News

Jack Olender, Marcy Karin and Lindsay Harris

Generous Gift From Jack and Lovell Olender Funds Immigration Clinic Expansion

Washington, DC—Thanks to the wonderful generosity of renowned D.C. malpractice attorney Jack H. Olender, the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law is proud to report a significant expansion in the capacity of both its Immigration and Human Rights Clinic and its Legislation Clinic to serve low-income people and the public interest.

Long a leader in the field of medical malpractice and a fixture, with his late wife Lovell, on the D.C. and national legal, social justice and philanthropic scenes, Mr. Olender has for decades been a fierce advocate for and supporter of the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. Mr. Olender’s support of the District’s public law school has included the provision of annual recognition – and scholarships – to six top UDC Law clinic students at his Olender Foundation annual Awards Gala as well as significant additional annual financial contributions to the School of Law’s scholarship funds. In addition, years ago, Mr. Olender endowed a scholarship fund in memory of Antioch School of Law graduate Gary Freeman, ’76, whose untimely death occurred during his tenure as an attorney in Mr. Olender’s firm.

Mr. Olender’s support, however, has been more than solely financial – in addition to previously serving on the University of the District of Columbia’s Board, he has devoted decades of service on the DC School of Law Foundation’s Board and, for many years, has hosted Board meetings at his law firm, Olender and Associates, and attended numerous School of Law events. Furthermore, Mr. Olender has placed his faith in two additional School of Law alumni, attorneys Lesley Zork, ’88, and Joshua Basile, ’13, who currently work for his elite law firm.

This fall, as a result of a transformative donation by the Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation, the School of Law has added outstanding professors in two clinics, and has conferred the title of “Jack and Lovell Olender Director” upon the directors of each clinic. Thanks to the Olender Foundation’s support, both clinics will be able to expand the breadth and depth of their service and training.

Professor Kristina M. Campbell is the Jack and Lovell Olender Director of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. Professor Campbell is now assisted by an outstanding lawyer and activist, Assistant Professor Lindsay M. Harris, one of the newly funded professors.

Associate Professor Marcy Karin, the Jack and Lovell Olender Director of the Legislation Clinic at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, is the second newly funded professor. Professor Karin will be ably assisted by another outstanding young lawyer, Clinical Instructor Monica Bhattacharya. In addition, Professor Laurie Morin will direct her new Gender Justice Project in collaboration with the Legislation Clinic.

Dean Broderick, Jack Olender and Professor Campbell
Dean Shelley Broderick, Jack H. Olender, and Prof. Kristina Campbell
Dean Broderick, Jack Olender and Lindsay Harris
Dean Shelley Broderick, Jack H. Olender, and Prof. Lindsay Harris.

The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic

Fall 2016 Immigration and Human Right Clinic students outside the Arlington Immigration Court
Fall 2016 Immigration and Human Right Clinic students outside the Arlington Immigration Court, after the Fall semester hearing for one of our clients. Students Michael Wilk and Paul Koring appeared in court on behalf of a Salvadoran mother fleeing gang threats and extortion.

The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic has transitioned from a focus on the nexus between criminal and immigration law, to a focus on representing asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution. Professor Lindsay M. Harris joined the clinic this academic year after a year with the American Immigration Council working on national efforts to end the detention of immigrant children and their mothers in two large detention centers in Texas. Before that, she taught in the asylum clinic at Georgetown for two years, and also developed and taught an asylum law course at George Mason School of Law. Her experience meshes well with recent Clinic work representing mothers and children released from these detention centers and, in particular, with the work of Olender Clinic Director Kristina M. Campbell who has led two service-learning trips during Spring Break and the summer to Dilley and Karnes City, Texas. In Texas, UDC Law students reported “life-changing” experiences through on-the-ground intensive lawyering work, providing immediate assistance to detained families.

One highlight of the fall semester featured third year students, Leslie Benjamin and Jessica Christy who won their first trial. Under the supervision of Professor Campbell, the students prepared their clients, a mother and daughter detained in Texas, drafted declarations and filed a legal brief arguing for asylum relief. The team then traveled to Dallas where they worked with their clients through the weekend in advance of the Monday trial. As a result of their efforts, their clients, who had been unable to find pro bono representation in Texas, were freed from detention.

UDC Law students in Texas.
Some of our students with the CARA Pro Bono project in Texas.

During the spring semester, Professor Harris, with an able assist from Professor Campbell, spearheaded a day-long conference, held on February 3, 2017, “Chasing Liberty:  The Detention of Central American Families in the United States,” bringing together scholars, advocates and law students to explore how to end family detention practices and effectively address post-release needs for asylum-seekers. This conference pushed the national conversation on these issues forward at a critical time as the new Trump Administration implements its aggressive and confusing new agenda on immigration policy.

Professor Campbell is planning, with Professor Harris’ support, to lead a third trip to family detention centers with ten students during Spring Break 2017 as part of the School of Law ’s Service-Learning Program.

