LSC 40th Anniversary | #Flex: Responding to Community Needs Through Partnerships

LSC 40th Anniversary | #Flex: Responding to Community Needs Through Partnerships


MARTHA MINOW: Before we
start, can I just say thank you to Dan
for your leadership. And thank you to
everyone who is here. And thank you for
everyone who’s ever had anything to do with LSC. [LAUGHTER] As I came this morning, my
assistant said to me, LSC, there’s a lot of things
with LSC in your life. But this is the LSC. And I just can’t
help but reminisce and say that I
came to Harvard Law School because of Gary Barlow. And this program was
just in its infancy. And I offered the first
class that had students who had placements who were here. And that’s been a model. And it’s kind of worked. And it certainly made my
chance to feel like law could be a partnership
between practice and theory. So that partnership theme is
going to guide us here today. I want to say that
innovation is another theme that I know our panelists
are going to talk about. And this place is and has always
been a place of innovation as well as justice partnership. I am from Chicago so I have
to quote Michael Jordan. And he said, “Talent wins games,
but teamwork and intelligence wins championships,” teamwork,
and the partnerships, and the crossovers, and
the finding connections that people didn’t know
happen, and creating links that make the chain
stronger at every point. So I’m going to invite the
panelists to introduce each of themselves, although
I have something to say about each of them
anyway, and with descriptions of the origin of one or
more because several of you have more than one partnerships
that you’d like to describe. First, though, I do want
to say, Jack, you were here at the beginning, pro-bono
leader, partner from Wilmer, and working in this partnership. You’ll talk about it, but
now working here, here, here. It’s amazing and fabulous. Nnena, I’m not going to date
you, but it’s been a while. And Robert– also, you
were Robert’s student. We’ll hear about
that connection. Brandon, you are an
innovative genius, organizer, communicator. Toby, we first met at a law
and social change retreat. And now look at what you have
done, what you’ve created. And we’ll hear a lot more
about the partnerships. And student debt is
something that people understand, in a
way, differently because of your work. So I had to say that. But now, Brandon, why
don’t you go first? BRANDON GERMAN: Sure. My name is Brandon German. I’m a community organizer. I really got involved
community organizing back in 2007, during the
foreclosure crisis, working with City
Life / Vida Urbana and really just handling
all of their media work and online communication
work for the public protests that we do in terms of
putting pressure on the banks during the foreclosure crisis. And eventually, that led
to my work here at LSC, working with their
newly launched anti-foreclosure
eviction defense program, which was the Mattapan
Initiative, where we kind of focused our efforts
in the neighborhood of Mattapan because that was the hardest
hit neighborhood in the city in terms of foreclosure. And so we focused our
efforts in Mattapan, trying to prevent
displacement and just making sure that neighborhood
become stabilized because it was ravaged by
the foreclosure crisis. So my work really focused on
campaigns against displacement and the predatory lending
practices of Wall Street banks. MARTHA MINOW: So you
demonstrate partners actually can move homes. But is there another partner
you want to call out here, anybody here now, right, or no? BRANDON GERMAN: Yes. So mainly the partnership
that I worked with was the City Life /
Vida Urbana You know, that partnership is a
true authentic partnership in which both sides benefit. You know, you have
the law students from Harvard Legal Aid and LSC
here really helping homeowners and tenants fight displacement. Law students learn
real life practices. And they really
learn what really happens in the real world
and low income people. And they really understand,
wow, the system is not what it seems, you know? And then, of
course, the families that are impacted really benefit
because they become empowered learning the law because
they get that legal education from the students. So it’s a very powerful
partnership, very beneficial. And I was glad to be a part
of it in terms of just helping people stay in their homes. And that Mattapan Initiative,
it was great work. I’m very proud of it. And that partnership
is long-lasting. It started about 35 years
ago, but we’ll get– yeah, we’ll get more into it. Super. Nnena. NNENA ODIM: Sure. So I will date myself. I was a student here
in ’96, ’97 or so. And I came to LSC
as an attorney right after that– sorry right
after grad school– right after law school. I started working for
Robert in the Living Legacy project providing legal
services to families affected by HIV and AIDS. And interestingly– we’re
talking about partnerships– that was a similar
partnership with AIDS Action, with GLAAD, with other LBGT
organizations in the area. A few years later, I moved
to the family law unit. At that time, there was no
domestic violence in the name. It was the family
LGBT unit to reflect that kind of partnership with
gay and lesbian legal issues. And while I’ve remained in the
family law clinic, the clinic itself has morphed,
depending on the partnerships that we’ve had. And in addition to providing
legal services to families in traditional family law,
domestic relations area, it has adapted to meet
the needs of the community based on our different
partnerships. And right now, we’re now the
Family Domestic Violence Law clinic. Before I talk about the
Passageway Health Law Collaborative, our
long-term partnership now, I do want to pause and kind
of acknowledge the folks from Passageway if that’s OK– MARTHA MINOW: Please. NNENA ODIM: –if I
can talk about it– actually, I think
there’s just one. And one is on her
way from Passageway and the Brigham and
Women’s Hospital– and ask them to introduce
themselves, if that’s OK. And that way, at some
point in this conversation, if they pipe up, you
all know who she is. So Mardi, just very briefly,
can you just mention who you are and what you do. MARDI CHADWICK: Hi,
I’m Mardi Chadwick, Also, I’m the Director for
the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program
over at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the
Passageway Collaborative. I’m a lawyer, as well,
although I’m not practicing. I’m a recovering
lawyer, as I would say. I started doing this work. And now, I’ve been really in
administration for the last 10 years with this program. So looking forward
and honored to be part of this and the amazing
legacy and work that’s happened. So thank you guys all for
sharing with us today. MARTHA MINOW: Wonderful. NNENA ODIM: And we’ll see
Mardi later on this evening. MARTHA MINOW: Great. NNENA ODIM: So I
would also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge
Sarah Boonin, who’s here and you all met this
morning, who actually founded the Passageway Health
Law Collaborative and was instrumental in raising
it through its young formative years. I kind of feel like an
adoptive foster parent who is now kind of
stepping in when the child has
already been taught manners and things like that. And I’m just kind
of keeping it going and make sure it
doesn’t it doesn’t die. Anyway, Sarah started
the partnership. And it was such a
solid project that got started almost 15 years ago
that it’s really pretty strong. And it’s kind of hard. You mentioned Sarah
when you were talking in your first panel
about how it’s hard to talk about clinical
legal education with Jean Wright sitting right beside you. It’s kind of hard to talk about
the genesis of the Passageway Program with you
sitting right there. So I’m going to do my best. Hopefully I do it justice,
and we’ll go from there. So it was formed in 2005 as
an innovative partnership between the Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and LSC to provide critical legal
services to low income victims of domestic violence. Essential to the
genesis of the project was recognizing that DV
was a serious public health issue in addition
to a legal issue, so that in addition
to the physical and the emotional
scars that it leaves, it also is the cause of
the breakup of families, financial instability,
economic instability, housing instability, unemployment,
health care and disability needs, negative impacts of
children in their education. So the idea was that there
needs to be an integrated response to these
legal and medical and social concerns that
are occurring simultaneously when we have domestic
violence situations. And at the time
back in 2005-ish, there were no programs
in Massachusetts with that coordinated social
medical legal services for victims of DV. So Sarah thought,
very smartly, that by reaching clients in the
hospitals, in their health care settings at hospitals and
affiliated community health centers, and by structuring
a teamwork, a team of folks between the parents– I’m sorry, between the patient’s
social workers and lawyers that we would be able to offer
comprehensive legal assessments early to prevent or
attempt to prevent issues related to domestic violence. So that continuum
of services would include crisis
legal intervention, long-term legal and safety
planning, legal consultations, and full scale legal
representation, all in conjunction with
the advocacy provided by skilled non-lawyer advocates
from the Passageway Program at the Brigham and
Women’s Hospital. Why did we choose
Brigham and Women’s? I’m not exactly sure what
Sarah’s research methods were. But she eventually learned that
Passageway had been provide– Passageway at the Brigham had
been providing consultation, social services, referrals for
victims of domestic violence for 10 years prior. And she also learned
that they had identified a pressing need
among its clients were legal services related
to domestic violence. But they lacked the
resources and the training to provide such services,
which is oftentimes, of course, how partnerships evolve. So this information combined
with the realization that our own cases,
the cases that were coming into LSC
through our regular intake processes, walk-ins,
things like that, almost all had an element
of domestic violence. So even if they
came in presenting with a different legal need,
a housing need, a family need, a bankruptcy
consumer, whatever it is that they were
coming to us for, once we started to
work up the case, we found that there
was a domestic violence component to that case
and to that client. So all of those things,
I think, kind of put together helped Sarah
to kind of think, well, let’s try to do
