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GW LAW BRIEFS: Legal Clinics Update

Phyllis Goldfarb Named Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers

Nick Gingold

Phyllis Goldfarb, Jacob Burns Foundation Professor of Clinical Law and associate dean for clinical affairs, received the 2012 Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers Award. The award, presented by the Clinical Legal Education Association, recognizes an individual who has contributed to the advancement of clinical legal education and fostered a spirit of community.

"Phyllis Goldfarb has, for many years, been a towering figure in clinical legal education, and there is no one more deserving of this award," says former Dean Paul Schiff Berman. "The clinical program at GW Law is a national leader, and that is due in no small part to Phyllis' guidance and vision."

The award was presented to Associate Dean Goldfarb in Los Angeles at the Association of American Law Schools' Conference on Clinical Legal Education in May. Letters supporting her nomination came from colleagues, both clinical and non-clinical, at GW and Boston College, where she taught until 2007.  She also received letters of support from other professional colleagues and from many former students whom she mentored, including some who are now teaching themselves.

"Her contributions have been extraordinary," said New York University School of Law Professor Tony Amsterdam. "She's gotten rave reviews from conference participants for her lectures, leadership of workshop sessions, critiques, and insights offered during plenary and small-group discussions. These were consistent with the renown that Phyllis enjoys in the national clinical teaching community for a powerful combination of imaginative thinking, practical sophistication, technical excellence, and resourcefulness in advocacy and in teaching advocacy."

Advocacy and Adjudication: A Judge's Perspective

The Hon. William H. Pauley III offered GW Law students a judge's perspective on advocacy and adjudication.

The Hon. William H. Pauley III, U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, visited the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics to give a lecture titled "Advocacy and Adjudication: A Judge's Perspective."

Judge Pauley regaled clinic students with the history and stories of the federal court in the Southern District of New York, which dates back to the 1700s. He contrasted that with the present court, which hears thousands of cases each year, and offered his insights on what constitutes quality lawyering and advocacy.

Among many topics, Judge Pauley addressed the elements of effective oral advocacy, highlighting the need for lawyers to tell engaging stories—through witnesses and arguments—during the presentation of their cases. Following the lecture, the clinics hosted a reception for Judge Pauley, who later that day served as a judge in the semifinal round of the Law School's Van Vleck Moot Court competition.

Increasing Visibility

Report Raises Awareness of Human Rights Violations Experienced by LGBTI Detainees

GW Law students Beverly Mbu and Katerina Herodotou present the report they helped create alongside Anna Gallagher, partner at Maggio & Kattar and founder of the International Detention Coalition.

Abdul El-Tayef

The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) hosted a breakfast and panel discussion this spring on the preliminary findings of its report Increasing Visibility: Global Protection Gaps Faced by LGBTI Refugees in Detention. The report documents human rights violations experienced by LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) refugees in detention worldwide.

LGBTI refugees are particularly vulnerable in immigration detention, facing protection gaps that expose them to increased levels of violence, harassment from officials, and limited access to health care. The report provides a global overview of the specific human rights violations experienced by refugees in immigration detention, highlights the absence of data on this vulnerable community, and offers recommendations regarding how such violations should be redressed.

"It was encouraging to gather a community of advocates together to raise awareness around human rights issues affecting so many LGBT individuals all over the world," says GW Law student Katerina Herodotou, who worked on the project. "The attendees shared our dedication and urgency to work for the protection of migrants facing a heightened risk of violations of their human rights."

The report is the product of eight months of research by four GW Law student researchers—Katerina Herodotou, Beverly Mbu, Carol Wu, and Matt Warren, JD '12—and examines protection gaps confronted by LGBTI immigrants in Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Professor Shana Tabak, a Friedman Fellow in the GW Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, served as the supervisor of the LGBTI Detention Project.