The Legislation Clinic

UDC Law students with D.C. Councilmember Anita Bonds and Professor Marcy Karin
UDC Law students with D.C. Councilmember Anita Bonds and Olender Clinic Director Marcy Karin under the D.C. flag.

Under the leadership of Professor Marcy Karin, Jack and Lovell Olender Director of the Legislation Clinic, the clinic has been redesigned to offer a seven-credit experiential learning opportunity that combines client representation and the study of legislative lawyering.

The Clinic’s mission is two-fold:

1) To provide UDC Law students with the training, supervision, and field experience necessary to become effective and reflective lawyers.

2) To undertake projects advancing the public interest and providing quality representation to organizations in the District in need of legislative lawyering services.

During the fall semester students worked on policy projects for non-profit and community organizations that are working to lift vulnerable populations out of poverty with improved economic security and workplace protections as well as access to other civil rights. The inaugural class of the redesigned Legislation Clinic undertook a wide range of legislative lawyering work on both the local and national level.

On behalf of the Network for Victim Recovery of DC, students researched methods of reimbursement for expenses related to crimes committed in the District. Clinic students also volunteered with the Lawyers’ Committee’s Election Protection program, assisting callers in four states on a range of questions related to the voting process, including registration, early voting, problems with polling locations and machines, access to interpreters and voting assistants, provisional ballots, and a chilling amount of potential voter intimidation. These calls primarily dealt with state laws interpreting the federal right to vote.

Students Shannon Cooper and Aysha Iqbal on WJLA TVThe Clinic successfully represented BRAWS (Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters) in local efforts to support the repeal of the “tampon tax.” On November 15th, the D.C. Council passed Bill 21-696, the Feminine Hygiene and Diapers Sales Tax Exemption Amendment Act of 2016, which was signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on December 8th. Earlier in the semester, students prepared oral and written testimony for a D.C. Council Committee on Finance and Revenue. Professor Karin and clinic students testified in front of the D.C. Council and two students, Shannon Cooper and Aysha Iqbal, were featured on WJLA TV. Students engaged with the media, developed a social media campaign in support of the testimony and broader efforts, and prepared materials for a grassroots outreach campaign in the DMV area to support the repeal of the “tampon tax” in D.C. and Virginia.

On the national level, the Legislation Clinic is working with disability rights advocates to improve enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Originally enacted in 1990, the ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of “disability” in private employment, places of public accommodation, and government benefits and services. Despite the ADA Amendments Act’s goal of ensuring broad coverage for access to these protections, some confusion remains over the application of the revised definition of disability, which causes a threshold definitional issue for many individuals seeking to use the ADA’s protections. The Clinic is working with a team of advocates to educate individuals with disabilities and their counsel regarding the ADA’s amended definition of disability.

The Legislation Clinic is also working with Young Invincibles, a national organization working to elevate the voices of millennials into the national policy conversation and to engage them on the most pressing issues facing their generation, such as higher education, jobs, and health care. The Young Invincibles’ student attorney team is preparing an issue brief on the state of internships in 21st-century America, including a survey of relevant labor standards, other laws and public policy.

Finally, on behalf of clinic clients while working on this robust docket, students have participated in coalition meetings, calls, and events with a broad range of D.C. stakeholders. Students have been on the phone or in the room with members and staff of the D.C. Council and staff of both Houses of Congress, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the former First Lady’s Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among others.

Gender Justice Project

Beginning in January of 2017, Professor Laurie Morin is developing and coordinating the Gender Justice Project in collaboration with the Legislation Clinic to bring together students, professors, and activists to find multi-disciplinary solutions to local and global problems at the intersection of gender, sexual orientation, race, and economic status. The Project will sponsor courses, conferences, round-tables, and other events to facilitate dialogue and action on these issues.

The Project and Clinic will work with non-profit organizations and community groups to combat gender inequities using a wide array of strategies, including public policy development, legislative drafting, lobbying, community organizing and non- violent protest, public education, media outreach, and impact litigation. The Project will also partner with other law school clinics on cases and issues of mutual interest.

Professor Morin is also co-founder of the School of Law’s Service-Learning Program, in which faculty members and students travel together to parts of the country that need legal assistance to recover from natural and man-made disasters. She has accompanied students on service- learning trips to New Orleans to provide services to survivors of Hurricane Katrina; Mississippi to provide legal services in the wake of the BP oil spill; and Texas to assist women and children refugees from Central America who were detained at the Karnes Detention Center.

Wade Henderson

Prof. Wade Henderson on MSNBC Discussing Jeff Sessions Nomination

Washington, DC—Wade Henderson, Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, was on MSNBC’s ‘All In with Chris Hayes’ recently to discuss the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

Henderson expressed areas he hopes are examined with scrutiny during Sen. Sessions’ nomination hearings.

“What I’d like to see Senator Sessions asked are his views about the Voting Rights Act, about wrongful prosecutions […], about problems with voter ID today, about problems with efforts to move polling places in states like Alabama, his very own state,” Henderson said.

