From farm to table and everything in between

FoodPhotoVia the Harvard Gazette

Individuals and communities can improve the food system, according to members of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, which has launched a yearlong, University-wide focus on how to make food distribution more equitable, sustainable, and nutritious.

The campaign kicks off this week, with each day focusing on a different theme — from food production to food waste — along with talks, field trips, cooking demonstrations, and of course, good food.

The Food Better campaign will run alongside the Deans’ Food System Challenge, a challenge in the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) that invites creative and entrepreneurial students to develop innovative ideas to improve the health, social, and environmental outcomes of the food system, both in the United States and around the world. The challenge is co-sponsored by Dean Martha Minow of Harvard Law School and Dean Julio Frenk of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The official launch of the Food System Challenge is Oct. 27.

“Food is a universal issue, because everyone eats,” said Emily Broad Leib, director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. “We’re hoping with this campaign to show Harvard’s ongoing commitment to improving our food system. And we’re hoping students will get involved and take away ideas about how individuals can improve the food system, such as reducing their food waste, making healthier choices, and supporting local farmers.” She added that she also imagines the Food Better week will build momentum and interest for students to participate in the i-lab Deans’ Food System Challenge.

Continue reading the full story here.

Disentangling Ferguson’s Conflicts

RopeVia the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

Many of those writing about the Ferguson conflict have proposed ways to improve or resolve it, from orders for more sophisticated police equipment to calls for “racial conversation.” Save a few pieces, most articles reflexively point fingers or broadly call institutions into question without providing any helpful action steps that the parties involved—or interested observers like the media or average Jane citizen—can take to improve the situation. Even more, the “situation” is rarely defined. What are we hoping to fix? Race relations in America? Community-police interactions? Our criminal justice system? The decline of young people’s respect for authority? Perhaps all of the above, but general platitudes or accusations linking Ferguson to any or all of these causes do not help us actually work to better them.

If we want to address conflicts that bubbled to the surface because of Ferguson, first we need to disentangle the issues. Thankfully, in the seminal negotiation book Getting to YesRoger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton described a tool—the Circle Chart—to use in diagnosing conflict and generating options for resolution. The Chart outlines four steps for inventing options: noting the symptoms; diagnosing the problem/cause; brainstorming general approaches about “what might be done”; and identifying specific action steps and who will take them.1  In keeping with this approach, examining conflicts in Ferguson through the lens of the circle chart might help us begin addressing them more systematically.

Continue reading the full story here. 


Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program Clinical Instructor, Alonzo Emery, Named to the Public Intellectuals Program

Alonzo Emery, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

Alonzo Emery, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

Via the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program

The National Committee on United States-China Relations has named the next slate of Fellows in its Public Intellectuals Program and the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) is pleased to announce Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Alonzo Emery is among them.

The Public Intellectuals Program (PIP), launched in 2005, is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of China specialists who have the interest and potential to venture outside of academia to engage in the public and policy community. Over the course of two years, the program will help twenty young scholars and specialists working in various disciplines to expand their knowledge of China beyond their own interests by introducing them to each other as well as specialists from outside their fields. By requiring each of them to organize a public outreach program, the PIP also encourages them to actively use their knowledge to inform policy and public opinion.

“As the United States and China become increasingly inter-connected, citizens from these nations will benefit from greater mutual understanding,” says Emery.” Having dedicated my career to initiatives linking China and the United States, the Public Intellectuals Program expands my capacity to nurture future stewards of the US-China relationship—a relationship I view as critical to the world’s future.”

Mr. Emery’s interest in and scholarship around China began in his earliest university career when he studied at Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Taiwan University (in addition to Yale University, where he earned his BA with distinction in Political Science and Architecture). During his time as a student at Harvard Law School, Emery participated in HNMCP, helping to manage two projects with Hewlett Packard focused on human rights at their source factories in Dongguan, China. After law school, Emery served as Assistant Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at Renmin University School of Law in Beijing, teaching courses in alternative dispute resolution, international, and American law. He also ran the Renmin University Disability Law Clinic, China’s first law school clinic dedicated exclusively to providing legal services to persons with disabilities. During his time there he managed a third project with HNMCP, this time as the client, and upon joining HNMCP, he organized and managed a fourth project with the Disability Law Clinic, this time acting as Clinical Instructor.

