top to bottom: kiah duggins ’21, elizabeth melampy ’21, and Katie Quigley ’21

Katie Quigley ‘21

Katie Quigley has demonstrated herself to be a skilled and extremely conscientious advocate through her work with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program.

In the Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Clinic, Quigley tackled multiple cases involving a diverse array of legal protections, including asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Torture Convention, Federal Tort Claims Act, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, among others. With all of these cases, she flawlessly learned complicated new areas of law while at the same time balancing client crises and needs. Quigley led the drafting of a high-quality brief submitted in support of an asylum application pending in immigration court, arguing that gender should be recognized as a basis for asylum – a hotly contested area of asylum law.

Quigley worked closely with a number of clients, preparing their cases for court hearings. With a teenage client from El Salvador, Quigley quickly developed a strong rapport and interviewed her, skillfully drafting her application for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and breaking down complicated ethical and procedural questions. With another client, Quigley conducted interviews over WhatsApp, given the need to work remotely during the pandemic, and wrote a compelling supplemental affidavit for her case.

Quigley’s remarkable persistence and dedication to her clients was particularly apparent in the work she did to secure a detained Ghanaian man’s release from custody. Quigley demonstrated first-rate oral advocacy skills in arguing the bond motion telephonically and successfully won her client’s release from detention during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Quigley shared how impactful this was for her, “I will never forget the relief and joy I felt when I received a text saying that he had finally left the detention center after more than a year. This memory will always remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to use my education to advocate for the rights of people like my client.”

With the Crimmigration Clinic, Quigley worked on a complex appeal and mandamus petition filed with the First Circuit to advocate for the release of 12 immigration detainees held at the Bristol County Jail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quigley also presented oral argument before a three-judge First Circuit panel.

In addition, with the HLS Immigration Project (HIP), she served as one of two policy team leaders.  Quigley drafted comments in response to a constant barrage of new proposed rules aimed at gutting the U.S. asylum system, quickly wrapping her head around the changes and havoc the proposals would wreak. She also rallied HIP by organizing virtual events over the summer for students to work on comments collectively. When HIP students offered to support Project South in exposing medical abuses at Irwin Country Detention Center, Quigley took the lead, coordinating a sprawling student team to produce a high quality report that will be critical to ongoing advocacy efforts by organizers on the ground.

Quigley and her supervisors share mutual appreciation for each other. “Without Katie’s ongoing dedication to her clients, even during a pandemic and over the summer, it would have been nearly impossible to build as strong of a case as we did for the clients with whom she worked,” says Professor Sabi Ardalan, director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. And Quigley responds, “The HIRCP community taught me that being a good lawyer is just as much about compassion and empathy as it is about argument and analysis.”

After graduation, Quigley plans to clerk for Judge Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Elizabeth MeLampy

Elizabeth MeLampy has excelled as lead counsel and co-counsel on cases over multiple semesters in the Animal Law and Policy Clinic, handling projects with total aplomb, efficiency, and excellent results.

Several of MeLampy’s projects involve the protection of animals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). She served as lead counsel on a petition to the new Biden-Harris Administration to revoke several Trump Administration policies that prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from taking the adverse effects of climate change into consideration when deciding policies such as whether a species should be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act because of the foreseeable decline in habitat and prey conditions from climate change. These were extremely difficult and nuanced legal and policy issues that MeLampy mastered, analyzed, and distilled to create an extremely forceful document that was delivered to the new administration co-signed by a coalition of 30 law professors and the nation’s leading climate scientists.

MeLampy also served as lead counsel on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and three big cat sanctuaries, on a project asking the Fish and Wildlife Service to rescind exceptions it had made for captive Canada lynx listed under the Endangered Species Act. Again, this required her to master the law that applies under the ESA, the relevant science, and myriad policy considerations as she was careful to form the administrative record and establish standing for future reviews.  MeLampy says this work was particularly meaningful because “through the research, I began to feel more connected to the Canada lynx I was trying to help from afar—the ones held in captivity, suffering on exhibition in unfit enclosures, undergoing painful declawing procedures, or experiencing other harmful treatment and slaughter—while also working on my legal reasoning and writing skills.”