Sen. Sessions has a long, sordid voting record that leaves many questioning his ability to lead the nation’s legal arm.

“I’d like to see him asked whether he can enforce statutes over which he has a hostility long established,” Henderson said. “For example, he has opposed the Violence Against Women Act, he has opposed the passage of the The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, he has opposed other statutes that he is responsible now for enforcing. We’d like to see questions asked about that.”

You can watch the full interview here: 

Olender Foundation Awardees with Dean Broderick and Dean Steward

2016 Olender Foundation Award Winners Announced

Jack H. Olender
Jack H. Olender

Washington, DC—Each year, The Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation recognizes law students and other national and local heroes at an annual awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center. This year, Mr. Jack H. Olender will present the Earl H. Davis Award to six UDC David A. Clarke School of Law students for their outstanding service on behalf of clients in our clinical program. Please join us in congratulating these students.

Perfecta Baffer served as a student attorney in the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law General Practice Clinic. With her partner, Perfecta advised an HIV-positive client about an insurance buyout and the possible implications of omitting the client’s health status from an insurance company; researched custody arguments for a single mother; advised a mother on the implications of a recent arrest on a pending court issue; drafted and delivered Durable Power of Attorney, Last Will and Testament, and Healthcare Directives to four senior citizens; wrote a Student Loan Discharge Memo for a client; and wrote a Transfer on Death Deed Memo for Legal Counsel for the Elderly, explaining the requirements, revocation provisions, effects on the parties, property distribution provisions and advantages/disadvantages of the deed under D.C. law. Perfecta also assisted nine other persons with intakes and referrals to other legal aid organizations. Perfecta is a licensed civil engineer, a part-time evening student, military wife and mother of nine children.

Erika Cummins served as a student attorney in the Community Development Law Clinic, where she represented limited equity cooperatives and non-profit organizations. Erika represented the board of a limited equity cooperative that had previously acquired their building in partnership with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), but lost necessary developmental funding because of the economic downturn in 2008. As the lead writer of a comment to the DHCD, Erika argued that the department give preference and additional consideration to her client, and other similarly situated limited equity cooperatives in good standing, when awarding developmental funding to affordable housing projects. Less than a month later, when the new request for proposals for affordable housing projects was announced, it was clear that the DHCD implemented Erika’s recommendations. Erika also drafted new sections to the cooperative’s by-laws and attended cooperative board meetings to discuss the new sections before they were ultimately passed by the membership. She also drafted provisions for a resolution for payment and a separate forbearance plan to avoid termination of low-income residents delinquent in their carrying charges; and advised non-profit clients on copyright protection of their literary works and possible risks to their trademark registration. Erika has served on the boards of the Student Bar Association and the Sports and Entertainment Student Lawyers Association, and is currently the Vice President of the Christian Law Society.

Jessica Christy served as a student attorney in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic in the spring of 2016 and continued as an Equal Justice America Fellow during the summer. As a student attorney, Jessica and her partner represented a legal permanent resident, a single mother of three US citizen children, in removal proceedings. After reviewing Jessica and her partner’s 45-page brief and over 90 exhibits, the government conceded the case and cancelled their client’s removal proceedings. Jessica also participated in UDC David A. Clarke School of Law service learning program, where she provided pro bono legal services to women and children asylum seekers detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center and helped prevent two families from being removed to very dangerous conditions in their countries of origin. As a Fellow, Jessica managed the entire clinic docket and provided various immigration-related pro bono services to low-income residents in the DC-area, and represented a client and her daughter in a merits hearing in Dallas, Texas. Jessica serves as the Vice-President of the Student Bar Association, Managing Editor for the UDC Law Review, President of the Environmental Law Society, and Co-President of the American Constitution Society. She is also a Dean’s Fellow, an Advocate for Justice Scholarship recipient, and a wife and mother of three.

Jessica “JJ” Galvan served as a Student Attorney in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic, where she represented low-income elderly residents of a D.C. nursing home in a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) and housing discrimination lawsuit to prohibit the sale of their home to a prestigious private school. JJ advocated for the residents in many forums, including injunction proceedings, a public solutions session hosted by UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, a D.C. Council Candidates’ Forum hosted by the DC Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition, and meetings with a D.C. Council member, the D.C. Long-term Care Ombudsman, and the D.C. Attorney General’s office. In addition to this work, JJ, and her clinic partner, successfully obtained a judgment for a tenant against the landlord for an illegal rent increase. JJ is Associate Editor of Law Review, Recording Secretary of the Student Bar Association, and a member of the Cahn Chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law fraternity. She also sings with the Samaritan Singers, a community based choir whose mission is to raise awareness of homelessness in the District.