“I am so thrilled that Alonzo has received this well-deserved honor,” enthused Prof. Robert C. Bordone, Director of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program. “The selection committee clearly recognized the many outstanding qualities that make him a valued member of the HNMCP team. I know he will make an important contribution to the work of PIP.”

Join the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll

The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court’s Pro Bono Honor Roll acknowledges the commitment to pro bono legal work by law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government attorney offices, non-profit organizations, law schools and LAW STUDENTS which certify that in the prior calendar year they have met specific criteria. Those which so certify will receive a letter of acknowledgement and appreciation for their commitment to pro bono legal work, will be listed on the Pro Bono Honor Roll on the SJC website, and, if the certification is submitted by October 3, 2014, will be invited to the October 21, 2014, 4pm recognition event at the John Adams Courthouse.

Law students at Massachusetts law schools can certify that they performed at least 50 hours (50) of pro bono legal services between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. Legal work for pay or for credit may not be counted toward the fifty (50) hours. Please note that this is different and separate than the HLS JD pro bono graduation requirement. For more info and the certification form, see the Pro Bono Honor Roll website.

Food Law and Policy Clinic Works with Dean Minow to Launch i-Lab Deans’ Food System Challenge

logoBy Ona Balkus, Clinical Fellow, Food Law and Policy Clinic of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Have you ever considered working for a start-up or pursuing your own innovative business idea? Are you creative and do you like brainstorming with others about how to solve social problems? Are you concerned with the negative impacts of our current food system?

This school year, students will have the exciting opportunity to participate in the i-Lab Deans’ Food System Challenge, which invites creative and entrepreneurial students to develop innovative ideas to improve the health, social, and environmental outcomes of the food system in the United States and around the world.

Each year the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab), a cross-University resource serving Harvard students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, organizes a series of Dean’s Challenges that encourage students from across the university to develop innovative solutions to pressing social issues. This will be the first Dean’s Challenge sponsored by Dean Martha Minow, who is co-sponsoring the Challenge with Dean Julio Frenk of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Attorneys and students from the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation have been thrilled to work with Dean Minow to develop and plan this Challenge.

Why is the Food System Challenge timely and important?
Our current methods of producing, distributing, and consuming food are damaging both for human health and for the planet. Rates of diet-related disease, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, are rising in both developed and developing countries, and the fertilizers, chemicals and fuel used to produce and transport food are causing devastating pollution and contributing to global climate change. Further, the food system does not meet the basic social justice goals of ensuring access to food for all or supporting fair-paying, safe jobs for those working in the agricultural or food service sector.

Students will be able to submit proposals for ideas in the following four topic areas: (1) Producing Sustainable, Nutritious Food, (2) Innovating in Food Distribution and Markets, (3) Improving Our Diet, and (4) Reducing Food Waste.

What are the guidelines and timeline for the Challenge?
On October 27th, the official Kickoff event for the Challenge will feature Dean Minow and keynote speaker Ayr Muir, founder and chief executive of Clover Food Lab. All students and faculty interested in learning more about the Challenge are invited to attend. In early February, teams will submit their proposals. Teams must include at least one current Harvard student in order to participate in the challenge. Teams are encouraged to be interdisciplinary, with members from at least two disciplines. In early spring, several teams will be selected as finalists and given $5,000 and a mentor to incubate their ideas. At the end of the year, the winning team and two runners-up will receive larger cash prizes.

How can law students get involved in the Challenge?
Law students can participate in several key ways in the Deans’ Food System Challenge.
First, students can start or join a team of students to develop a proposal for the Challenge. Law students can make many unique contributions to Challenge teams, including analyzing the relevant legal and policy frameworks and helping to develop the business plan.

Second, students can participate on the Challenge’s crowd-sourcing website, where students, faculty, and others engaged in the food system can have an open dialogue about pressing food system problems and promising solutions, and provide real-time feedback on Challenge contestants’ ideas. Students can meet other potential teammates on this website, or brainstorm and give feedback without joining a team.

Third, FLPC has partnered with Harvard Sustainability Office and Harvard University Dining Services to launch a year-long “Food Better” campaign that includes events focused on food system issues to be hosted all across the university. Students interested in learning more about the Challenge and the food system more generally should attend these great events.