something about this. So the Passageway Health
Collaborative was born. So at the time, they provided
direct legal services to victims and survivors
of DV, particularly in the areas of domestic
guardianship, estate planning, and referrals to other
clinics in the center. I found out last
night at dinner– I didn’t know this, but
I think I got it right– that Sarah’s initial
instinct was to, instead of have it
focus on family law, was to have it focused on
health law and disability and things like that. But that wasn’t the need
of what Passageway wanted. So our partnership
kind of drove– or the partner that
we had chose kind of drove the way the
partnership, the path of it, and we ended up
understanding that we needed that collaboration. But instead of focusing on
disability or employment, we focused on what the needs
that Passageway had identified, which was family law, and
which is what we do now. So we do a whole
bunch of things. I think we’ll probably get
into it as we go along. But that’s kind
of how we started. Yeah. MARTHA MINOW: Thank you. Robert, who are you? And tell us your origin. ROBERT GREENWALD: Hi, everybody. I’m Robert Greenwald. I’m a Clinical Professor of
Law here at the Law School, and the faculty
director of what’s called the Center for Health
Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School. It’s really a pleasure to be
here and to talk about the role that the legal
services has played for a really long
time in fostering community partnerships. So great to be
part of this panel. I’m going to date
myself, as well. I first came to the
Legal Services Center in 1984, which was the summer
of my 1L year of law school. I have to say, from the
moment I walked in the door, I thought, oh, my god, this is
exactly what I’ve been looking for and where I want to work. So for me a lot of the
drama that people go through in trying to figure out
where they want to be was over for me because
I knew this was it. The combination of
service to the community and the opportunity to teach
and mentor students was really just the perfect fit for me. So ultimately, I worked at
the Legal Services Center for over 25 years. The last six years
of my time here, I was the Faculty
Director of the Center. And I stopped being the
Faculty Director in 2014 because I created this new
center, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, in
2011 and was running the two. And then Dan came along
to take over this one, and I now run this other one. So today what I want to– really, I’m going to focus
on is the creation of the HIV Law Clinic, the first
in the nation HIV law program in the country that
was created here at the center. And for us, in terms
of collaboration, I don’t necessarily seek
collaborative partners here. But I just thought I would ask. How many people here in
this room either worked on a case, an AIDS law
case or witnessed a will, did a home visit or a
hospital visit with me? Can you just raise
your hands to show? So just to say, it was an
incredible collaboration, and in this case, collaboration
certainly with AIDS Action Committee, GLAAD, many other
health and social service organizations, but also with
many of the other programs here in the Law School
to make it possible and for us to become
what we became. And then just to say, so
in terms of my center now, we’ve really evolved in
some ways, focused much more on advocacy, community
mobilization, and impact litigation. But all of it is really
informed by my over 20 years of direct service work. MARTHA MINOW: Jack? JACK REGAN: My
name’s Jack Regan. My profile is a little
different from the people you’ve heard today. I was not an LSC student. In fact, shockingly, I did
not go to Harvard Law School. [LAUGHTER] But they still let
me be on the panel. I went to one of those
places in New York City. I spent my career
at Wilmer Hale, then known as Hale and Dorr, and
was raised as a general trial lawyer, and then was asked
probably 25 years ago now to spend my time
dealing with technology companies and intellectual
property litigation. But in the course of that, I
did a number of pro bono cases and was offered the tremendous
privilege for the past 15 or so years to be co-chair of the
firm’s pro bono program, which was robust at Hale and Dorr. But when Hale and Dorr merged
in 2004 with Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering, which also had
a very substantial pro bono culture, it really became
an international pro bono powerhouse. And I had the privilege
as the co-chair to be managing
this program where we were opening four to
eight pro bono cases per day worldwide. So doing things in Germany
and London as well as Dedham. So it was the whole
spectrum of experience, every kind of pro bono
case you can imagine, from the Boston Municipal Court
to the United States Supreme Court. And part of my responsibility
during that time was to manage the relationship
with the Legal Services Center. So I had that
professional relationship with the Legal Services Center. But before that, as a young
busy lawyer in the early ’90s, I got to watch this
place get created. I got to watch the
two guys who you will hear about this
evening at 5 o’clock, Jack Hogan and John Hamilton,
through a different set of skills and different
visions, think about what this could be if the
dream that Jeanne Charn talked about, to have a
separate location that would be community-based and
do community-based lawyering could come to fruition
in a building like this. And in their wildest
imaginations, I don’t think they
would have envisioned this level of success. But you’ll hear more
about that tonight. So I got to watch that
happen, and then later on got to manage the relationship. So I retired from
WilmerHale on September 1 after a mere 40
years there and had been working during the
course of that time with Dan Nagin and Betsy Gwin and Dana
Montalto in a veterans clinic because we had crossed paths
I think maybe initially at the Boston Bar Association. And so Dan said, would
you like to come and spend some time with us? And I said, wow,
what an opportunity. And so I consider
myself very fortunate. And I’d be happy to talk
later about the partnership and the details of
it, as long as you let me rely upon picking
up on your teamwork idea for colleagues who
are here who can tell it from their perspective. MARTHA MINOW: Want to
introduce them now? JACK REGAN: I would. Rich Johnston, who
is the Chief Legal Officer of the Massachusetts
Attorney General’s Office. He knows our keynote speaker. [LAUGHTER] Hugh Jones, who is a retired
corporate partner, who did many important pro bono cases. The one that comes
to my mind is being a key lawyer for City Year. Rob Tuchman, who is
a retired real estate lawyer, who did so much pro
bono in the real estate area, I can’t begin to describe it. But the Central Lottery
Committee comes to mind. And he kept the peace
during the Big Dig. And Belinda Juran, who
is a technology licensing lawyer who’s had a
relationship with the center and the students from a
variety of perspectives that she can talk about. MARTHA MINOW: Wonderful. Toby. TOBY MERRILL: Thanks. JACK REGAN: Thank you. TOBY MERRILL: I’m Toby Merrill. I direct the project on
Predatory Student Lending here at the Legal
Services Center. I’ve been here in that
capacity since 2012 when I started as a Fellow. But before that, I
was a student here. I started in 2009. And it’s actually really
humbling to be in the room with so many of my teachers
and some of my students. So thank you. I want to tell a story
today about something that happened just
a few years ago when Corinthian Colleges was
starting to shut down in 2014. We all knew it was coming. This was an enormous
company, but it was also an enormous fraud,
and it was happening all across the country. There were over
100,000 students. There were more
than 70 campuses. And everyone saw this company
was about to collapse. And the question
was, what was going to happen to the students
who were enrolled? And what was going to
happen to the students who had been enrolled– maybe
had gotten their credentials, but those credentials
were worthless? Because for many years, this
company had just been taking people in, giving them
student loan debt, which at least some of the
people in the room know, is presumptively
non-dischargeable in bankruptcy– can be collected through some of
the core anti-poverty benefits by just taking that
money instead of letting it go to help people
live their lives. And the project was
here at that time. I’d been here for a
couple of years thinking about how to apply
the litigation model of the Predatory
Lending Clinic, which is a mixture of
individual representation with the aim of
high-impact litigation to the for-profit
college industry, and with the twin
goal that Blake mentioned earlier of putting
myself out of business. We just want to shut
down the bad guys and go do something else. I believe that those
skills are transferable. And as the company
started to shut down, an amazing thing happened, which
is that the students started to get together. And first, it was
the Corinthian 15. And there were 15 borrowers,
and they went on debt strike. And they said, we’re not going
to pay these bogus debts. This isn’t a legitimate
debt that we owe. And it took a lot of courage. And then it was
the Corinthian 100. And by the time that a giant
red box of loan cancellation applications was delivered to
the US Department of Education, there were 10,000. And now, there are over
180,000 applications to cancel bogus student
loan debt sitting at the Department of Education. And it’s really due to the
work of one of our partners, the Debt Collective. And they’re
organizers, and they’re thinking about organizing
from a different perspective, because these are people
across the country. It’s not housing. It’s not land use. It’s debt, and so it’s
something that people are ashamed of that they
don’t like talking about, that has no geographical
connection, that has no outward manifestation
in the same way that some of the other issues
that tend to foment organizing do. And so they are
innovating and thinking about how to approach this
problem from an organizing perspective. And at the same time,
we are trying to work with them as legal partners. MARTHA MINOW: Change
of administration changes some of the dynamics. So some of you have
already started to talk about the sources of
your partnerships and some haven’t. But I want to turn the
focus to challenges. But anyone who hasn’t yet
said enough about the sources, please do so. So Robert, do you want to start? ROBERT GREENWALD: So I– [CHUCKLES] so I ended up
finishing law school clerkship, and I got hired here,
so my dream came true. That was 1987. But frankly, there was a really
dark cloud hanging over me, and I think over many
