Another year draws to a close. We are thrilled to congratulate our newest graduates and recognize students who have received public interest awards. In this issue of Create Change, you can read about some of the amazing people who are part of Stanford Law School's public interest community. As always, we welcome your feedback and hope you find this newsletter to be a useful resource.
2008 - 2009 SLS-SPILF Fellow, Thomas Nosewicz, JD '08 Talks About His Work at Orleans Public Defenders
The SLS-SPILF fellowship funded my work from August 2008 to October 2009 as a Staff Attorney in the Special Litigation Department of the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was an exciting year to be at OPD because the public defender in New Orleans underwent tremendous changes following Hurricane Katrina and what was once a part-time program is now a full-time office with staff attorneys, investigators and a commitment to client-centered representation.
My project was designed to take advantage of Louisiana's robust interlocutory appellate practice known as "supervisory writs" to quickly move recurring problems from the trial courts to resolution by the appellate courts. The goal was systemic change and was, in large parts, successful. It's been a few months since I finished my fellowship at the Orleans Public Defenders and I thought you might be interested in how it went.
My experience was amazing. I was able to accomplish the fellowship's goals of adding to the office's resources while also obtaining significant legal victories for my clients.
Through sheer luck, the year culminated in my briefing and arguing a case before the Louisiana Supreme Court about one of the problems the fellowship aimed to address. The issue presented was how long a
warrantless arrestee could be held before a judge reviewed the arrest. Though both United States Supreme Court precedent and Louisiana law long ago established a 48 hour limit on such detention, the rule was
nonetheless routinely ignored in Orleans Parish. The fellowship allowed me to take one of the many cases with this issue to the Louisiana Supreme Court and convince the Court to hear it on full briefing and oral argument. I was able to do the argument and, just a few weeks later, the Court ruled in our favor. The decision has resulted in the restructuring of parts of magistrate court, days of coverage in the local paper and, hopefully, increased credibility for the public defenders office as a whole.
I was also able to leave the office with a number of new resources addressing problems that came up every day in court. Thanks to the fellowship, the Orleans Public Defenders now have Louisiana-specific practice guides for searches incident to arrest, proper service of notice to come to court for defendants on bond, speedy trial rights, and other crucial areas of law.
In addition to these special projects, I was also the sole attorney or second-chair for clients accused of a range of crimes from marijuana possession to second-degree murder. This allowed me to litigate dozens of issues from the state’s burden of proof at a preliminary examination to the legality of New Orleans’s post-Hurricane Gustav curfew. I also litigated a case that resulted in the City Attorney for New Orleans agreeing to no longer prosecute people under the City's patently unconstitutional "begging" law, which had been used to charge more than a thousand people annually.
Aside from producing court decisions and manuals, my experience also suggests a model that the Orleans Public Defenders can use in the future. At the oral argument for the warrantless arrestee case, one of the justices remarked that the Louisiana Supreme Court had been dealing with a flood of writs on the issue it was considering. Those writs had all come from the public defenders office and our tenacity seemed to help convince the court to finally review a case on the merits. But without the fellowship, which freed me from the crushing caseloads of most other staff attorneys and allowed me ample time to become familiar with Louisiana's robust interlocutory appeal procedures, the deluge wouldn't have happened.
After a year, I was able to accomplish many of the fellowship's goals. None of this would have been possible without Stanford’s generosity and I can’t think of a better way to have begun my career as an attorney.
Editor's note: After completing his fellowship at OPD, Tommy began a clerkship with Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York. Following the clerkship, Tommy will be a Staff Attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York, a public defender devoted to client-centered appellate litigation.
The second SLS-SPILF Fellow, Jessica Oats, JD '09, is finishing her year with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, where she represents indigent clients on Alabama’s death row in appellate and postconviction litigation. SLS and SPILF recently named our third Fellow, Michael Kaufman, JD '07, a current Skadden Fellow at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco. Michael will work at the ACLU of Southern California where his project will focus on improving inhumane and unlawful conditions at Southern California immigration detention facilities.
Back to top^
2010 Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Meredith A. Johnson, JD '12 is the 2010 - 2011 Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship recipient. This award was established in the memory of a first-year public interest student who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1987. Her family wanted a scholarship to be awarded to a first-year student who was dedicated to pursuing a public interest career and had already demonstrated a commitment to public interest and helping under-served communities.
This year's recipient, Meredith Johnson, was chosen by an all-student Selection Committee composed of representatives from the Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation, Women of Stanford Law, Law Association, and last year's recipient, Jacqueline de Armas, JD '11. Meredith has a strong record of public service and is committed to helping under-served communities. She volunteered at a nonprofit youth center in Uruguay for a year and then spent 2 years working as the Environment Program Assistant for the McKnight Foundation prior to law school. At SLS, she has been involved with the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Project, Shakings, SPILF, Women of Stanford Law, and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. This summer, Meredith will intern at the National Women’s Law Center with the Family Economic Security program.
Back to top^
2010 Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award Winners
Emily L. Galvin, JD '10 and Zoe L. Palitz, JD '10 received the 2010 Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award. This award recognizes graduating students whose activities have resulted in outstanding contributions to underrepresented groups or public interest causes outside of the Law School; and/or outstanding public service within the Law School.
Emily L. Galvin, JD '10 Throughout her time at SLS, Emily has reaffirmed her commitment to criminal justice. She served over a year in the Criminal Defense Clinic, summered with the Los Angeles Public Defender’s office, helped re-vamp the StreetLaw curriculum as well as served as its co-President, and volunteered as a project leader for the Alternative Spring Break Trip with the New Orleans Public Defender. Off-campus, Emily is spearheading a new no-cost literacy program for prisoners in California.