What do law students work on in the Food Law and Policy Clinic?
Food law and policy is a rapidly emerging field with complex challenges that require innovative and creative attorneys and experts in a wide range of disciplines. FLPC provides law students with opportunities to work with a broad range of clients and communities to improve their food systems. In the 2014-2015 school year, students enrolled in the FLPC will work on a wide range of projects, including working with advocates in Puerto Rico to establish the Island’s first food policy council; working to improve type 2 diabetes treatment and prevention by helping to develop and implement strategic law and policy reform (a joint project with the Health Law and Policy Clinic); supporting reform of the current expiration date system, which contributes to high rates of food waste in the U.S.; and drafting comments to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on ways to make proposed food safety regulations friendlier to small-scale and sustainable food producers. FLPC welcomes law students to enroll in the Clinic in future semesters!

Learn more about the i-Lab Deans’ Food System Challenge and Food Better events here.
Learn more about the Food Law and Policy Clinic here.

Congratulations to Amanda Kool on her promotion to Clinical Instructor

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

For the past two years, Amanda has served as the Transactional Law Clinics (TLC) Fellow, advising students in the Community Enterprise Project, a division of TLC. In that role, she and her students have worked in partnership with various community organizations to address persistent legal barriers to economic development in the City of Boston. Amanda also served as a supervising attorney in the Recording Artists Project, a student practice organization in which teams of law students represent recording artists in contract negotiations, intellectual property protection, and other transactional legal matters.

“After two great years as a Clinical Fellow, I’m thrilled to remain here at Harvard Law School and step into the role of Clinical Instructor at TLC, as well as continue my work with the Recording Artists Project. I’m fortunate to work with such incredible students and colleagues and can’t wait to see where our hard work takes us next.” Amanda’s main focus will now be on supervising clinical students placed at TLC.

She is an active member of the American Bar Association and is the author of numerous publications on community economic development, entrepreneurship, and agriculture law. Recently, she co-authored the article Many Advocates, One Goal: How Lawyers Can Use Community Partnerships to Foster Local Economic Development’ with Brett Heeger, J.D. ’14, and is currently co-authoring an article with Heather Kulp, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer in Law in the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, tentatively titled, “An Uber Conflict: Dispute Resolution in the Sharing Economy,” which is slated for publication in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy this fall.

Prior to joining the Transactional Law Clinics, Amanda worked as a corporate and finance associate attorney at Nixon Peabody LLP in Boston. During law school, she completed internships with Judge Susan J. Dlott in the Southern District of Ohio, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Resource Conflict Institute in Nakuru, Kenya, and Nixon Peabody LLP. Following law school, Amanda spent a year as a pro bono attorney with Conservation Law Foundation.

“We are delighted to have Amanda continue on with TLC in her new role as Clinical Instructor,” noted Brian Price, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Transactional Law Clinics. “She is a valued contributor to TLC, including her work with our Community Enterprise Project as well as the Recording Artist Project.  The law school and HLS’ clinical community are fortunate to have her.”

Behind Bars, Law Students Find Their First Clients

HLSVia the Harvard Law Record 

I didn’t think my first cross examination would happen before my 1L Fall exams.

On a brisk December morning, I and my 3L supervisor drove the almost 40 miles to the maximum security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center to defend our client, an inmate, at his disciplinary hearing on behalf of Harvard’s Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP). We practiced for much of the car ride, going over the Department of Correction’s evidence and our possible lines of argument. We edited and tinkered with my closing argument so much that by the time we arrived, the paper it was written on was a maze of cross-outs, scribbles, and underlines.

And then, six weeks before I first stepped foot in Criminal Law class, I walked into prison.

There are few things as humbling as having your client sit in shackles beside you even as you argue his case. At Souza-Baranowski, prisoners have even their hands shackled, loosened just enough so that they can sign documents. In a small visiting room, I, my supervisor, our client, the prison’s disciplinary officer (who can function as a prosecutor), and the judge-like hearing officer sat closely together. The hearing officer, himself an employee and former guard with the Department of Correction, started his tape recorder and we were off.

A hearing is a very fast, somewhat intense procedure. The hearing officer ran down the list of charges and asked our client for a plea to each of them: not guilty was his to response to all charges. Then the disciplinary officer summoned in a guard as a witness, asked him a few basic questions and turned him over to me.

Continue reading the full story here.