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New England Law Students Recognized by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for Extensive Pro Bono Work in 2017  ​
Kaneesha Dukes ’19 during CORI Initiative training

BOSTON – October 16, 2018 New England Law | Boston, the only independent ABA-accredited law school in Massachusetts, today announced that twenty-one of its students—significantly more than any other law school in Massachusetts, with the exception of Harvard Law—were recognized on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll for 2017.

The Honor Roll recognizes students’ commitment to pro bono legal work in the 2017 calendar year. Also appearing on the list are law students from Boston University, Northeastern University, and Boston College, among others.

Honor Roll awardees

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services administers the Honor Roll, which also recognized 24 law firms, solo practitioners, nonprofit organizations, and other legal practitioners. Some of the Boston firms honored for 2017 include Nixon Peabody LLP, Goodwin Proctor LLP, and Foley Hoag LLP.  

Law students have their own Honor Roll criteria, including performing at least 50 hours of pro bono (volunteer) service throughout their time in law school. These services must be unpaid and serve the legal needs of those who have limited access to legal representation or who are underrepresented in the legal system.

This year, the following New England Law students were honored for their hard work in 2017:

  • Araba Adjei-Korantong
  • Brigitte Allison Alexander
  • Nicholas Babaian
  • Lauren Brooks Cunningham
  • Emily Dasey
  • Meghan Dougherty
  • Deborah Duggin
  • Kaneesha Dukes 
  • Edwin Famila
  • Rebecca Golden
  • Daniel Griffith
  • Samantha Kotusky
  • Bria Lewis
  • Laura Melendez Santiago
  • Stephanie Naranjo
  • Sama Sayej 
  • Alison Shea 
  • Jordan A. Strand
  • Aidan Stuart 
  • Czara Anne S. Venegas
  • Nikia Williams

The full list of organizations and students appears on the Massachusetts Court System Pro Bono Honor Roll webpage.

Law student pro bono work

New England Law students are known for giving back to the community. Students volunteer with faculty on their own time, engage in pro bono clinical course work, and provide pro bono services through their extracurricular organizations. (In fact, many of the students on the SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll also appear on New England Law’s Public Service Honor Roll, where students receive a notation on their transcript for a minimum of 25 hours.) 

"I strongly believe that we would not be where we are today if it were not for the people who helped us along the way,” said Kaneesha Dukes ’19. “Although I am not pursuing a future in public interest work, I still plan to partake in pro bono projects and continue to help others when I can."

Kaneesha is the student manager of the CORI Initiative, a component of the Criminal Justice Project at New England Law. Thousands of people in greater Boston carry the burden of a criminal record, many for minor and non-violent crimes. Individuals with Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) are often ineligible for employment, housing, and financial services. The CORI Initiative connects New England Law student volunteers with qualified clients to help them through the sealing process. 

“Since majoring in criminal justice in undergrad, I have looked to contribute to a solution of the industrial prison complex and the loss of individual rights caused by incarceration,” said Aidan Stuart ’19, who also works on the CORI Initiative at New England Law. “After graduation, I hope to work in criminal defense or investigations, and plan to continue helping indigent clients seal their criminal records.”

Other pro bono services provided by New England Law students include:

  • Providing parents in housing transition with vital information about the education rights of homeless children
  • Providing free income tax consultation with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program
  • Working with the Human Rights and Immigration Law Project to make a real difference in immigration, refugee, and human rights-based work
  • Representing indigent clients who are victims of domestic violence in family law matters

“So many of our students are passionate about using their legal education to assist individuals without adequate representation,” said Nicole Park, Assistant Director of Career Services and Pro Bono Coordinator.  “It is particularly inspiring to see them making pro bono work a priority even while juggling rigorous academics, part-time jobs, and clinical commitments.”

Learn more about pro bono opportunities for law students in Boston.

Upcoming Events

The Center for International Law and Policy hosts several events each year, including film screenings, speaker panels, and symposia (see examples below). Many are open to the public as well.