people in the United States. And in my case, the AIDS
epidemic had really taken hold. The only other out gay
man in my law school class died that year. I lost three friends
from college that year. Many people that I
knew were petrified. And you were just basically
seeing in the newspaper, like, every day somebody there
got thrown out of their house, or lost their job, or some
other form of discrimination. And I literally– I was here
for six months when I realized, this is my perfect job,
but I feel like I really have to do something. So I went to Jeanne and Gary. And I said– and I explained to
them what was going on for me, and that I felt like I
needed to do something. And Jeanne and Gary
said, definitely. We definitely need
to do something. And then that Friday
was staff meeting. And we went to staff meeting,
and we talked about it. And every person said– at least one or two people in
every of the different clinics said, I’ll help. I’ll do what I can. Frankly, it was the day
I realized, oh, my god. I really did have
the perfect job and that this place is
truly committed to being a laboratory for innovation. It’s truly committed
to community lawyering and addressing
the needs that are going on in the community, and
then as a teaching institution, really to exposing our
law students to really what’s going on in the
community and being part of community lawyering. So I was charged with basically
contacting what was then AIDS Action Committee, which
was literally in the basement of a community health center– really didn’t have
much programming. But it was this
guy Larry Kessler, who was literally basically
going to people’s hospitals and taking care of them
as they were dying. And I said– first of all, I
didn’t have very many legal skills, but I was
going to rely on a lot of other peoples’ at the time–
and said, we want to help. We don’t know what
the legal issues are, but we want to help. And they were thrilled
and said, we’ll start getting the words out. And they did have
a list of people who they knew living
with HIV, and they started making phone calls. And they had a
newsletter that they’d also give to people that
were coming for appointments. And truly, our phone
never stopped ringing off the hook for 20 years. We became the largest
legal service provider in the state for
people living with HIV, providing direct service
on a broad range of issues that did change and
evolve over time but always involved some
public/private benefits issues, health, disability,
life insurance, all of that, some discrimination cases, a
lot of estate planning cases. Literally, or
particularly early on, we were helping people prepare
for dying and guardianship cases. Every single person that worked
in the Center did home visits. We did hospital visits. And we were constantly–
every morning it would be, who’s available to come to
go to the hospital with me? The front desk would
have to figure it out so somebody would be a witness. So that went on for a
long period of time. And just to say,
so that continued. But what it also started to
feel like very quickly was, there were no real
legal solutions for many of the problems
we were facing, right? And the needs were really
changing dramatically, and we were putting Band-Aids
on the same problems when there was a solution, but
often, there wasn’t. And so in– this
is all, by the way, in collaboration
with the AIDS Action Committee and these other
community-based organizations. It got so that it felt like we
were truly drinking from a fire hose, to the point where we
contact AIDs Action Committee and said, we need
to form a legal task force, which is what we formed. And Linda Giles
and I said that– Judge Giles now. And then we trained lawyers
all throughout Massachusetts to basically be able to
help us handle the cases. The cases would come
in to me at the Center. Linda and I would
then divide them up, figure out who was
going to do what. We talk about the
collaboration with WilmerHale. And we did thousands and
thousands of estate plans for people, many of whom–
tens of thousands of people that are now dead mostly. But Nan [INAUDIBLE]
Kim [? Cohn– ?] they literally must have
reviewed 1,000 or 2,000 of my original
estate plans till I felt confident to
know what I was doing. Rich Johnston, Joe
[? Barry ?] helped us on our litigation cases– literally, I didn’t– and
Gary, of course, and Jeanne, to make this all possible. And then over time– so we’re
doing all this direct service work and also realized
that we had to address some of the systemic problems. Quickly I could tell
just two examples. One is this issue. Over time, we started to see
more and more women living with HIV. And they were
really coming to us. And the biggest issue
they were confronting was knowing that
they were likely going to become incapacitated
and then ultimately die. And what was going to
happen to their children? And the truth is, there
were not any great answers because the only thing
you could do at the time was a testamentary
disposition, which is basically a statement in
your will as to who you wanted. Or you could try to do
a co-guardianship, which meant you’d name
the person to be the guardian during
your lifetime, but you’d give up exclusive
control over your child. Both of those options
were terrible. So we started doing
research and found that people were talking
about this thing called standby guardianship,
which allowed a woman or any custodial
parent to have a court hearing, decide who would be the
guardian of the child. And frankly, this was all
about most of the women being– it’s mostly women– being concerned about the
biological fathers getting control of these
children for many reasons why they shouldn’t be. And so we decided– we created a group,
our students, called Women of Action. Amy Rosenberg, if she’s here
somewhere, helped lead it. And we literally organized
our women clients. The students interviewed them. We took pictures of
them and their kids. We made up a
brochure, a pamphlet. And we just started
working the legislature. And what we were
told, even the people that really were
supportive of us, that this would take 10 years to get
probate legislation through. We got it through in a year. And as a result of
that, we were then able to have women have
hearings before a judge. The biological
fathers could come. Anybody else could come. And the judge would
make the decision right then and there as to who
would get custody of the kids. And so that was the
movement of us not only doing direct service
work, but policy work, which informs what I do now. One other quick example. By 1996, we actually
had effective treatment. And that was a game changer. But the problem was that both
the Medicaid and Medicare program– the two public
programs– are really disability care programs. They’re not health care
programs, particularly pre-Affordable Care Act. So in the context
of HIV disease, if you were low
income or eligible for Medicaid based
on income, you still needed to meet a
category of eligibility. In the case of HIV disease,
it meant disability. And so what it meant is
there was this cruel irony that you had to become so
sick and disabled by AIDS that you could get
access to the program to get the care
and treatment that could have prevented
you from getting so sick in the first place. And we said, this is ridiculous. And people were coming to us. Like, I’m going
to die because I’m not getting these medications. So again, we organized. We mobilized AIDS
Action Committee. By that point, we had formed a
Massachusetts AIDS Policy Task Force, which I think I chaired
for 17 years or something. But we started going to
the governor’s office, started going to
the legislature, started going to MassHealth. And frankly, Massachusetts
became the first state in the nation, 2001,
which changed the policy and basically turned
it into, if you were 200% of the
federal poverty or lower at the moment you
tested positive for HIV, you were eligible. And just to give
you a sense, this is 10 years before
the Affordable Care Act did Medicaid expansion. What that meant by 2010,
when the Affordable Care Act was enacted,
was 80% of people with HIV in Massachusetts were
engaged in care as opposed to 37% nationally. 59% had suppressed viral loads,
as opposed to 25% nationally. Suppressed viral
load not only means you’re healthy as we
knew then, but now we know that you can’t
transmit the virus if you’re virally suppressed. As a result of that, we
had dramatic decreases beyond anywhere
else in the country in terms of declines and deaths
and new transmissions of HIV. And again, just all of
that, part of a coalition, that was so much
the– it started from Jeanne and Gary saying to me– I knew nothing at the time– yeah, let’s do this and then
literally mobilized GLAAD, AIDS Action Committee,
community-based organizations across the state to truly
help transform Massachusetts into a post-health care reform
state in a pre-reform country, which frankly, is
the work that I– then ultimately, as
the epidemic changed– we’ll talk more
about that later– have transitioned to. MARTHA MINOW: Great. I remember so well the
earlier discussions questions about the standby
guardianship because people said you can’t have that. You either have one guardian
or you have another guardian. And you can’t do it. You can’t do it. And I think that LSC is
a perfect demonstration that things that can’t
be done get done. So who else would– Brandon? Great. BRANDON GERMAN: Yeah. So with City Life, City Life
is a grassroots community organization that fights
for racial, social, and economic justice. And the partnership with LSC
started about 35 years ago when the first campaign was the
eviction-free zone in Egleston. It ranged from Egleston
to Franklin Park down to Green Street. It was almost 60
blocks of this area– there’s no evictions
happening in this area. And so LSC partnered
with City Life, and they provided legal
education and assistance with the legal proceedings
doing evictions. And so that’s how it started
and just grew from there. And 35 years in the making,
and it’s still strong. And I think it’s just a
testament to that partnership because it’s really authentic. There’s a value on both sides. The people facing
foreclosure and eviction– they’re empowered with
the help and education from the attorneys. And the attorneys–
the law students– they receive a real
education in the struggles of low-income people. And so I think that partnership
alone is very transformative because they see both sides. And it just sometimes– For me, as well as
for, I’m pretty sure, some of the students,
you get angered by what happens when you
see the issues and the systematic institutions– the issues and the racial– this institutional