One of her nominators, Jacqueline de Armas, JD '11, relates how Emily’s zealous advocacy includes working on the appeal of a client who was convicted during her first summer at the LA PD where she second-chaired his trial. For the past 2 years, Emily “did research, combed the record, filled in the details left out of the transcript of the trial, and even raised $1200 to pay a ballistics expert to analyze the evidence from the trial.” Jacqueline adds, “Her devotion to this case is truly unbelievable—although she’d never admit it. She usually just shrugs and says that’s how she wants to spend her free time. And that’s what makes her stand out from the rest of the public interest crowd—for Emily, it’s not an obligation or even really work—it’s, in her words, “what I’d be doing anyway, given a
Zoe L. Palitz, JD '10
Zoe has been a strong leader in the SLS public interest community and her broad range of talents and interests have made her an invaluable mentor for other students. She arrived at SLS after 2 years teaching sixth graders in the South Bronx through Teach for America. While at SLS, she has interned with the ACLU of Southern California and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, externed with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, and served in the Youth & Ed Law Clinic for a full year. Zoe also has taken on leadership roles in the public interest community here at SLS by serving as a Public Interest Fellow, co-chairing the Shaking the Foundations conference, working with StreetLaw, and mentoring public interest students. Janine Wetzel, JD '11, one of the students Zoe mentored, wrote in her nomination of Zoe, “Zoe’s mentorship has set a
positive example for my own mentorship of 1Ls. Not only do I have a concrete sense of what a good or strong mentor does, but I have an appreciation for how important that mentorship can be for a mentee. My commitment to public interest law and my ability to navigate the public interest job application process have been strongly enhanced by Zoe’s mentorship.”
Back to top^
2010 Public Interest Awards
In addition to the aforementioned awards, the Levin Center also recognized other students and alumni who earned public interest awards at our annual Spring Public Interest Awards reception. Held on May 19 in the Faculty Lounge, the reception drew a standing-room only crowd. Anna Wang, Executive Director, kicked off the program, followed by a welcome from Dean Larry Kramer; remarks about the power of pro bono service by William Abrams, co-chair of the Intellectual Property Practice Group and managing partner at Bingham McCutchen's Silicon Valley office, as well as a committed youth law and death penalty appellate lawyer; a special "Twitter-feed" presentation honoring the graduating students who earned Pro Bono Distinction by Betsy de la Vega, Director of the Pro Bono and Externship Programs; and a rousing concluding speech about public service by Associate
Dean of Clinical Education Larry Marshall.
Stanford Law School – Stanford Public Interest
Law Foundation Fellowship
Michael Kaufman, JD ’07
Stanford Law School Criminal Defense Fellowship
Emily V. Galvin, JD ’10
Justice John Paul Stevens Fellows
Stephen Dekovich, JD ’11 and Kevin Lo, JD ’11
Sidley Austin Scholars
Joseph Giovannetti, JD ’11, Cara Gray, JD ’11, Megan Herzog, JD ’11,
Anna Scholin, JD ’11, Andrew Schupanitz, JD ’11,
Paco Torres, JD ’11, Albert Yang, JD ’11,
Rufat Yunayev, JD ’11, and Kevin Lo, JD ’11
California Bar Foundation
Rosenthal Memorial Scholarships
Katrina Eiland, JD’10 and Rachel Marshall, JD ’10
California Bar Foundation
Public Interest Scholarships
Bruce Ho, JD’11, Erin Mohan, JD’11,
Esteban Morin, JD’11, and Mira Serrill-Robins, JD’11
Equal Justice Works Fellowship
Michelle Parris, JD ’10
Independence Foundation Fellowship
Matthew Stark Rubin, JD ’08
Presidential Management Fellowships
Gabriel Martinez, JD’10 and Julia Van Roo, JD ’10
Eunice Cho, JD ’09 and Jacqueline Silva Sanchez, JD ’10
U.S. DOJ Honors Program
Nicholas Lyon, JD ’10, Patrick Nemeroff, JD ’09, and
Lindsey Powell, JD ’07
Equal Justice Works Summer Corps 2010
Back to top^
Maggie Filler, JD '12, Cara Gray, JD '11,
Julia Rabinovich, JD '12, and Christopher Tirrell, JD '12
Pro Bono Program
This year, about half the students in the school -- approximately 250 -- were involved in the Pro Bono Program. Students from all three classes participated. Among third-year students, 72 will graduate with Pro Bono Distinction, meaning that they devoted a minimum of 50 hours to law-related public service during the law school careers. Close to 140 first-students are well on their way to this honor, having chosen to be active in one or more of twenty-plus projects, which included helping homeless clients access disability benefits, defending animal rights, providing rural legal services, and assisting Haitian refugees with Temporary Protected Status applications (see accompanying photo of students working at the University of Miami Law School's Health & Elder Law Clinic). Many of our Pro Bono projects are student-generated.
On May 21, the Pro Bono Program invited the entire school to the Pro Bono Celebration Day at Wilbur Field organized by Diane Bailey, JD '11 and Caroline Jackson, JD '11. Michael Feldman, JD '11, dazzled and mystified the crowd with a professional magic show. Students, staff, and faculty played kickball, volleyball, and bocce while the kids blew bubbles and Tim Fisher's, JD '10, sweet golden retriever watched it all.
Over the past year eleven members of our faculty also contributed at least 50 hours of pro bono service: Ralph Richard Banks, Jeffrey L. Fisher, Pamela S. Karlan, William Koski, Lawrence C. Marshall, Michael W. McConnell, Deborah L. Rhode, F. Daniel Siciliano, Deborah A. Sivas, Norman W. Spaulding, and Jayashri Srikantiah.
Back to top^