"I was honored to collaborate with the International Human Rights Clinic students and the experts who served on our panel as they spearheaded this event," says Professor Tabak. "Not only did the clinical students convene a full crowd of advocates to discuss the intersection of LGBTI rights, refugee rights, and detainee rights, but they also did an exceptional job participating in a lively discussion of complex protection issues on which they had become experts throughout the course of the semester."

Joining the GW Law students on the panel to comment on the report's findings were Anna Gallagher, a partner at Maggio & Kattar and founder of the International Detention Coalition; Duncan Breen, senior associate for the Refugee Protection Program at Human Rights First; and Rachel Levitan, a refugee and LGBTI advocate.

Friedman Fellows Land Clinical Teaching Positions

Friedman Fellowship alumnae Annie B. Smith, LLM '11, and Amanda Spratley, JD '08, LLM '10, have both landed tenure-track clinical teaching positions at prestigious law schools. The fellowship program is a training ground and launching pad for young lawyers interested in clinical teaching careers.

"We're optimistic that this is the beginning of a surge," says Associate Dean Phyllis Goldfarb, adding that "Annie and Amanda are inspiring ambassadors of the Friedman Fellowship program, and we wish them long and satisfying careers at the intersection of lawyering and academia."

Professor Smith served as a 2009-11 Friedman Fellow, splitting her time between the Public Justice Advocacy Clinic and the International Human Rights Clinic. She served as a visiting GW Law professor this past academic year, directing the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) during Professor Arturo Carrillo's sabbatical. This fall, Professor Smith began a tenure-track clinical teaching position at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, teaching a civil litigation clinic.

At the IHRC, she directed the clinic's Anti-Trafficking Project, working with clinic students on a major federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 18 plaintiffs who had been brought from the Philippines to the United States by employers who held them in near-servitude conditions. She hopes to continue her advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers and the immigrant community at the University of Arkansas clinic.

Professor Spratley served in the inaugural class of 2008-10 Friedman Fellows as the first fellow in the Small Business and Community Economic Development Clinic (SBCED). This fall, she began a tenure-track clinical teaching position at the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth, launching a community economic development clinic.

As a Friedman Fellow, Professor Spratley worked with Professor Susan Jones and clinic students on a variety of issues relevant to support for visual and performing artists. Her LLM thesis, "Connecting Law and Creativity," was published in the Hastings Business Law Journal in 2012.

During their time in the GW Law clinical program, Professors Smith and Spratley acquired abundant experience in clinical teaching and the supervision of law students on clinical cases and projects. Both professors said this combination of experiences proved invaluable as they entered the clinical teaching market.

"I am grateful for the tremendous opportunities offered by the Friedman Fellowship and for the guidance and support of Associate Dean Phyllis Goldfarb and the faculty," says Professor Smith.

Gutman Elected to D.C. Bar Board of Governors

GW Law congratulates Professor and Public Justice Advocacy Clinic Director Jeffrey Gutman on his election to the D.C. Bar Board of Governors. Professor Gutman, an active member of the D.C. Bar, just wrapped up a year serving as the bar's treasurer.

Righting International Wrongs

Arturo Carrillo Litigates Case Before Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Professor Arturo Carrillo (right) with clients Richard Vélez and Sara Román

Professor Arturo Carrillo, director of the International Human Rights Clinic at GW, litigated the clinic's first case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The case, initially filed in 2005, aims to bring justice to a Colombian cameraman, Richard Vélez, who filmed human rights abuses and then was attacked and persecuted for it by the Colombian security forces. Mr. Vélez and his family were forced into exile in 1997 as a result of this persecution.

"GW Clinic students and I have been litigating this case on behalf of Mr. Vélez and his family since the GW International Human Rights Clinic was founded in 2004," says Professor Carrillo. "To make it to the Inter-American Court and have the clients tell their story to impartial international judges after seven years of litigation is very exciting. The impunity in this case is appalling, and this is their only chance of having justice done." A final judgment is expected later this year. There is no appeal.

Funding for litigation expenses was provided by Microsoft as part of its support for the Global Internet Freedom and Human Rights project at GW Law School.