racism that goes on in marginalizing people. And so you get angered. And so it just makes the
law students work harder. It makes me as a
community organizer work hard to make
the system fair, to try to correct the system. And so some of the
challenges that I face– when I was here, I did
community outreach work. And so some of the challenge–
there’s trust issues, and so you have
to overcome that. And also, people
are just ashamed. They think that
they are the reason for falling into foreclosure. But I let them know that
they were the victim. It was systematic. It was widespread, and
so they was the victim. So once we get past
the trust issues and we invite them to the
community meetings over at City Life, they begin to open up. And then they learn and
they feel comfortable. And that’s when their
empowerment begins. And so I just think
it’s a great partnership because lives are transformed. And some of the challenges,
you don’t win every case. You don’t win every case. However, you are
empowered when you fight. And so when you’re
facing foreclosure and everything is falling
apart in your life, but you know you’re a part of
a community that supports you, that’s very important. And the partnership
with City Life is just– it’s a
true partnership. It’s not for optics. A lot of times,
partnerships, they form because someone
wants some money for fund-raising
purposes, or they’re trying to further their brand. But it’s not the
case with City Life. It’s not charity work. When the students come
and help the people facing foreclosure and
eviction, it’s not charity work. They really get involved,
because people’s lives are at stake. Their livelihood is at stake,
and so they work much harder to overcome barriers. And so when we did
our work in Mattapan, we saw so many issues in
terms of people just leaving– abandoning their homes. And so because–
what will happen is that the banks will use
scare tactics to get people out of their homes. And they just
abandon their homes. They just leave them. So part of my task was to
educate them, say no, you don’t leave. We have to protect
your legal rights. And so we educate them. And once we educate them,
and then they’re empowered. They help others because
they have a family member or another friend. And so that’s always
rewarding when you see that. And so just in terms
of those challenges, just making sure that they
know their legal rights– they don’t need to leave their
home unless a judge tells them they need to leave their home– and basically, just
give them that support– that support system. And so a lot of times, people
who go through this alone, they don’t have that support
system, and so they break down. Then it leads to the health
issues and things like that, which is another challenge. But having that partnership
and that community I think is very unique. And so unique that
the model has been replicated across the country– Rhode Island, Chicago,
St. Louis, Seattle. And so that’s a testament to
how well it works because it’s been replicated so many times. And so yeah, challenges–
you don’t win everything, but there’s triumph and
winning, but it’s always– it’s empowerment and fighting. So that’s good. MARTHA MINOW: And maybe twice
featured on News Hour, PBS. And when I had a meeting at
the Department of Justice, and I said we have this
initiative that puts together organizers and
students and lawyers, says oh, we know all about it. And I said– BRANDON GERMAN: Yeah, yeah. And nationwide
reach– the work that we was doing know is very– it should be like– Julia’s right here. She was my colleague in doing
this work, and I’m very proud. I know she’s very
proud of this work, because it has national reach. It’s been replicated
all over the world. The model that City Life
uses is the sword and shield. The sword– the public
protests and fighting. Then Julia with the shield as
the lawyer– legal defense. It’s just a match
made in heaven. It works very well– the direct action model. But yeah, I’m very proud of it. And we could go on and on. But– MARTHA MINOW: No,
it’s fantastic. Julia, do you want
to say anything? JULIA DEVANTHERY: No. This is a– this was a
really special collaboration, and it continues today. I know the students are over at
City Life every Tuesday night, continuing to do intakes and
to work alongside folks who are facing primarily eviction. Now we’re in a moment
where there’s not so much of a foreclosure
crisis, but certainly a mass displacement in a lot
of neighborhoods in Boston. And really standing beside
tenants and communities who are fighting to
stay in their homes and to advance a right
to housing and a right to the kind of economic justice
that we spent some time talking about this morning, so– BRANDON GERMAN: I want
to add that in our work, one of the issues
Julia will raise when we’re dealing
with someone being evicted post-foreclosure– say that the landlord doesn’t
keep the house habitable. There’s issues in the house. And so Julia will
find these issues and it’ll be a
counterclaim in the case. And we’ll use that to keep
the people in their home. So if we keep them in there a
day longer, that’s a victory. That’s a win for us. And so she did a
great job with that. And that was one
of the strategies that we used to make
the movement grow. MARTHA MINOW: Great. Jack, you want to talk
more about the partnerships with Wilmer or challenges or– JACK REGAN: Sure. Well, why don’t I deal
with the partnerships first and maybe circle back
on the challenges later? Let me talk first about
the founding of this place and what happened. As I understand it– and I was watching
it, not in it– Jack Hogan, who was a graduate
of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, was the
co-chair of a capital campaign at the Law School. MARTHA MINOW: True. JACK REGAN: And
capital campaign chairs are tasked often with dealing
with faculties and deans, particularly deans who
have a wish list for what they would like to be funded. And often, it’s an
ambitious wish list. And one of the items
on this wish list was a new home for the
Legal Services Center, for all the reasons which Jeanne
Charn described this morning. So Jack Hogan– and he told me
this himself when I met with him maybe three or
four weeks ago– he’s now 91 years old– saw this as a tremendous
opportunity for Hale and Dorr, but also for Harvard Law
School because he sensed the potential,
given the leadership that Gary and Jeanne and the
then-dean, Bob Clark, provided. So Jack brought this
back to the firm. And Jack Hogan had been
the managing partner there in the early to mid-’80s. But the person running
the show at the time was John Hamilton, who happened
to be a real estate lawyer. And when Jack Hogan
approached him with this, John was all in as fast
as you could imagine. And John Hamilton
was the guy who really implemented
the vision that Jack Hogan brought to the table. This would not have happened
without both of them. I don’t think either one of
them, for a variety of reasons, could have pulled it off. But it was a real instance
of what Martha talked about in terms of teamwork. Jack Hogan made a
very substantial personal contribution,
and then the firm made a substantial contribution,
and then individual partners at Harvard– I don’t know how deeply these
guys’ pockets were picked, but $2 million was raised,
which in the early ’90s was a non-trivial
amount of money. And this building was purchased. I think Harvard and Jeanne
and Gary had their eye on it. It was purchased. It was gutted. If you’d looked at any of
the materials around the room and in your booklet, it
was completely gutted. It was a former factory and
rehabbed into the facility which you see now. There was a big dedication. Mayor Flynn presided. The state legislators were here. Dean Clark was here. It was quite something. And if you have
time, look at some of the materials in
the room because you will see the invitation to that
and some photographs associated with it. This booklet, which was
published 10 years out, tells the story of the
founding in more detail than I’m going to go into. And it as well is over there. So that was the party,
and then the hard work began– the hard
work of collaboration because this was not just
about a piece of real estate. It was about trying
to create a new model. And I’m not quite sure,
because I wasn’t involved in the conversations,
who led on that issue, whether it was Gary and
Jeanne or Jack and John. My guess is it was probably
both of them, both sets. But the idea came about. Well, maybe there
would be an opportunity for the lawyers at Hale
and Dorr to participate in the life of the Center by
being supportive of the teams that existed here at the time. Now, this was an
innovative notion to take a major law
school that was doing this community-based
lawyering at a place not on its main campus, and
they were going to link up with this big law firm. And we were going to put these
two very different universes together to take care
of low-income clients in a collaborative fashion. So a lot of time was spent
listening to one another, figuring out how we could
work effectively together. I think there were some
questions raised about, could we work
effectively together? Because it was very
much of a grand idea. And as we all know, there
are a lot of grand ideas that die, aborting because
they’re not implemented well. And I think this
one was implemented well because of the extent of
the listening that went on, and the understanding of the
needs of the different parties that were brought to the table. So as it played out– and I got involved in the
administration of this probably 10 years after the
events I’m talking about– there started to be a regular
flow of people coming here, doing various things. And there began to be a flow
of cases coming to the firm where the Center said,
we have a matter. We either can’t do it or
we don’t have the resources where we can handle it. Would you take this
as a pro bono case? Or in many, many
other matters, it was a partnership where we
were going to be co-counsel. And there were then several
lawyers, one of whom is in the room, who
were secunded here for a period of time at
a stage in their career where they wanted to do this. So there was a lot of
innovative thinking about how to make this
relationship one that would be rich on both sides
and most importantly, take care of the clients for
whom one plus one equalled four, as
far as we could tell. My involvement
was to really deal with the intake of the cases. There were conflicts that had
to be resolved, obviously, on both sides. I had to make sure the
staffing was right on our end, that the supervision was
there, and that there was a good line of communication
between the lawyers at the Center and the
lawyers at our place. And of course, there
