Through clinics, courses and student initiatives, Harvard Law students are working in communities on real-world problems — and having real impact. Here are three stories showing some ways they are putting their training to use:
Negotiation Clinic Students and 9/11 Special Master Address Foreclosure Crisis
Four HLS students in the Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program have just finished an ambitious, semester-long project with Kenneth R. Feinberg, Special Master of the 9/11 Fund and a leading expert in alternative dispute resolution, to help staunch the widespread mortgage foreclosure crisis by bringing banks and homeowners together to refashion mortgage agreements.
The students and Feinberg created a multi-tiered plan that includes outreach to banks, homeowners, and state attorneys general, urging the use of a mediation model created as part of the project. The plan includes proposals for training mediators who can meet with lenders and homeowners to negotiate restructured mortgages so people can remain in their homes.(Read more)
Joey Diamond was born in 1994 with cocaine in his system. Two years later, he was found wandering alone in a city park late at night, wearing only a diaper. Custody of the boy was awarded to the same family who had adopted his six older siblings, and for a while he did fine, but in elementary school he began struggling academically and behaviorally, especially after his adoptive father died suddenly of a heart attack.
Joey’s adoptive mother despaired over how to reverse her son’s decline. In 2007, she heard about the Special Education Clinic of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, which could help her negotiate with the local public school system to provide a better placement for her son.
Changing the culture, peer-to-peer
Six HLS students in the Title IX clinical course of Diane L. Rosenfeld spent two days recently at the University of Richmond conducting a training session for more than 50 undergraduate student leaders on issues of sexual respect, rape, consent, and related matters.
The university asked Rosenfeld, an HLS lecturer on law and a national expert in gender issues including violence against women, to create a training program in response to an incident last Fall in which a fraternity rush chairman emailed prospective members with a sexually explicit and misogynistic message. The university is already planning to use the program again in required training for fraternity and sorority pledges, and Rosenfeld hopes to see it used on other campuses, too.