Thomas F. “Matthews” IV served as a student attorney in the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic, where he zealously advocated for his client’s right to a free, appropriate education. Matthews’ worked tirelessly to secure free transportation to and from a private school suited to meet his client’s special education needs; transition services – job training – for his client to prepare for entry into the work force upon completion of school; and a private tutor for supplemental educational support for his client. In addition to his clinic work, Matthews has served as a Teaching Assistant to Judge Milton Lee; a Researcher Assistant to Professor Andrew Ferguson, where he researched the application of the Fourth Amendment in minority communities; and a volunteer with the Clemency Project 2014, working to secure the early release of non-violent criminal offenders of drug-related offenses. Matthews has been elected to the Student Bar Association for the past three years, is an Associate Editor of the UDC Law Review, and was recently re-appointed as the student liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.  He is also a Dean’s Fellow, and a UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Continuing Merit Scholarship recipient for demonstrating academic excellence and commitment to service.

Michael Wilk served as a student attorney in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, where he represented primarily immigrant clients before the IRS for two semesters. Michael successfully settled two cases before their approaching tax court dates, assisted a family who was the victim of tax fraud, and helped another family who had been wrongly taxed due to immigration status. All of his clients either had their tax bills lowered or received refunds from the IRS. Michael also served as a student attorney in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, where he prepared asylum cases and appeared in immigration court for a mother and daughter who had been targeted by gangs in Central America, and a survivor of Rwandan genocide. In addition to attending law school in the evenings, Michael works in an immigration law practice, where he assists with employment immigration and processing issues at U.S. land borders. Michael is a Student Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a frequent volunteer with local immigrant rights organizations and free legal clinics. Michael is a Dean’s Fellow, was awarded the Cafritz Foundation Scholarship, received a UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Continuing Scholars Award for academic achievement, and is a Student Member of the UDC Law Career and Professional Development Committee.

 

Senator Cory Booker and Wade Henderson

Senator Cory Booker Delivers Energetic 24th Annual Rauh Lecture

Washington, DC—On November 16, barely a week after the 2016 Presidential Election that left many reeling, Senator Cory Booker visited the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL) to deliver the 24th Annual Rauh Lecture.

Senator Booker discussed the 2016 Election, voter suppression, the rhetoric unleashed by Donald Trump’s candidacy, Senator Booker’s origins and original inspiration to go into politics.

The conversation, which he held with Wade Henderson, Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law at UDC-DCSL and President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, left the several-hundred in the audience feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

“If you’re frustrated with society, it’s not time to check out. By you checking out, you are serving the interests of those people who are benefiting from your lack of turnout and playing right into the trap they’re setting for folks in America because they’re looking for less voter turnout,” Senator Booker said.

Each year, one or more leading members of the bench or the bar address(es) the School of Law community, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, on a law-related topic of interest. Some of the nation’s most respected civil rights and other public interest, public policy or public service attorneys, as well as the Attorney General and two sitting US Supreme Court Justices have honored us with their participation.

The Annual Joe Rauh Lecture is always open to the public, free of charge.

Watch the whole event here:

See pictures from the event here:

Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson Delivers Captivating, Inspiring Rauh Lecture

In its 23rd year, the annual Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Lecture was nothing short of enthralling.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, delivered a motivating and inspiring speech to a crowded auditorium at the University of the District of Columbia.

Stevenson detailed some of his experiences representing death row inmates in the south, his outlook for our society and what we can do to promote justice. He recounts some of this in his New York Times bestselling book Just Mercy.

View pictures from the event on Facebook.

Wade Henderson, Shelley Broderick, Tom Perez and Mike Rauh

Tom Perez delivers 22nd Annual Rauh Lecture

Tom PerezThe 22nd Annual Joseph L. Rauh Jr. Lecture was delivered on April 4, 2014, by U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. After a welcome from DC School of Law Foundation Board Chair Mike Rauh and introduction of the Rauh Professor of Public Interest Law, Wade Henderson, by Dean Shelley Broderick, Henderson introduced The Secretary, who spoke for nearly an hour on a range of major issues and his deep connection to the School of Law and its mission.

Below are a few snippets from his remarks that are most germane to the School of Law itself. But the entire talk was well worth listening to – it was a substantive and powerful Rauh Lecture.

“I have a wonderful connection to this school, and a wonderful affection for this School. … I started working in the Civil Rights division in the late 80s and the law school that had the greatest representation of attorneys in the section where I worked was then called Antioch School of Law but we had a bunch of folks who were people who trained me on how to be a lawyer and to this day I have great gratitude for how they trained me and how they mentored me. And I remember when I became Clinic Director at Maryland Law School in 2001—and Maryland has some pretty good clinics—I was seeking guidance on what to do, who do I call? This Tulman guy, who’s got game. You know? And I get back to the Civil Rights Division and I’m thinking about people to recruit in 2010 and who was one of the first people I tried to steal? This guy named Jonathan Smith—I don’t know if you heard from him earlier today? He doesn’t know a lot about this stuff, but he fakes it. (laughter) Jonathan is one of the most brilliant lawyers I have met. I had the privilege of serving on his board when he was the head of the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, and, again, the footprint of this law school—you said you were small, Dean, but if you are small, dean, you punch above your weight. And you’re always punching on behalf of people who need your help and that is why it will always be a pleasure and an honor…

“And to the students who are here. You’re here because you made some decisions that you don’t want to be just any old lawyer. You want to be a lawyer who when Judgment Day comes, you can look yourself in the eye and say, ‘I led a life in which I tried to build a better community.’ I used to give my students the following assignment on the second to last day of class. And that was, I used to ask them to write their obituary. And the purpose of that exercise, and I would do it on the second to last day because it’s been my experience in my career in law, that all too many lawyers have disproportionate mental health bills because they fail to take that step back and ask that question of ‘What am I doing here on the planet Earth?’ and ‘What do I want my legacy to be?’