would be transition at both where we had to make
sure that the clients were handled correctly. AUDIENCE: How did you address
the institutional conflicts for your firm, with the
firm’s own clients who felt threatened in
some way by the work that the lawyers were doing
in connection with the clinic? Because that presumably
had to be managed. The banks or the
hospitals or whoever the institutional clients
of Hale and Dorr were, there must have been
some PR or some effort to manage those conflicts. JACK REGAN: Well, there
were two kinds of conflicts implicit in your question. Legal conflict,
where we couldn’t do the case because we
either represented somebody on the other side– AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] conflict. JACK REGAN: OK. That’s what I
think, in our world, we’d call a business
conflict, in other words, somebody who was coming
forward with a case which created a business issue. And there was a committee
which would look at that. And in certain
instances, we said, we can’t do the case
because the business issue is so pressing, it creates
problems for the clients that we just can’t work through. There were other matters where
we would say to the client, we’re going to do the case. So there was no universal,
per se, way to handle that. Every case was looked
at individually. At the time, there was
a conflicts committee which addressed such things. But we did split it
just like you described, between legal conflicts
where we couldn’t do it. But actually, the
practice we had was not bank, insurance,
or hospital heavy. Our client base was
technology companies, so we had a lot less
of it than, dare I say, certain other firms in
town might have had because of their practice groups. I don’t recall a lot of that. There were issues later
on in the 2009 recession with the foreclosure work,
where there were certain issues presented that we couldn’t do. But what I remember most
was 90% of the cases that we were doing just
cleared, and off we went. So my job, as I
said, was to deal with the training, with the
staffing, and the supervision. And in addition to
doing pro bono cases, we also came out
and did trainings. So we came out here and did
sessions on expert depositions, on mediation, on
appellate argument, on electronic documents,
on document management, on a whole host of things where
we had a lot of expertise, and we certainly had
systems in place which could be used for the
benefit of this, the staff lawyers and clients here. So maybe I should now quickly
talk about just a couple of the specific areas
that we work with. MARTHA MINOW: I’m going to
interrupt for one minute. And I cold-call Jeanne? JEANNE CHARN: Sure. MARTHA MINOW:
[LAUGHS] And would you like to reflect at
all on the origin and/or this question
about conflicts? JEANNE CHARN: Yes. They were running through
my head as you spoke. Oh, sorry. I’ll stand up. I know that the
issue of conflicts was one on both sides. I just– I have to say that
I don’t recall a single time, and I’m sure I would
have known, that we had anything that wasn’t
resolved rather smoothly and whatever. It seems like that
would be a big issue, but it really wasn’t. There were some other very
interesting issues, though. I think both sides,
particularly the students, might have had ideas about
what corporate lawyers did and what legal aid lawyers did. And maybe some– we often were
working with a junior partner in the firm. A senior would know. And there were a
number of occasions, particularly when we started the
Transactional Clinic and Small Business Clinic which
Brian Price headed up, that we went to
Hale and Dorr where we got stuck on some
complicated issue we thought about
business management. And usually, we would get
the answer right away. But a couple of times, what
the partner at the firm or whoever we were
dealing with said was, that’s a really
interesting issue. And the idea was, there
are complicated issues out there in work
for small businesses and low-income clients. It’s not just simple,
and we get a lawyer, and it all goes through. And there was on the– I think on the legal
aid side of it, a much better understanding
about the commitment that many firms and
corporate lawyers make around legal services,
that it’s deep and genuine. And I think it was a key
phase in the development of the Center that Hale and
Dorr gave us this building and sponsored it. I will tell you that
Bob didn’t tell Gary and I anything about it. So you were negotiating
the terms of the donation. We had no idea that
it was happening. And he came home
one night and said, we’re going to
get a new building and they changed the
name of the program. [LAUGHTER] So we had to deal with
staff asking, what? But I think that was necessary
to the arrangement, and after– Gary knew John Hamilton. They were classmates. And I think that was a
critical part of the trust that was there from the beginning. JACK REGAN: This was all
way above my pay grade. [LAUGHTER] JEANNE CHARN: Well, it was
above mine, too, and Gary’s so– but it couldn’t have
turned out better. It couldn’t have
turned out better. So– JACK REGAN: Well– JEANNE CHARN: Thank you. JACK REGAN: Let me ask a
couple of my colleagues who went through this as well. Rob, do you want
to say anything? ROB TUCHMAN: I do
real estate work, so I was very much aware of
the potential for conflicts. But in fact, the firm
didn’t represent any banks. If we did, we would
do construction loans or permit loans on office
buildings, things of that sort. So that that was not an issue. And especially if we
represented an individual who was getting a loan from
a bank, they would waive it. They didn’t have
a problem with it. If there was a substantive
lawsuit being brought which was going to
set the law, that would be a different story. And then we would talk
about it at the firm. And if there was a conflict,
we would refer it out to another firm. And they would happily
take it because we have lots of other firms
that we deal with a lot, and we trade cases around
for just that reason. So it sounds like a big problem. JACK REGAN: How
about your work here? ROB TUCHMAN: But it wasn’t. I did– I was here for about
five years– first half of it here, and then half of
it at the Law School. And started with what was
called the Community Enterprise Project, which I took
over from Vin McCarthy. And then it transformed into
the Transactional Law Clinic when it went to Cambridge. And there were some fascinating
and wonderful things that we did for the
community, for individuals. And it was fascinating. I loved it. And I think the students
really– a magical moment when I would be
working with somebody and they finally understood
that, as the lawyer for the client, they
were going to have to make the transaction
happen, or they were going to have
to get the result, and that they couldn’t
wait for somebody to say, now you do the next thing,
and now you do this. And it was just so
exciting as the realization of what lawyering
involved, to watch that happen as people matured. It was wonderful. JACK REGAN: Hugh, do you
want to add something? What you did? HUGH JONES: I was on a committee
that dealt with the conflicts from time to time. We were very, very careful
about communication so that cases that appeared to
be controversial or potentially controversial over
here at the Clinic would be kept and
handled in a way so that none of the
lawyers in the firm would have the information that
could constitute a conflict. And I remember
with great delight, I had a client turned
out to be of mine that ran into a
piece of legislation of landlord-tenant rights. And they were very upset when
they heard that Hale and Dorr had drafted the legislation. I was able, with great
delight, to point out that though Hale
and Dorr was only the first part of the name,
it was the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center. [LAUGHTER] And they had drafted
the legislation, and our firm had virtually
nothing to do with it. And so we were
careful about that. We were fortunate. As others have said, we didn’t
have the kind of practice that generated a lot of conflicts. But I’ll take this
occasion to say that in terms of
partnerships, this became a cultural thing in a
very interesting way to me. I had always been
interested in pro bono work and such as the head the
firm, with a tradition of pro bono work. But as time went on, it not
only was a great deal of fun to come over here as
I did as an instructor and see the students grow
and be reassured about why they’d gone to law school– some of them needed
reassurance– and to see them
gain in confidence. But on the other
side of State Street, it was interesting to see– the Center became a
very prestigious factor in my personal view. And so to be asked to
teach here or to take cases became a matter of real
pride within Hale and Dorr. And I think this was the magic. Obviously, we had two leaders in
Jack and John who set the tone, but it was very interesting. And younger lawyers were
really excited to get involved and fulfilled
when they did get involved. And so I would just say
in terms of partnership, above and beyond the
technical aspects was the cultural aspect. JACK REGAN: Mm-hmm. Rich? RICH JOHNSTON: When
I was at Harvard, there was no Legal
Services Center, but there was a Jeanne Charn. And I think Duncan Kennedy’s
two semesters of contracts made me survive the
first year of law school. But the second
year of law school, it was Jeanne’s course
on trial practice or whatever it was then called
that made me think that law school was maybe salvageable. And it was designed
to help people help low-income residents. And it was mostly focused
around landlord-tenant law. And while there wasn’t
a Legal Services Center, the program arranged for
us to work with small law firms supervised
by lawyers who were affiliated with the course. And so when later
on, after I started practicing at Hale
and Dorr, there became an opportunity
for collaboration with Gary and Jeanne
and the Center, it was pretty much a
no-brainer that I would want to get
involved in it if I could. And so I began supervising
individual cases here– mostly landlord-tenant,
but as Robert mentioned, there were a few other
miscellaneous kinds of cases, too. And I stayed involved
for a number of years as the sort of litigation
liaison person. So if there were different
kinds of litigation cases that came into the firm, I
would find somebody to do them. And I also, I think,
oversaw folks from other– or coordinated with folks
from other departments who would supervise the cases
that came in in other genre. And then, after Hugh was
a full-time resident here, and then after Rob was a
full time resident here, and they both stopped
working at the firm, I volunteered to work. Not as mu– they had
