside incredibly talented individuals. The inspiration and motivation I received from the CIs and students and interns continue to fuel me.

When you graduated law school, what did you think your life would look like in 2015?
I had no expectations. I felt as if HLS and HLAB prepared me to open a lot of doors, and I was intentional about opening the one that made the most sense for me rather than the one most traveled. This instinct brought me into family court and later brought me into my startup.

What’s your favorite memory from your time at the Bureau?
My best memory is of a case where I worked to reunite a client with his child who had been kidnapped by in-laws. In this work there are few clear victories, but this was certainly one of them. I also have fond memories of hanging out on the front porch of 23 Everett chatting about cases and life with the Bureau family.

What was your dream job when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a zookeeper. I loved animals. But I grew to dislike cages.

Who would play you in a movie?
Adrien Brody—because he is skinny and lanky and I think he is handsome.

Any tips on work/life balance?
I need tips myself. Being in love makes everything, life and work, better. Doing something you love around people you love is absolutely necessary.

Interviews with the Bureau Community: Clinical Instructor Stephanie Goldenhersh

Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

69a0c254-cc13-48fa-8e2d-39257636d66dStephanie Goldenhersh
Clinical Instructor, Family Practice
Started in 2007
“When I came to the Bureau, I was surprised that it felt like a legal services office, not like a student workgroup.”

What were you doing before coming the Bureau?
I worked in the family and children’s units at the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts in Worcester (now called Community Legal Aid).

What was your childhood dream job?
I was in second grade when Ronald Reagan was shot. Until then, it had been had my intention to be president, but I decided it wasn’t worth it. My father is a judge and my mother was a teacher. Both of those were always career goals, and in some ways I ended up doing both.

What surprised you most when you came to HLAB?
How similar it was to LACCM. It feels like a legal services office, not like a student workgroup.

Tips on work-life balance?
Figure out the thing that rejuvenates you. Taking time to do that thing helps you work when you’re back at it.

Who would play you in a movie?
When I was a kid, my parents told me that Amy Irving would play me in a movie. I’m not sure I have ever thought I’d be interesting enough for a movie…

Interviews with the Bureau Community: Student Attorney Courtney Lynch

Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

ce99c6ec-3b82-4d8a-81bd-7ac976d54b6bCourtney Lynch,
Student Attorney, Vice President of Membership
Class of 2016

“I want to do what I can to encourage people in society to realize that marginalized people are people first.”

What were you doing before law school?
I worked at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, helping families apply for public benefits, especially focused on children getting on Medicaid. I also volunteered at at a local food pantry in my hometown of Covington, Kentucky.

What has surprised you most as membership director?
I’ve had to be very reflective in talking with 1Ls about how my law school experience has changed, and how much the work we do means to me. I didn’t think about how much HLAB had changed me until started talking with the 1Ls.

What has surprised you about the Bureau?
How accepting the Bureau is. It’s true that Bureau members are always there for each other, no matter how big or small. I knew I would be working with people who are very passionate about the work we do. But I didn’t realize I would be working with people who are very accepting, non-judgmental, open and willing to help you. Bureau members are the type of people that—if you open to them—know exactly how to respond in the way you need them to.

What do you think you’ll do after the Bureau?
I’m torn between public defense (what I came into law school wanting to do) and legal aid work. Working within the Bureau showed me a different side of poverty lawyering where you’re still rooting for the individual, but on a more personal level than the criminal justice system allows. As a public defender, I’m looking for legal loopholes. In family practice, trying to make the judge see the humanity in my client. Either way, I want to do what I can to encourage people in society to realize that marginalized people are people first.

What was your childhood dream job?
Teaching. I had a lot of teachers who set high expectations. My teachers were the first non-family members who took an interest in me, and that meant a lot. Now I still go back to my high school to talk with students about college.

What’s your favorite memory at the Bureau?
At retreat, we did a fishbowl activity in which one group sat in the middle of another and openly answered questions about their professional and personal experiences and failures. Everyone responded with such respect, and there was no judgment.

Any tips on work-life balance?
Know what you enjoy and don’t feel ashamed for doing those things. When you feel like you need to take a step away, take a step away. Instead of trying to plan breaks for yourself, take them when you need them. Don’t worry that you won’t get the work done.

Favorite book as a child?
I loved The Magic Treehouse series. Siblings went on time travel adventures between dinner and bedtime. I was really into knights, kings, and queens at that time.

What’s something we don’t know about you?
I can’t swim at all. I can swim from side to side but I can’t float or wade water.

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.

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