As co-counsel, MeLampy took the lead in writing an opposition to a motion to dismiss in a case the Clinic brought in federal court for the Western District of New York, challenging the denial of a rulemaking petition by the Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary requesting the United States Department of Agriculture to promulgate mandatory standards for the humane handling of poultry at the slaughterhouse. Recently MeLampy served as co-counsel drafting an amicus brief for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in support of the position that a petition to amend the Recovery Plan for the Grizzly Bear—a threatened species under the ESA—is justiciable under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Professor Katherine Meyer, director of the Animal Law and Policy Clinic, shared this praise for MeLampy, “She is extremely smart and intellectually curious – she always goes the extra mile in thinking about the issues, how to address and promote them, and is very cautious and cognizant of other points of view. She is very resourceful, works wonderfully with others, and does not have a pretentious bone in her body. She really is committed to making the world a better and more just place.”

Outside of the clinic, MeLampy served as the President of the Animal Law Society and volunteered to participate in several moot courts for attorneys arguing animal law cases around the country. She also did an independent clinical with Animal Outlook and summer jobs with Animal Welfare Institute, Conservation Law Foundation, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

After clerking first for Associate Justice Dalila Wendlandt of the Massachusetts Supreme Court and then for the Honorable Roslyn Silver of the federal district court in Arizona, MeLampy hopes to find work litigating on behalf of animals. “ALPC has shown me what is possible with a career in this field, and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of non-human animals.” 

Kiah Duggins

Harvard Law School peers call Kiah Duggins a “force of nature.” Beyond calling her a “force in HLAB’s efforts to protect tenants during the pandemic,” the faculty and staff of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) name Kiah “a true justice warrior.”

Duggins’s time at HLAB involved individual client representation, community lawyering, and advocacy. She assumed the presidency of the 60-member organization just as the COVID-19 pandemic began and led the organization with grace, fortitude, and incredible skill through challenge and change.

In a summary judgment motion in a housing case, Duggins successfully represented a woman who was being evicted for refusing to pay an unaffordable rent increase for an apartment with substandard conditions. And on a subsequent unwarranted eviction for non-payment with the same client, Duggins is now negotiating a long-term affordable lease for this woman and her young child – providing security against displacement that would have been impossible but for Duggins’s advocacy.

Duggins also played a leading advocacy role in efforts to extend tenant protections during the pandemic by immediately reaching out to community partners to find out what assistance the Bureau could provide, an experience that Duggins says has been particularly impactful. City Life Vida Urbana (CLVU) taught me that following the leadership of directly impacted people and organizations is one of the best ways for lawyers to meaningfully redistribute power and resources back to marginalized communities.” 

As a strong proponent of bringing the law directly to the people, Duggins creatively went beyond traditional advocacy to make housing law more accessible to tenants during the pandemic. She created a website that could be found directly or through links on more trafficked legal information sites, with a set of pro se plain-language materials and model pleadings for tenants facing eviction.  Later in the pandemic, she even created a TikTok!

Duggins’s contributions to justice at HLS have gone beyond HLAB. On campus, Duggins was a stalwart member of Harvard Defenders over three years where she represented indigent defendants in criminal show-cause hearings and also served as a Team Leader, running weekly team meetings and coordinating mock hearings for student attorneys. She was also a Teaching Fellow in the Lawyering for Justice 1L course and led the Law and Social Change Program of Study community. Off-campus, in her capacity as Chair of the Community Outreach Committee for BLSA, she created a know-your-rights conference for Cambridge Public Schools high school students, and mentored high school students of color at Prospect Hill Academy and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

Her accomplishments are many and her impact immense. Reflecting on the inspiration she received working with her clinical instructors and clients, Duggins says,My law school experience was totally defined by clinical and pro bono work…All of these experiences taught me everything I know about interacting with clients, written and oral advocacy, providing legal assistance to larger social movements, the technical elements of the law, and larger philosophical questions about what the law should be.”

Filed in: Updates

Tags: Class of 2021, Clinical and Pro Bono Outstanding Student Award, Elizabeth Melampy, Katie Quigley, Kiah Duggins

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