Praise for Shareholder Rights Project

Via The New York Times:

Shareholder efforts that actually succeed in changing dubious corporate governance policies are so rare that when they happen, it makes you sit up and take notice. So it’s worth examining the results achieved so far this year by the Shareholder Rights Project, a program operating at the Harvard Law School. And with any luck, its success might shame do-nothing investment managers, like those running many mutual funds, into action.

To learn more about the Shareholder Rights Project at HLS, visit their website.

Q&A with Immigration Clinic’s Phil Torrey

Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Phil Torrey

We recently sat down with Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Phil Torrey to discuss the intersection of criminal law and immigration, the new course he is teaching this fall, and how he became interested in immigration law. (Please note that responses have been edited for length.)

What is “crimmigration” and what will students learn in the new course and clinical placement?
Crimmigration is the intersection of criminal law and immigration. It can refer to the immigration consequences of criminal activity but it also encompasses the general criminalization of immigration status. Because it’s so difficult to obtain immigration protection for non-citizens who have been accused of engaging in criminal activity, this group is often the most in need of help.

The clinical seminar will include discussion of doctrinal topics as well as policy issues. Students in the clinic will be divided into teams and complete at least one crimmigration-related project. The goal of the course and clinical work is to give students the tools necessary to spot and evaluate the immigration consequences of criminal activity.

How did you become interested in the topic of crimmigration?
When I was volunteering at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), I worked with clients who had criminal convictions in their past. These cases were extremely challenging, but incredibly important as many of the clients had been advised by their criminal defense attorneys to plead guilty to avoid jail time without understanding the effect that had on their immigration status. I quickly became interested in learning more about the complex area of criminal law and immigration law. The issue has been growing in importance on a national level since 2010, when the Supreme Court decided that defense attorneys must advise clients about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime (Padilla v. Kentucky). Clinic Director Debbie Anker was a big proponent of doing more crimmigration work at HIRC and I was excited to help develop the new course and clinic with her.

What other immigration issues do you work on?
I’m the supervising attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), a student practice organization affiliated with our clinic. Among other projects and activities, HIP students represent clients in immigration detention at their bond hearings. Most of our clients in the bond hearing project have some type of criminal activity in their past, so HIP’s work complements the crimmigraton clinic nicely.

Other projects that HIP students are working on include helping refugees navigate the application process for securing green cards. They also handle family reunification petitions when someone is granted asylum and looking to bring their family to the United States. In fact, most of the petitioners are former clients of HIRC.

How did you find yourself at HLS?
I took a circuitous route. In law school, I took an immigration and asylum clinic, which I really enjoyed. After law school, while working at a large corporate firm, I took advantage of their leave policy to work as a fellow at GBLS, and I became familiar with the HIRC team. During this time, I became attached to my clients and to the work but I had to return to my firm after my fellowship ended. After staying at the firm for about another nine months, saving money, and getting the blessing of my very supportive partner, I quit and returned to GBLS as a volunteer. Eventually, I applied for this position at HIRC when it opened up and the rest is history.

Tom Koglman Goes from Police Officer to PLAP Student Attorney

PLAP student attorney Tom Koglman

Each summer, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) hires several full-time legal interns. Tom Koglman writes about why he chose to work at PLAP this summer.

“I was a police officer for almost twelve years before I came to Harvard Law School, so some people were surprised that I would want to spend my 1L summer representing prison inmates. I believe that the two roles are complementary, though. As a police officer, I was sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, and as a student attorney with PLAP, I am defending the constitutionally granted rights of inmates. If the goal is justice and equality for all under the law, then I don’t see a contradiction. I’ve been inside plenty of jails and prisons before, but stepping in through the front door and meeting with an inmate as an ally is a completely new experience. I joined PLAP so that I could add more depth to my understanding of the criminal justice system, view it from a different perspective, and have an opportunity to challenge my preconceptions. Working with PLAP will make me a better advocate for my clients, provide a service to people who desperately need help, and give me a more balanced understanding of the law.”

Note: This post was adapted from the PLAP newsletter.

Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein Represent Families of 2003 Bolivian Massacre Victims

Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein of the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) are part of a team of lawyers representing family members of those killed in government-planned massacres in Bolivia in 2003. Read more in HLS News and on the IHRC blog about the most recent allegations against the former president and former defense minister and the role of IHRC clinical students who contributed to the case.

Emily Leung Discusses Immigration Law with HLS Summer Interns

Clinical Fellow Emily Leung

Every summer, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs hosts a summer speaker series for undergraduate and law student interns working in the clinics.

Clinical Fellow Emily Leung in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic kicked off this year’s series with a thoughtful discussion about the value of embracing a non-traditional career path, the types of immigration cases she has worked on, and how she helps her clients tell their story.

Coming later this summer: sessions on predatory lending, family law, health law, ethics, human rights, estate planning, public interest careers, and law school admissions. One of the perks of being a clinical intern!

Becca Gauthier Hits the Ground Running at the Legal Services Center

By Becca Gauthier, Disability/Administrative Law Clinic Legal Intern

Becca Gauthier (R) with supervisor Julie McCormack (L) at her first Social Security Administration hearing

As a first year law student at Harvard Law School, I didn’t get a chance to participate in any hands-on client work. However, that quickly changed upon starting my job at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center this summer. I work in the Disability/Administrative Law Clinic and my main role is to help clients whose Social Security claims have been denied. My first hearing was set for less than a month after starting, so I had to quickly figure out what I needed and make sure a hearing memo and opening statement were ready to go. I also met with my client multiple times and worked to get him ready to go in front of the judge.

The hearing went smoothly. I was able to ask my client all of the questions I had for him, and the judge seemed receptive. The judge then questioned a vocational expert who confirmed the client would not be able to work. Now we wait and hope that the judge will rule that our client is disabled so that he will be able to receive the benefits he so desparately needs. I have a few more hearings scheduled and have filed a complaint for a case in District Court. I look forward to seeing what the next few months bring and I am happy to be staying on at the Center for the fall semester!

Cyberlaw Clinic’s Chris Bavitz Interviewed by Marketplace

Via Marketplace:

The biggest name in Internet radio is buying an FM station. Pandora says the move will help the company get its content at a lower cost, but music publishers are crying foul. If the FCC signs off on the sale, Pandora will be the proud owner of KXMZ-FM in Rapid City, S.D., and save about 1 percent of its revenue on music publishing rights….

With the business models in music broadcasting changing so quickly, there’s no royalty structure yet that works for everyone’s bottom line, according to Chris Bavitz, with Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to get to a one size fits all music royalty rate for musical compositions,” Bavitz says.

A Warm Welcome to Alonzo Emery

Alonzo Emery at Renmin University of China Law School (Photo via Harvard Law Bulletin)

The HLS clinical community welcomes Alonzo Emery (JD ’10) to the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) team as a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law. Learn more about Alonzo’s appointment, his history with HNMCP, and his work at Renmin Law School, including running the university’s Disability Law Clinic, on the HNMCP website.

Cyberlaw Clinic Weighs in on Extended GPS Tracking

During the Fall 2012 semester, Clinical Fellow Kit Walsh and clinical students Matt McCullough and James Ren of the Cyberlaw Clinic worked on an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They argued in the case Commonwealth v. Rousseau that “GPS surveillance poses a serious threat to individual liberty given the breadth of information that it provides to law enforcement”. The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes on their blog about the recent decision in the case:

In a landmark decision in Commonwealth v. Rousseau, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that people “may reasonably expect not to be subjected to extended GPS electronic surveillance by the government” without a search warrant….

Read more about the case and other clinical projects on the Cyberlaw Clinic blog.