“And lawyers as a bunch are disproportionately risk-averse. I’ve taken a number of risks in my life and I’m kind of an oddball because the older I get the more willing I get to take educated risks. Because I’ve led a charmed life, I’ve had the privilege of doing immigrant rights work, labor rights work, civil rights work, and every day I woken up I have loved my job and I’ve challenged my students every day to find your passion and follow your passion—because lawyers don’t do enough of that.

“Fortunately, at the DC School of Law, you do it, and that’s why people like Jonathan end up being leaders around our community here in DC and in Maryland and in his current job, across the nation. And so, I hope you’ll spend some time and do that. And share it with your professor, and put it in your drawer, and when you’re having a bad day read it and remind yourself why you’re on the planet Earth. I know I did that and that was helpful, especially on those periodic days where you did wonder.”

The Secretary went to speak in detail about the legacy of Dr. King on the anniversary of his death, about health care, voting rights, a variety of employment-related issues and poverty. He ended his talk with a return to his kind words for the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law:

“We have some democracy maintenance work to do my friends. And you are at the forefront of it. You do that work here at UDC. I love coming here because you all understand that this is a mission-driven institution. We need your help in that! … Fighting poverty will take persistence, fighting poverty will take partnership, fighting poverty will take leadership, fighting poverty will take law schools, like this great law school continuing to be at the forefront of these issues. And I am confident that you will, I am confident that we will succeed.”

Senator Warren with UDC Law students

Senator Elizabeth Warren: 21st Rauh Lecturer

On October 2, 2013, in the UDC Theater of the Arts, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered 21st Annual Joseph L. Rauh Jr. Lecture to a crowd of over 500 students, staff, faculty alumni and friends of the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.

Senator Warren – often cited as a potential 2016 presidential candidate by liberal and progressive Democrats – is a fearless consumer advocate who has made her life’s work the fight for middle and working class families and is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing families. The Boston Globe has called her “the plainspoken voice of people getting crushed by so many predatory lenders and under regulated banks.” She is widely credited for the original thinking, political courage, and relentless persistence that led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

After a welcomes by School of Law Foundation Chair Mike Rauh, UDC President Lyons, and School of Law Dean Shelley Broderick, Senator Warren was introduced by Wade Henderson, the School of Law’s Joseph L. Rauh Professor of Public Interest Law and, by day, the President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

After receiving a standing ovation, Senator Warren prefaced her remarks with a preamble referencing the government shutdown and other current political events. She then homed in on her main topic – President Obama’s three recent nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is often considered the “Second Highest Court in America” because of its jurisdiction over numerous federal agency cases. After citing studies revealing the systemic bias towards the nomination of federal judges who have served the corporate world, the Senator described the President’s choices in some detail – not only for their legal acumen, but also due to the diversity of experience they would bring to the bench.

The Rauh Lecture is named for the late, great civil rights and civil liberties lawyer Joe Rauh, who was a founding member of the School of Law’s Board of Governors. His son, Michael Rauh, has served as School of Law Foundation Board Chair person since the mid ‘90s. Previous Rauh Lecturers have included Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Pat Leahy, Congressmen John Lewis and Barney Frank, Vernon Jordan, Theodore Shaw, and other leading attorneys.

Justice Sotomayor with UDC law students

Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the 20th Annual Rauh Lecture

On April 2, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, delivered the 20th Annual Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Lecture, A Conversation with Justice Sotomayor. Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, President of the University of the District of Columbia, Michael Rauh, Chair of the DC School of Law Foundation, and UDC Law Dean Shelley Broderick gave welcoming remarks. A short video of Justice Sotomayor presiding over a trial between two Muppets on Sesame Street started the program which was attended by 1400 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the School of Law.

In lieu of a formal lecture, Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law at UDC Law, interviewed Justice Sotomayor. Professor Henderson inquired about her years as a prosecutor, U.S. District Court Judge, Judge on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor also described her family and childhood in the Bronx, and what inspired her to become a lawyer and prosecutor. After the conversation, Dean Broderick presented the Justice with the Dean’s Cup.

When Justice Sotomayor first appeared on stage, she was greeted by a spontaneous standing ovation by the joyful crowd. After the formal program, the Justice literally kicked off her shoes and climbed into the bleachers in a dozen different locations to greet and to take photographs with those in attendance. The crowd was amazed and thrilled with her warm and wonderful return of their support and affection!