done it full time. I couldn’t do it full
time because I still had a heavy case load that
I wanted to finish up. But I worked with Robert in his
[INAUDIBLE] Center for about 2 and 1/2 or three years,
working on some manuals on access to health care that
I supervised students on. And I should mention that one
of the associates from the firm, Lauren Parisi, has come
up here from Washington because she was so excited
about working on projects here. In any event, we also worked
on some litigation matters, including an amicus
brief in the ACA case that found the ACA
constitutional, which Mark Fleming of WilmerHale
did a lot of the work on. And Lauren and I also
helped out a little bit. So I have to say that,
looking back on law school, none of this was foreordained
from my second year in law school that the Clinic
would ever exist or that would ever
become this supportive and this important in the
life of low-income people, and also in the life of law
students at the Law School. But I have to say that at
Harvard Law School, when I was a lonely and unhappy
second-year law student, I probably would’ve been
a whole lot happier. [LAUGHTER] JACK REGAN: Belinda, maybe you
could make the last comment. Then we’ll give it back. BELINDA JURAN: Sure. So I’m a transactional
attorney, as Jack said. And I’ve had many touchpoints
with the Legal Services Center and the Transactional
Law Clinical Program over the years, starting
with being a second-year law student doing the Community
Enterprise Project Clinical Program during the fall of 1996. It was an externship,
so it wasn’t based here at the Legal Services Center. But I worked with
the ICA group, which was the Industrial Cooperative
Association that supported employee-owned businesses. And I did a lot of the
corporate kinds of work because I knew I would
never be a litigator. But even then, the connection
to the Legal Services Center was key because the
classroom work was done here at the Legal Services Center. And I got to understand
the community and all of the other programs
going on here. But the connection
to then Hale and Dorr was also really important. My supervisor was
Jorge Contreras, then a junior partner at the firm. And that fall semester,
I was interviewing for summer placements
after my 2L year, and John Hamilton
interviewed me on campus. And we spent the
entire 20 minutes talking about law firm culture. And that’s what made me
understand how important and what a great place
Hale and Dorr was. And I was fortunate enough
to go there and have had the opportunity
over the years to come to the Legal
Services Center and to work with Linda
Cole and Brian Price at the Transactional Law Clinic. So I think the connections
and the partnership between the firm and the Law
School and the Services Center are really strong still. MARTHA MINOW: Thank you. So should we talk
about challenges? It’s all been very happy. [LAUGHTER] Let’s talk about
some challenges. Who wants to talk
about challenges? Toby? TOBY MERRILL: I brought
some challenges. [LAUGHTER] BRANDON GERMAN: Me too. TOBY MERRILL: So
principally, two challenges I want to talk about–
maybe 2 and 1/2. I think, as anyone who has
looked at the history of law and any movements or
organizing has seen, the dynamics that can
occur and in particular, the many, many cases where
law and the practice of law tends to strip power
from organizing. And one way that this has
come up in the partnership that I’m talking about
with Debt Collective is in student loan issues with
predatory for-profit colleges, there’s not a natural
occasion to be in court unless the students find a way
to force themselves into court. So people aren’t
getting arrested for being in the wrong
place at the wrong time. And they’re not– I mean, Massachusetts is a
non-judicial foreclosure state, but they’re not going
to court to keep their houses unless
they’re affirmatively going to court again. And so for us, there
wasn’t an obvious moment when these claims
of the students who were organizing to cancel
all of this bogus debt would be in court. And on one hand, I
think that people across the country rightfully
felt, I have a legal claim. I’m being forced to pay. I’m being deprived
of my property on a cause that’s not valid,
and this is a wrong that the law is committing against me. And so I should be
heard in a court because that’s how people
think about it, right? It’s law and it goes to court. But it’s actually really hard
to get those claims into court. Even the debt collection
of federal student loans doesn’t happen in courts. And so of course, we bring
cases and we go to court. But to the extent
that any of the energy or power of organizing is
coming out of that opportunity to be in court
and to speak truth to power to make rights heard,
it wasn’t frequent enough. It wasn’t geographically
diverse enough. We weren’t in 100 courts
around the country, and we weren’t even in
court 100 times a year. We aren’t in court 100
times a year anywhere or everywhere combined. And so we can’t have a
model where we’re providing some steam to organizers. And on the other
hand, people can’t be waiting for that to bring
their claims together and be thinking about how
to make change. And I think that we
work best as a support to people who are pursuing
bigger ideas than things you could undertake with just law. But of course, people call
us all the time, members of Debt Collective from
across the country and say, can you take my case? Can you take this to court? Can you solve this
problem with a lawsuit? Usually the answer is no, for
a whole variety of reasons. But to try to turn that no
into something that can power organizing instead
of deflate it has been a big challenge
and something that we’ve thought a lot
about and worked a lot on. The other issue–
and I was worried that this one was
going to be too wonky, but since we spent so much
time talking about conflicts, I think we’re there. I think this crowd is– [LAUGHTER] –with us– is that the
rules of professional conduct and in general,
legal ethics, don’t seem to me to be designed
for people trying to use the law to make change. And in fact, seem
to be put together to inhibit that sort of change. And so that comes
up in everything from some of the conflict
issues we were talking about. But really, I’m
thinking principally about unauthorized
practice rules, and also, to a certain
extent, confidentiality right. If you’re working with
a large group of people who are working with
each other, and you want to be a facilitator,
even if you are not yourself an organizer, I
think both of those canons can really be destructive. And so that’s another
challenge that we’ve faced is how to obviously,
perform our work well within the confines of the
rules of professional conduct and the norms of
professional ethics without bowing to the idea that
really, some of these notions are not applicable in the
context that we’re working in, or exist but are harmful. And so how do we fight
against that, of course, without behaving in
any unethical way? The third problem
that I just wanted to [INAUDIBLE] because
I think it might be part of a future
part of this panel is, relationships are
about trust, right? All these partnerships
have people at both ends who trust each other. And I think we have
a really diffuse– Debt Collective has a really
diffuse membership base, and we have a relationship with
members who are everywhere. And I think that makes it
harder for our students to build those
relationships, more so than if there was a meeting
they could go to or a place they could be. And I think it’s also
harder for the organizers at Debt Collective to
feel strong relationships to our students. They’re based in New York. And so that’s just another
challenge [INAUDIBLE].. MARTHA MINOW: Brandon, do you
want to talk about a challenge? BRANDON GERMAN: Sure. Many, many challenges in terms
of organizing in the work that came out of this partnership. One is just the
work never stops. The funding– you need
a lot more lawyers dedicated to this
work because as long as neighborhoods
continue to gentrify, you’re going to have
people displaced. And neighborhoods look
attractive to people with higher incomes. And when they come
in, when they move in, the residents who
are there, once they get evicted or kicked out, they
can’t afford to live there. So the problem was just shift. And so as an organizer, and
as the City Life and LSC partnership want radical change. And so if we don’t
address that, we’ll continue to have these
challenges of displacement. And of course, funding,
it’s always very difficult to have funding to do this work. Sometimes, like in
our project, it’s over when the funding stops. And so there needs to
be more funding for– and legal services in general
so lawyers can do this work and make society a fairer place. We don’t continue to
have these problems of marginalized communities. And so those are some
of the major challenges. And like I said earlier, just– you don’t win every case. When the judge
rules from the bench and it doesn’t go your way,
it’s always a challenge. However, you are
empowered when you fight. So you never– there are
never really any losses in terms of our
partnership because you win because you build a
community, you’re educated and you help others. But the real challenge
is that it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop. And as long as people come
into gentrified neighborhoods, it will continue. So that’s one of the
major challenges. MARTHA MINOW: All right. So I am the Vice Chair of the
Legal Services Corporation, another LSC which the
president of the United States would like to
defund, which he has third time introduced a proposal
to eliminate all the money. I am not allowed to
advocate for any money. I’d just like to say– [LAUGHTER] BRANDON GERMAN: Please vote. Can you encourage
people to vote? MARTHA MINOW: It is
ironic that it’s still the Obama-appointed board that
is running this organization. Because along with
wanting to close it down, the president also doesn’t have
it is a very high priority. So it’s the Obama
board, and we were last year able to secure
$25 million more than we had the year before. So it turns out that people
understand exactly what you’re saying, that people
who have lived in communities for a long
time are being pushed out, and it’s not fair. And this is true
across the country. And you go and you talk
to people on the Hill. And you point out these
stories, and they get it. And they get it in Red states
because actually, the Red states are even more
dependent on these services than the blue states–
not that I know anything about partisanship. So Nnena? NNENA ODIM: So I’m ditto
what Brandon was saying. It was one of the top on
my list, which is funding. Resources, resources, resources. Family law and I think housing