For more information about CILP events, including submitting talk proposals, please contact center director Lisa Laplante.

Past Events

Human Rights Film Screenings

Documentaries help to highlight and bring to life pressing international issues which otherwise often seem remote and abstract. Each fall semester, the law school and CILP organize a film screening to foster dialogue and raise awareness of pressing human rights concerns. These events often include a panel or guest lecture.

2017 

The-Uncondemned-posterThe Uncondemned: Making its first public screening in Boston, this documentary tells the story about the litigation strategy devised by a young group of lawyers working for the International Tribunal for Rwanda to prosecute the crime of rape as a part of an overall charge of genocide—the Akayesu case was the first of its kind. Filmmaker Michele Mitchell then gave remarks and answered questions after the film. Community partners included Komera, Peace is Loud, and the MaranyundoInitiative.

 

the-man-who-mends-women-posterThe Man Who Mends Women: This International Women’s Day film screening featured a documentary about Dr. Denis Mukwege, renowned doctor and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who dedicated his life to repairing the bodies of women who were raped during the 20 years of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This event was organized in collaboration with United Nations Association of Greater Boston's Global Women's Circle and Harvard School of Public Health.

2016

price-we-pay-posterThe Price We Pay: This award-winning Canadian documentary revealed how large corporations use tax havens to escape paying taxes. We also featured guest speaker Gillian Caldwell, CEO of Global Witness, one of the organizations that helped to uncover the Panama Papers, which helped to reveal the vast corruption with secret tax havens. The film was screened during an event titled Shady Business: The Offshore Industry of Tax Havens, Shell Companies, and Crime.

2015

First Light: This film provided an overview of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the first such body for Native Americans in the United States. The TRC uncovered the discrimination experienced by the Wabanaki children and families involved with the Maine child welfare system. The film’s director, Adam Mazo, and activists featured in the work joined us for a panel discussion after the screening.

2014 

Co-Exist. This film was screened during an event entitled Healing After Genocide: Stories from Rwanda, which was in recognition of the 20 years that had passed since the genocide in Rwanda. The documentary is about the difficult healing process after the genocide. The law school and CILP were fortunate to be able to organize the event in coordination with the NGO Coexist Learning Project. One of the activists featured in the film, Solange Nyirasafari, traveled from Rwanda to join us.

2013 

granito-posterGranito: How to Nail a Dictator. This film provides a captivating tale of how a small international legal team managed to bring former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt to justice. During his brief leadership in the early 1980s, General Ríos Montt orchestrated a brutal government policy that led to the massacre of many Mayan villages. The film is produced by Pamela Yates whose 1983 film When the Mountains Tremble helped inform the world of this horrific tragedy. This film is her latest documentary and narrates how she was approached to be a witness against the General and how her incriminating footage from her earlier film became critical to the litigation strategy.

Guest Speakers and Panels

These events bring practitioners and academics working on important legal issues in international law to share their expertise with the New England Law | Boston community.

2018

Lorianne-Updike-Toler-posterLorianne Updike Toler, “Constitution-Writing at Home and Abroad”: Constitutional legal historian and President of Libertas Constitutional Consulting, Toler shared her years of research studying the process of constitution writing.

 

 

Colombia-Expert-Meeting-posterPanel, “What’s Business Got to Do with It? Peacebuilding in Colombia”: Luis Fernando Angulo, executive director of El Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos Responsables (CILP’s partner organization in Colombia), and German Zamara, senior research director with CREER, provided an insider’s view of Colombia’s recent peace agreement and how the government has been seeking to involve the private sector in the peace process it spearheaded.

2017

Viviana-PosterViviana Krsticevic, “Assessing the Impact of Human Rights Litigation in the Americas”: Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law, Krsticevic has been a human rights litigator in the Inter-American Human Rights System for over two decades, and CEJIL is one of the leading non-governmental groups to bring cases to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She shared some of her first-hand accounts of litigating in a regional human rights system while also offering her assessment of the direct impact of this work.