Justice Sotomayor posing with students

19th Rauh Lecture with Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State

Harold KohOn November 22nd, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law held its 19th annual Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Lecture. This year’s featured speaker was Harold Hongju Koh, the 22nd Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State, a former Yale Law Dean, and Martin R. Flug ’55 Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. A leading expert on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights, Mr. Koh’s lecture focused on international lawyering for a Smart Power world. Chair of the DC School of Law Foundation B. Michael Rauh, UDC President Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, and UDC Law Dean Katherine S. Broderick gave brief statements before the lecture, and Wade Henderson, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights and Rauh Professor of Public Interest Law, introduced Mr. Koh.

Mr. Koh talked about the challenges of maintaining a balance between defining the U.S. Department of State’s roles, strategy, and tactical approach, and as Legal Adviser, doing his job as counselor, conscience, defender and spokesperson of a country at war. Mr. Koh explained that the Smart Power approach would allow the U.S. to respond to opportunities and not just threats, find a domestic and international nexus, find new ways to lead, partner with different players, apply “Soft Power” tools that emphasize cooperation over confrontation, and lastly, preserve core American values. An “Obama-Clinton” doctrine has emerged from the Smart Power approach that relies on principled engagement, diplomacy as a critical element of Smart Power, strategic multilateralism, and following rules of domestic and international law. Mr. Koh gave the examples of the “Arab Spring,” Libya, and the Iraqi and Afghan transitions as illustrations of this new doctrine and the application of Smart Power. Mr. Koh closed by talking about how the Smart Power Realities of the 21st century require a lawyering approach that both adapts 20th century laws to 21st century realities and stays true to American principles.

US Attorney General Cites UDC Law as Model for Legal Education

“I agree with the assertion by UDC’s leadership that all publicly funded law schools should look to the Clarke School of Law for inspiration and consider a similar service requirement. That would be a profound and powerful change. And it would lead, no doubt, to a more just nation and world.”
 – U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder

Eric HolderOn June 17th, United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder delivered the 18th Annual Joseph L. Rauh Lecture to more than 500 Washingtonians including judges, prominent attorneys, civic leaders, law students, staff and alumni of the University and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.  In his remarks, the Attorney General heralded the School of Law as a model for other law school nationwide and pledged to sign and deliver a petition to President Obama urging him to speak at the School of Law’s next Honors Convocation.

Master of Ceremonies and DC School of Law Foundation Chair, Mike Rauh, son of the late, great civil rights lawyer Joe Rauh, for whom the lecture series is named, greeted the crowd and welcomed fifty members of the School of Law’s entering class who rose amid applause.  Mr. Rauh introduced Dean Shelley Broderick who told the story of Joe Rauh’s last evening 18 years ago, during which he attended a reception for the incoming class, grilling each member on their public-interest intentions and proudly  pronounced them “a bunch of fighters!” 

Mike Rauh then brought Law Review Editor Evan Mascagni to the podium to announce the student petition drive to bring President Obama to UDC. 

Mr. Rauh then welcomed UDC President Dr. Allen Sessoms to the stage, who made his own brief welcoming remarks. 

Next, UDC Rauh Professor of Public Interest Law Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights, introduced the Attorney General as being not only the first African American Attorney General, but “the most well qualified U. S. Attorney General in history” by virtue of his long and varied career in public service, on the bench, and in the private bar.

Mr. Henderson described the Attorney General’s legal career and the reasons he enjoyed strong support from the civil rights community during his confirmation hearings.  He then enumerated three examples from Mr. Holder’s first year in office that illustrate that this support was warranted:  the AG’s vocal support of expanding hate crime legislation; his support of sentencing parity between powder and crack cocaine and the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences;  and his current investigation into federal use of race in federal law enforcement. 

The Attorney General appeared relaxed and in good humor as he began his remarks, which drew their theme from former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s renowned “Day of Affirmation” speech about Apartheid South Africa, now the site of the multi-cultural World Cup competition.  Mr. Holder quoted RFK who famously said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” whose ripples can “build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

“So, what exactly are these tiny ripples? Where do we find them? And how do we initiate them? I have grappled with such questions throughout my entire career. And I expect many of you struggle with them, as well.”

After describing a number of examples of efforts that generated such ripples, the Attorney General turned his focus to the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law itself.  “Seven hundred hours. That’s incredible,”  he said, speaking of the School of Law’s clinical service requirement for each law student.  “Imagine, for a moment, if every law student in the country were to give back, as UDC students do, while earning their degrees. Since there are approximately 150,000 law students at any one time in this country, that would mean about 100 million hours of clinical services combined – enough to turn tens of thousands of ripples of hope into that “current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

During the Attorney General’s talk, questions were gathered from members of the audience, and passed to Mr. Henderson who chose several from among the many dozens put forward.  His first question was whether the Attorney General would sign the student petition to urge the President to speak at UDC.  Mr. Holder laughed and asserted that that was not on a card!  But then, pausing, he offered to not only sign,but to personally deliver the petition to the President, a commitment which elicited a substantial cheer from the crowd.  