law are the two areas of law that have the most unmet need. And family law, domestic
violence, it’s not sexy. People don’t want to pay for it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s disturbing. It’s ugly. So we don’t get people
clamoring down to give us money to solve this problem. So I think that runs
across legal services. And there’s so much competition. Because there’s so
much unmet need– Greater Boston Legal Services,
Worcester Legal Services– everybody’s clamoring
for the same money. And it’s just not there. One of the things
I think I mentioned earlier was, in terms of
challenges with partnerships, is trying to match
the interests. And as we try to kind
of adapt and address the issues that
come up, it’s trying to figure out with
your partner where to allot the meager
funds that we have and how to make changes. For instance, in the domestic
violence, the Passageway program, do we keep
doing what we’re doing and do more of what we’re
doing because it will never stop, and just keep it up? Or do we keep doing
a little bit of that, and then take some time and
resources to also address the housing issue and
domestic violence, or the consumer law
problem and consumer debt problem in domestic violence? And trying to figure
out that dance with your partner as to
where that sweet spot is for how to expand and how
to grow in that sense. I think another thing is just– it’s pretty macro,
but I remember, especially when the
Collaborative was just starting, was figuring
out some of the conflicts and the confidentiality issues,
and what kind of releases and things that we need
because we’re talking about very fact-specific cases. And if we’re working
really closely with non-lawyers, the
advocates at Passageways, how much information
do we share with them? How do we share
that information? How do they share
information with us? And then one very,
very kind of specific is the fact that
as social workers, they are mandated reporters. MARTHA MINOW: Reporters. Yeah. NNENA ODIM: Right? We’re not. We’re just the opposite
of mandated reporters. And figuring out
how to do our work collaboratively
with our partner, when we may not be able
to share information with them that might be helpful
for them, or vice-versa. So that was something. And obviously, we
still deal with that now because the
collaboration is still going. So those are the ones that
just come to mind very, very quickly. And I think I would just as
end with saying resources, resources, resources. And if we can find a way to
at least get more resources, we can certainly do
some more expansion and address some of the needs
that come up every single day. MARTHA MINOW: Yes? We have to get you
a mic somewhere. It’s coming. JACK REGAN: It’s coming. MARTHA MINOW: Here it is. Here it is. AUDIENCE: Oh, OK. I want to talk about
legal education. So this has been
running around the back of my head for a long time. And it is, as career
path education– we thought in the late
1970s that we were going to become like Britain. They have an entitlement
to civil legal aid. All the peer nations
that we have– Canada– have an entitlement
to civil legal aid. So we needed to train people
to move into those positions. Well, it turned out
that’s not what was going to happen in the United States. But it was this idea
of, where were the jobs? Where would people go? Where would they want to go? And could the third
year have a focus that I think it’s
never had before. It’s like, it’s the last year. You cross-register. You hang out. I had students who wouldn’t
do clinic because they said, I’m never going to have
any free time again. I play the cello. I’m going to go to
concerts, and I’m going to do my music
because I’m not going to have any life for
the next couple of years. So the underlying question
is, what about the things you would do in an
office like this are skills that transfer
to whatever line of work. So we partly started the
Transactional Clinic because– we one time did a low-income
tax credit, very complicated. We got help from Hale
and Dorr on it, I know. If we did low-income housing
tax credits for not-for-profits, would that be a helpful
thing for someone coming in as a first-year
associate at a firm? Lots of our students go there. But what would be helpful
to someone who was really headed for legal aid? And could we have more
connection between career advising and clinics? This may be– well,
think what you want. I’m 74, and I’ll sa– [LAUGHTER] I think– I think– I think– [LAUGHTER] Martha, we’re in the same boat. [INTERPOSING VOICES] AUDIENCE: I’m not director. [LAUGHTER] ROBERT GREENWALD:
Give us back the mike. No, she’s [INAUDIBLE]. JEANNE CHARN: I think
pro bono has been a problem, the culture
of pro bono in schools. Because if it’s good works,
then we stop the conversation. We’re not strategic. We don’t think of it in business
terms, because it’s pro bono. And I think what’s
going on in firms is first-year associates aren’t
doing doc review anymore. I don’t know what you do with
the first-year associates now, but part of what they might do– I could imagine a
partnership where if someone was interested in
going into the real estate firm and we didn’t have enough
room, we could get real estate transactions for you
here, homeowners, small businesses maybe
representing not-for-profits with bigger deals. The idea is that firms
would have a place, legal aid might have
a place if you’re looking for the third
year as more of a pipeline and focusing some
of the development or giving clinical
education a focus. The research behind
it that we should do is the nature of
complex expertise. So there’s a body of
research out there which Gary cited in the
learning process book– what is the difference
between a novice chess player and a master? And the answer is
that their brains organize all the information
that comes in differently. It gets chunked, and the
only way to get there is through experience. You can’t talk about it. You have to do it. You have to be
immersed in a field and see example after example,
variations on a theme. And that’s why an experienced– Jeff just said to me today. I don’t recall– Jeff Selbin. One of the things
about you and housing was you would hear three
things about the case and you would tell
us what it was about. I couldn’t help it. I mean, that’s because I’d
done about 200 by then. And we are working in
a particular economy with a peculiar demographic. So once all of that stuff
is part of what you know, in this world, you don’t
know that you know it. You just know it. It feels like you don’t
know that you know it. But you can’t get it
from a book and you can’t get it from a classroom. And I think we haven’t thought
enough about the responsibility of educators to better
understand that process and to build it in. And it seems to me like the
third year is, you know– or at least the
second or third year. And that would promote
partnerships with firms, with maybe small practices. There are small
law practices that are looking for good lawyers
to train every now and then. You’d be interested
in every setting. And then think of
the research that we could do if we were
involved in all of those settings about
the business of law as it’s actually functioning
and under unbelievable pressures to change. I mean, my students write me
papers on this for my Legal Profession courses. I take 60 a semester, so I
get 120 good papers a year on what’s going on with the bar. And I just think we’re
not ahead of it, we’re not talking about it, and that
that dimension has something to do with all of these others. And this place is still
situated in a very good position to begin to take some
steps along those lines. MARTHA MINOW: Great, that’s– [AUDIO OUT] –from Jeanne to say a
word about legal education. I mean, this center and the
whole movement, frankly, of clinical education as
it was prefigured here has now taken fire in the
legal education community. So experiential education
is now mandated. People don’t always
know what it means. It doesn’t always include
actual service to actual people, so that’s an ongoing fight. But I think that your
insight, Jeanne, is absolutely now widely shared, that
there’s professional learning, there’s practiced learning
that is only done by doing it and ideally by doing
it in a reflective context, which is not always
possible once you graduate. And the partnership
theme of this panel is so perfect to be
able to reflect on, what does it take to
build a partnership, how do you invest
in it sufficiently? So I think that the time
is ripe for actually building out on this model. I think that the
third-tier question– you know, when President
Obama said an offhand remark in an interview while he
was still in office– eh, you don’t need three
years of law school, I thought to myself, did he
take my class third year? [LAUGHTER] But you know, the
fact is there is enough time in three
years of law school to learn a lot of other
stuff and certainly to provide some real services. And that’s what this,
I think, represents. This model is so exciting. I think the link to firms,
and the link to businesses, and the link to other players,
the link to hospitals, we should be doing much more
innovation of that nature. There’s no question about that. And also, let’s be frank. The medical profession
made progress when it switched from
the world of well, we’re just an art, we
don’t know how to study it, to actually studying it, and
retrospectively, and having evidence-based practices. We are still in
the infancy when it comes to that in law generally
and in legal education. And clinics have the
opportunity to develop the systemic approach. Brandon’s using that word,
“the systemic approach,” so that you don’t just see one
after another after another. You see patterns and
the pattern recognition. So I still think there’s
great possibility there and to build partnerships
then inside of a university with the social scientists
who are looking for projects. So there’s a lot of work
that remains to be done. There’s some prefiguring of
that, some early stages of it. But that’s my two cents. We were supposed to continue our
conversation about challenges and also turn to students. I’m going to try to ask each of
you to say at least three words or more about students
before we end. But are there comments,
questions from anyone else who hasn’t
spoken who wants to? AUDIENCE: Yeah, my
name’s Toni Hicks. I was– SPEAKER 3: And there’s
a mike coming your way. SPEAKER 4: Toni
Hicks, class of ’99. I was hoping that perhaps
the panel could address some of the tricky dynamics at
the front end of partnerships, where the agenda gets set, where
the decision-making power is located. Nnena, I was really
encouraged to hear about how it wasn’t