Panel, “Combating Corruption in a New Global Reality”: This panel discussed recent developments in the field of international corruption law. It featured Anthony Mirenda, Partner, Foley Hoag; Michael Granne, Associate, Zuber Lawler & Del Duca; and John Sherman, General Counsel, Shift. Boston Bar Association co-sponsored.

2016

Zhiyuan Guo: CILP collaborated with Center for Law and Social Responsibility to host this prominent Fulbright scholar and professor at China University of Political Science and Law. This daylong visit included activities for faculty and students and aimed to build our institutional relationship with a major Chinese law school.

Panel, “Human Rights Day: A Poignant Discussion on Female Genital Mutilation”: This panel featured alumna Katie Cintolo and New England Law Professor Dina Haynes, who had recently testified on Beacon Hill about a new bill on FGM.

2015

Hon. Ganna Yudkivska, “The Impact of the European Human Rights System on Democratization in Eastern Europe”: Judge Yudkivska, who sits on the European Court of Human Rights, shared some of the recent developments of the rulings of the international human rights court in Europe. Boston Bar Association co-sponsored.

Panel, “Human Rights and Corporate Liability: What You Need to Know”: This panel shared useful knowledge regarding the evolving international legal and policy framework that may impact how legal practitioners work with corporations of all sizes. Panelists included John Sherman, general counsel and senior advisor, Shift; Tyler Giannini, clinical professor of law and co-director, Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic; and Amanda Werner, legal and policy fellow, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable. Boston Bar Association co-sponsored.

Panel, “Justice Defenders: Who Defends Those Who Defend Human Rights?”: This panel highlighted the work of lawyers working to protect and defend human rights advocates. Panelists included Priscila Rodriguez Bribiesca, founder and legal director, Mexican-U.S. NGO Strategic Defense and Communication for Change (SAKBE), and Fergal Gaynor, counsel for victims in an ICC case, Prosecutor v. Uhuru Kenyatta.

Dustin Lewis, “Anti-Corruption and Counterterrorism Measures: An Overview for NGOs and Corporations Operating in Insecure Environments”: Lewis, a senior researcher at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, explored the issues and concerns that arise for NGOs and corporations operating in armed conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies such as what due diligence and risk mitigation would entail for organizations working in relation to Syria or Somalia. Boston Bar Association co-sponsored.

2014

Panel, “Terrorism and the Material Support Statute: A Panel Discussion on the First Circuit’s Decision in United States v. Mehanna and Related Issues”: The panel explored the various issues and debates stemming from the First Circuit’s decision in November 2013 in which the Court affirmed the conviction of Tarek Mehanna, a 30-year old pharmacist from Sudbury, Massachusetts, for material support for terrorism. Panelists included Professor Andrew March, Yale Law School; Professor Peter Margulies, Roger Williams School of Law; and Sabin Willett, Bingham McCutchen LLP. Boston Bar Association co-sponsored.

Panel, “International Disability Law: Opening Doors for Access and Inclusion”: This event featured both out of state and local speakers discussing the effectiveness of international conventions regulating disability law, and identify the next steps in addressing the needs of the international disabled population. Speakers included Daniela Caruso, Professor of Law, Boston University; Eric Mathews, Advocacy Associate, Disability Rights International; and Diana Samarasan, Founding Executive Director, Disability Rights Advocacy Fund & Disability Rights Fund.

2013

Julia Rogers, “One Seed at a Time: The United Nations, Food Security, and Development”: As a legal consultant with the United Nations and other international organizations, Ms. Rogers advises developing countries on legislative reforms to strengthen their agriculture sector and promote food security. Her work has taken her to Afghanistan, Ethiopia, East Timor, Angola, and Tanzania to hold in-depth dialogues with key stakeholders–from government officials to farmers associations. She provided her personal reflections on the challenges of engaging in legal work to support countries on the path to development.