News From the Hale Dorr Legal Services Center

BY JEFFREY JAMISON

With over 40 clinical courses, Harvard has, as the school proudly boasts, “one of the most extensive clinical programs in the nation.” Hale Dorr Legal Services Center, in Jamaica Plain, is the home to many of HLS’s clinical programs. Founded over 20 years ago by Professors Jeanne Charn and the late Gary Bellow, the Center is “a laboratory for innovative approaches to the delivery of high quality, civil legal assistance, and has an active caseload of 1,000-1,200 cases at any one time,” according the Center’s website. This semester there are 67 students working on a variety of cases and projects at the Center. Starting this week, The Record will report on the efforts of HLS students working at the Center. For more information on the Hale Dorr Legal Services Center visit http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/clinical/lsc/.

The Art Law Clinic

The Art Law Clinic is a transactional clinic that offers students the opportunity to assist museums and other non-profit arts organizations. These arts organizations need legal assistance on a broad range of issues, including charitable giving, corporate governance, cultural property, intellectual property, and tax issues.

Effie Barton (2L) is working with the Corporate Governance committee of an organization’s Board to help review its by-laws. Laura Damerville (2L) is helping a community arts organization evaluate its tax-exempt status. Arabella Yip (3L) is drafting a comprehensive research memorandum for a client on cultural property issues. Lindsay Bleier has worked with a client who requested help in understanding tax law regarding charitable giving.

Community Enterprise Project and Recording Artist Project Clinic

The Community Enterprise Project (CEP) offers students practical experience in a transactional law practice, primarily in the areas of business law, real estate law, and non-profit tax-exempt law. Clients include local small businesses and entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, community development corporations, commercial and residential real estate parties, and other persons and firms actively involved in commercial or economic development activities. CEP is also home to the Recording Artist Project (RAP). RAP students get hands-on experience representing and counseling Boston area musicians, independent record labels, production companies, songwriters, artist managers and other entertainment entrepreneurs and firms. Client issues range from trademark, copyright, licensing, contracts, business entity formation and emerging internet content and business law.

Kawana King (2L) filed an argument in response to an initial trademark registration denial from the Patent and Trademark Office. Kate Dixon (3L) assisted a start-up optical store in obtaining a $50,000 SBA loan. Wayne Corbett (2L) has been providing representation and advice on obtaining federal tax exemption to an organization hoping to operate a musical arts program for Boston youth. Esther Haley (3L) has been counseling a client seeking to provide charitable assistance in an impoverished village within an African nation. Aaron Haas developed a customer contract to be used by a client selling customized decorative home furnishings. Alexandra Chirinos (2L) assisted a client to understand and have prepared the necessary documentation to dissolve a corporation. Tina Chen (3L) and Allison Driscoll (3L) are each representing first time homebuyers with their property purchases, negotiating and drafting agreements, and providing advice throughout the process.

Recording Artist Project students Giselle Woo (2L) and Kevin Mosher (3L) are researching and advising music clients on various international copyright law issues, one with regard to a particular Asian country, and another involving several European countries. Dan Sussner (2L) is working with a team of other RAP students representing and advising a music client working on a film project and functioning in multiple capacities including music supervisor. Jessie Mishkin (3L) and Dwight Hutchinson (2L) are developing artist recording agreements for independent record labels and production companies. Mark Maher (2L) is advising RAP clients on various licensing, trademark, copyright and ASCAP registration issues.

Family Law & Mediation/Special Education Clinics

Students in the Family Law Practice address issues of domestic violence, custody, visitation, child and spousal support, support arrears, health and life insurance, and the equitable division of marital property and debt in the context of abuse prevention, divorce, separate support, annulment, paternity, modification, contempt, guardianship and adoption actions. In the Mediation Practice students help parties address and resolve issues including custody, visitation, child support, division of property and debt, tax implications and child’s education. Students in the Special Education Practice represent families in special education cases concerning the educational needs of children with disabilities who have been exposed to family violence. Students represent children and their parents/guardians in special education and related matters.

Bethany Lobo (3L) and Christopher Lanese (3L) conducted a deposition in a paternity case scheduled for trial on 11/15/05. The issues concern family violence, custody, visitation and support for the parties’ six-year old daughter. Christine Speidel (3L) argued against the issuance of an abuse prevention order in Malden District Court. Lisa Cloutier (2L) drafted a letter to a legislator explaining the problems with the current version of a bill addressing access to school records for perpetrators of domestic violence. Lisa was also involved in strategy discussions and lobbying efforts with regards to redrafts of the bill.

The HELLP Clinic

The Health, Employment, Living Legacy and Planning Unit (HELLP) offers clients in the community a broad range of assistance in the areas of estate planning and consumer rights, disability rights and employment rights. The unit specifically reaches out to provide legal services to the terminally ill, disabled and frail elderly. The HELLP unit houses the Center’s AIDS Law Clinic and Passageway Domestic Violence Law Project.

Jennifer Chu (3L) represented a single mother accused of fraud for underreporting earnings before a hearing officer at the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Jen succeeded in clearing her client’s name and hopefully prevented the levying of a large debt to the DTA. Emily Famutimi (3L) and Sarah Schalman-Bergen (2L), staffed the onsite law clinic for people living with HIV/AIDS at the Quincy Medical Center. Emily and Sarah provided advice and limited assistance to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS and accepted 6 cases for full representation that includes providing comprehensive estate plans for all of the clients and a permanent co-guardianship for a single parent mom living with HIV. Sarah Boonin (HLS ’04), a Skadden Fellow, is spearheading our new and innovative health-law collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, aimed at providing comprehensive legal services to victims of domestic violence. Sarah has provided legal advice and limited assistance to victims of domestic violence in a range of legal areas, such as divorce, custody, child support, estate planning, and even some immigration law. Autumn White (2L) represented a client at a hearing to extend a much-needed restraining order, and was able to help her client get a two-week extension.

Housing/Litigation Clinic

The Legal Services Center’s Housing/Litigation Clinic comprises two distinct practice groups, the Landlord/Tenant Practice Group and the Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Practice Group. The Landlord/Tenant Practice Group works on a variety of issues affecting low-income tenants and the low-income housing market in the city of Boston. The Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Practice Group focuses its advocacy efforts on preserving and protecting equity for low- and moderate-income homeowners and ensuring
equal and fair access to credit markets. The practice is primarily litigation that focuses on banking, consumer, and real estate law and also offers some transactional and bankruptcy practice opportunities to students.

Jeff Jamison (3L) argued before the Housing Court in connection with an ongoing class action brought by the Landlord/Tenant Practice Group against the Boston Housing Authority based on the presence of lead paint throughout the BHA’s Charlestown housing development. Through Jeff’s efforts and those of other HLS students who have worked on the case, the Housing Authority agreed to remove the lead paint from throughout the development. David Gise (3L), David Tressler (3L) and Noah Popp (2L), after a series of negotiations, have reached an agreement in principle with a landlord pursuant to which the landlord will provide significant compensation to the tenants in exchange for the tenants’ agreement to move from the building voluntarily.

Eden Essex (3L), Brad Love (2L) and Scott Sambur (2L) completed an Appeals Brief for the First Circuit in a case in which the Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Practice Group is representing a single mother of two children who was about to lose her home as a result of the unscrupulous actions of a “predatory” lender. Through Eden, Brad, and Scott’s efforts as well as those of Dan Mosteller (3L), who worked on the case last semester, the client has been able to keep her home as litigation over the lender’s action proceeds. Yixin Tang (2L) argued a summary judgment motion in the Land Court seeking to clear a cloud on title for the home of a disabled, elderly client.

Comments