Other questions included DC Voting Rights, support for which the Attorney General confirmed as a “moral right. ”  In response to a question, he made his own support for gay marriage rights clear, but explained his job is to enforce rather than to make the law.  Regarding BP, he disagreed with the notion that the $20 billion fund was the result of a “shake down,” and described it as the company acknowledging and living up to its responsibility. With regard to Guantanamo, he reaffirmed his belief that waterboarding is torture, and that torture must not be allowed. He described current work to review memoranda and other evidence to determine what kind of questioning had actually taken place.  Regarding the Mirandizing of terrorism suspects, he described the Department of Justice’s efforts to create a policy that balances protection of civil liberties with protection of health and safety and also the degree to which deference must be allowed to law enforcement officials on the scene.  And, finally, as to the question of “Lakers or Celtics” he reiterated his longstanding support for Los Angeles, while allowing that both his fervor for them, as well as his hatred for the Celtics has both waned over the years since the heyday of the Magic v. Bird rivalry.   Moments later, when thanking the Attorney General and awarding him with the Dean’s Cup, the Dean could not resist rallying the Celtics fans in the crowd with a “Go Celtics” cry!

Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at the 18th Annual Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Lecture

WASHINGTON, June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following remarks as prepared for delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder were released today by the U.S. Department of Justice:

Thank you, Wade [Henderson]. It’s an honor to join you and to thank you for your leadership and service here at UDC and across this city. Not only is Wade a great professor, he is also an outstanding ambassador for the David A. Clarke School of Law. And he never misses an opportunity to champion this school’s unique and provocative approach to legal education. 

Of course, much of the credit goes to Dean Broderick and her team of administrators, faculty, and staff. I want to thank you all for inviting me to join you today. I’m especially grateful for the chance to commend the Clarke Law School’s extraordinary example of excellence, service, and innovation – an example that inspires the legal community in this city and far beyond.

Tonight also provides a rare and welcome opportunity to do something every attorney, and certainly any Attorney General, regularly should – to reflect on the systemic challenges facing our justice system and to consider the future of legal education in this country. In the spirit of Joseph Rauh, the visionary namesake of this lecture series, that’s exactly what tonight is all about: taking a step back from what we do and what we study to consider what we owe – to our country and to our community.

Now, where do we begin? To me, it seems appropriate to start by thinking about the one event that’s on a lot of our minds right now – the World Cup. I know that many of you have already cleared your schedules for 10am tomorrow, when the U.S. takes on Slovenia. But more importantly we should also take time to think about where this historic game will be played.

As all of you know, and some remember well, South Africa was – at one time – the last place on Earth where you could imagine people of all cultures coming together. In the era of Apartheid, South Africa’s laws supported a system, not of justice but of injustice. Its legal framework enshrined bigotry, enforced discrimination, and spread hate from Cape Town to Johannesburg to Robben Island. This system of oppression enraged citizens within and beyond South Africa. It also motivated American law students like me, who spent a lot of time away from our studies to call for reform from half way across the world.

For my most famous predecessor, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the laws of Apartheid, and of any system of segregation, were particularly offensive. In fact, forty-four years ago this month, he traveled to South Africa to deliver a speech at the University of Cape Town – just minutes from the stadium where many World Cup games are being played. In his now-famous “Day of Affirmation” address, Attorney General Kennedy spoke about the right to justice, the power of action, and the possibilities born from hope. As he said to all those listening in South Africa, and all those watching around the world, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

“Those ripples,” Robert Kennedy assured us, can “build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Those were beautiful words, but they were more than rhetoric. They were a call to every member of the global community to embrace the idea – indeed the truth – that, more than any policy or program, any controversy or case, justice begins with individual acts. And it is from many acts of courage, service, and great sacrifice that a nation once known for division is now celebrated and admired around the globe for its method to deal with its past and its power to unite.

So, what exactly are these tiny ripples? Where do we find them? And how do we initiate them? I have grappled with such questions throughout my entire career. And I expect many of you struggle with them, as well.

But I have also learned a few things. And I have seen these so-called “ripples,” time and time again, during a life spent studying and practicing law – first, as a law student, when I spent a summer interning at the N.A.A.C.P.’s Legal Defense Fund, working on some of the civil rights cases of the day. I saw them again after graduation, when I came to work in the Justice Department’s new Public Integrity Section.

That, however, was only the start. As a judge in D.C. Superior Court, I saw ripples of hope in the heroic stories of law enforcement officials who stood up for public safety. I saw them in the uplifting examples of criminals reformed, after rehabilitation, and turned into productive citizens. As U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, I saw hope in the activism of community members who came together in times of crisis to safeguard their neighborhoods and help to prevent, not only punish, violence. And when I served as Deputy Attorney General and was asked by President Clinton to lead Lawyers for One America, I saw those ripples of hope in the attorneys, all across this nation, who banded together for the shared purpose of addressing and eliminating racial inequality in our legal system.

Over many years, in many different ways, I have learned that ripples of hope – and rooting out injustice one individual action at a time – can take many forms. There is no one way to fight for what’s right. I have also learned that achieving justice, like accomplishing anything worthwhile, does not come easily. But the path to justice always starts with a single action – and in 2010 it must start with you.

Of course, many of you already know this. The students here, in the tradition of the Clarke School of Law, have already been working to fulfill the promise of justice –long before studying for the Bar Exam. Although this is a small school – with only 300 students – you annually provide more than 85,000 hours of public service to low-income community members. And each UDC law student is required to provide at least 700 hours of clinical service – to helpless tenants, vulnerable seniors, suffering HIV/AIDS patients, needy children, community groups, and businesses.

Seven hundred hours. That’s incredible. Imagine, for a moment, if every law student in the country were to give back, as UDC students do, while earning their degrees. Since there are approximately 150,000 law students at any one time in this country, that would mean about 100 million hours of clinical services combined – enough to turn tens of thousands of ripples of hope into that “current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” I hope that, now, you can start to see my vision, my hope.

Your responsibility to serve others has proven to be not only an effective means of providing your community with much-needed legal assistance, but also an effective means of learning the law. Joseph Rauh predicted it would be – and your example shows that he was right. Today, we can all be encouraged that law schools across the country are taking steps to promote public service and to create opportunities for students to help meet community needs. But I agree with the assertion by UDC’s leadership that all publicly funded law schools should look to the Clarke School of Law for inspiration and consider a similar service requirement. That would be a profound and powerful change. And it would lead, no doubt, to a more just nation and world.

Such a paradigm shift in legal education would also align with what I see as an inflection point in our justice system. I believe we have arrived at a watershed moment. The choices we now make will reverberate for decades to come. But some important decisions must be made. After all, we face a crisis in our justice system – an environment where, despite our founding promise of justice for all, we still must strive to reach that vaunted goal.

Our indigent defense system, for example, is broken; public defenders in some areas are so overwhelmed that they can spend, at most, an hour per case, many of which present life-altering legal questions and decisions. The situation is no better in the civil arena. More than 50 million Americans qualify for federally funded legal assistance, but over half of those who qualify and seek assistance from a federally funded legal assistance program are turned away. There simply aren’t enough resources.

But, fortunately, there are an increasing number of attorneys around the country who are beginning to realize how critical it is that those who have it all – a law degree, a steady job, a good income – help those who have next to nothing, free of charge. And I’m pleased to report that, at the Department of Justice, there is now – at long last – an “Access to Justice” office, which is led by the eminent Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe and dedicated to ensuring the fairness, integrity, and improvement of our legal system.

But let me be clear about something: the Justice Department’s Access to Justice Initiative is not rooted in the notion that the government can do it all. Government can’t. And that’s where each of you comes in. To me, UDC’s students, alumni, and supporters represent an attitude change that is reaching its “tipping point” and, I expect, will soon become widely accepted practice – that pro bono work is not merely good, as its Latin name implies, but is necessary – that it defines the notion of what is expected of an attorney. That every lawyer should engage in pro bono practice frequently, whether you are a professor, a partner, a student, an associate, or a Department of Justice attorney.

Granted, we’re not quite there yet. An American Bar Association study last year reported a definite rise in pro bono activities among lawyers, but it also noted, and I quote, that “more than three-fourths of those who had performed pro bono service in the past year indicated that they do not seek out pro bono opportunities: the opportunities find them.” And many surveyed still did not participate in pro bono, citing a lack of interest among their employers for such work or the sense that there was no free time to spare.

But all of you, current and future leaders who have regularly engaged in public service and seen the power of these individual and collective acts, can help to fulfill the potential attitude shift that I’ve just described. And as you do so, you can – indeed, I expect you will – remain engaged in critical pro bono work here in Washington, D.C., not because the opportunities find you, but because you find them. As you know well, there is so much need in this city, and so many different ways to use your skills, training, and talents to help others.

It may not always be easy. Ripples of hope can be easily smothered by waves of resistance. The cases you take up may not be glamorous, and your services may not always be appreciated. And, if you are a student, after you graduate there may no longer be any formal requirement to give back; you’ll have to seek out service opportunities.

But I urge you to do just that. Find ways to contribute and to encourage others to serve. Individual acts, performed in the pursuit of justice, must continue and must spread as far and as wide as possible – even, and especially, into conference rooms and classrooms where they previously had no place. That is what this school – and what both David Clarke and Joseph Rauh – stood for: training lawyers, not only to be successful, but to be examples for others and to be reminders about the importance and power of pro bono service.

So tonight, let us renew our commitment to what Robert Kennedy once called in South Africa, “our shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings.” That may not be our only purpose as lawyers, but it is our most sacred and important. It should, and must, define who we are as attorneys and the legal system within which we operate. As leaders in our profession you must spread the philosophy of this great institution and make what is unique commonplace.

Thank you.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

Mike Rauh

Dean Broderick at Lectern

Wade Henderson and Eric Holder

Henderson Sessoms Holder Broderick Rauh

Eric Holder at lectern

Wade Henderson

Evan Mascagni