the lawyers who ended up deciding what kind of
cases your program would bring. I can’t help but think
that maybe the exception– I think often public
interest lawyers are coming into a model– we come into a model where
the lawyers have the answers or think they have
the answers, and then want to partner with communities
or community groups who seem to fit our
understanding of a problem as opposed to developing our
understanding of the problem through the relationship
with the community groups. MARTHA MINOW: Sarah’s nodding. Do you want to say something? SARAH BOONIN: I mean, yeah. I guess I’ll just say that
I think the flexibility of the Legal Services Center– [AUDIO OUT] –and the commitment
of the Legal Services Center to the community and
the client was pivotal in hat. I mean, when we started
the Passageway Health Law Collaborative, what we
thought the clients needed was simply not what it
ended up that they needed. And I remember sitting in
Robert’s office and saying, I don’t think– and
I was originally housed in your practice area. And I remember week
one, I’m a new lawyer. I’m a Skadden fellow. And I say, Robert, I
don’t think this is what it’s going to look like. And it was– I mean, OK, well then,
where do we need to be? Where do you need to be? Nnena took me
under her wing, not having known that she was
going to have a newbie, useless lawyer to train. I think that very much
the mindset of the center and the flexibility of
it, which is a luxury, allowed the collaboration
to be as flexible as it was and as responsive as it was. But I think that tension
is ever more present, where there aren’t
the same resources, and the same genesis, and the
same philosophy of experiment and flexibility. It’s a unique place. ROBERT GREENWALD: Yeah. I just would add that it’s
been interesting from the years of direct service
work, where I think the center’s a very
client-centered place, that to now having shifted
to policy work, I think what also
makes us unique in the policy world is that we
are still very client-centered. So for example,
we do lots of work in the Southeast
United States, where health inequities are greatest. And we’ll sometimes have
ideas as to why we’re going and who we’re going to meet. We’ve now worked with
broad groups of people with chronic and serious
health conditions as to what the issues are. And we come back with work
that is not anything that was on our list when we got there. And I think that that is
real and that’s what we do. The other thing
I would say– you mentioned the medical piece. That I think we’re also starting
to realize the importance in the way that the health world
has about social determinants of health, for example. And I think that when now we
are working with the people that we’re working with and the
clients that we’re serving– and this is on
the policy space– that we really have to
figure out much more than we would ordinarily do. So in my center, for example,
next door to the Legal Services Center is Community Servings. Community Servings provides
medically tailored meals to folks that are
homebound, unable to cook. They also started as an
HIV program like we do. Now it’s hundreds of
thousands of meals to people. But they’re running
out of money, because there’s
no funding stream. There was an HIV
funding stream, but not a funding stream more broadly. And literally, in the parking
lot talking to David Waters, saying to him, I’m going
to help you fix that and we are going to fix that. And now part of our
center, we represent the Food Is Medicine
providers across the country. We have helped them figure out
how to get Medicaid, Medicare, dual demonstration, tens
of millions of dollars to support their work. And so I think that there
is a huge role for lawyers to really listen and have
the work that they’re working on defined by the
community in the same way that when we did day-to-day
direct legal service work, it was defined by
the clients we serve. MARTHA MINOW: This is
the most important topic. And each of the
panelists are now going to say four or five words
about what you hope students are getting as an opportunity. But the most important
point is this is in service of actual
people in actual communities. And therefore, the
definition of the needs– the partnerships need to be in
service of those people, which means they have to be at the
table participating and shaping what it is. Four words? Five words? BRANDON GERMAN: Sure. I would say growth. You know, working
with the students and having them
come to City Life and just be a part of
the partnership is just growth for the students. They come in with an open mind. They don’t come in
with the answers, but they’re willing to learn. And over the course
of time, they realize that the legal
work is not always the answer, but the
grassroots, the protest often wins the battle. However, you can’t have
one without the other. MARTHA MINOW: All right. [LAUGHTER] Next. Nnena. [LAUGHTER] BRANDON GERMAN:
Yeah, this is it. MARTHA MINOW: Good. NNENA ODIM: We’ve heard
a lot of these words throughout the whole
day, but the experiential learning that the students
get, the fact that they’re working with real
clients, and helping to solve real problems, the
self-reflection that we do here I think is instrumental, so
that they understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. We’ve been doing a lot of
things for a long time. And in order to make sure
that we’re doing it correctly, we need fresh ideas,
we need fresh folks coming in and looking
with fresh eyes to be very critical about
what it is that we’re doing. MARTHA MINOW: Great. Robert? ROBERT GREENWALD: I would
just say, at the start of everyone’s career, I think– I don’t care if firm, legal
services, wherever you go– get some direct
service experience because I think it really
does inform anything that you do after that
if you take in what that experience was truly like. And then for me, I
would say law schools and folks need to
also be thinking about the role that policy
plays and the role that lawyers can play in helping
to shape policy. And I think we both hold those
things really importantly. MARTHA MINOW: Jack? JACK REGAN: I would just point
to page 12 of the pamphlet that’s on your chairs. [LAUGHTER] There’s a paragraph or two
in there about a case handled by the Veterans Legal Clinic in
which two students brilliantly and successfully argued
a very important motion before the Massachusetts
Superior Court. Won it. The case appeared on page
one of The Boston Globe. It is now on appeal
as of Monday. And it had to do with several
veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq who had
honorable enlistment periods for their first
one or two periods. And their final
period in the military ended with a less
than honorable– other than honorable
discharge, which, in the view of the Commonwealth,
precluded them from receiving a $500 welcome home bonus. They represent a
class of 4,000 people. And for those two
students to have, because of this center,
that kind of an experience and to just– when I say knock
it out of the park, I thought they’d been
practicing five or 10 years. That’s how good they were. MARTHA MINOW: Wow. JACK REGAN: And the judge
congratulated both of them and, of course, the other
side at the end of it. But it just said to me the
power of the education that happens through this place. MARTHA MINOW: Awesome. Toby. TOBY MERRILL: I
want our students to carry on the revolution. And so I think they need
two things for that. And one is tools. And two is to see
where the power is. And so that’s what I think that
this partnership helps them do. MARTHA MINOW: Awesome. Join me in thanking this panel. [APPLAUSE] And now– JACK REGAN: OK, good work. MARTHA MINOW: –Julie
McCormack will tell us everything we need to know. JULIE MCCORMACK: Thank you. So today has been about
many things, right, as we contemplate this big,
beautiful, messy, [INAUDIBLE].. BRANDON GERMAN: Oh, thank you. It was great. You were great. It was great. JULIE MCCORMACK: –that is
the Legal Services Center. And you’ll get a
different answer no matter who you ask
about what today was about. And that answer
is going to change as we think about the
people we’ve heard from and what we’ve heard from them. But considering who
we are, the one thing that you won’t
argue with me about is that today was about words. I mean, look at who we are– a room full of people
engaged in the enterprise not just of law but
at the intersection of law and education, right? The say, see, do model
and then the three ways that we talk about the
say, see, do model. So lots and lots of words. We give Jeanne a
hard time, actually, and we describe her not as a
woman of few words, but hey, she’s not the only one. [LAUGHTER] So we’ve heard so
many words today, words that have
resonated to connect us, words that have again
fanned that spark, the smoldering embers
that brought us all here in the first place. Words of challenge from Jeanne,
from all of our panelists. Words of tremendous
optimism and uplift as we contemplate what
exactly it is our work is capable of doing. And then words of power,
muscle, and flex, as we saw reflected in the partnerships
that were forged through here. So I’m not sure I’m
going to pull this off, but these are the words
of the new vernacular, like the hashtag #connect,
the hashtag, what was it, #spark, hashtag
#uplift, hashtag #flex. And those are the
words of our stories, the words of the stories
that we told here. And so I am honored,
actually, to be offering a [NON-ENGLISH] of my own to add
to the words that you’ve heard. No, I did not swear. That was not a– [LAUGHTER] Although I do frequently. But that’s a phrase,
actually, that is a favorite of Irish
fathers at weddings. And it means a few words. And in the context of those
weddings, it’s rarely a few and often involves
way more than words. I will not be
breaking into song. But as the dean said,
I’m Julie McCormack and I direct our Safety
Net Project here. And I was hired by Gene and
Gary in 1994 to do and teach– again, to borrow another
phrase from the old country– work that is often considered
the red-headed stepchild of public interest law,
that work being partnering with students and our clients
to provide representation, challenging the denials of
food, income, and health care by very bureaucratic,
very indifferent, very unaccountable
bureaucracies. But that was not the case here,
has never been the case here. I have never been the
redheaded stepchild here, because Gary Bellow loved
a good Social Security case almost as much as he
loved a good housing case. And let’s be clear about
the definition of “good.” Good is as hard a case as
you could possibly imagine. And those were the
cases that Gary relished and that he taught me to relish. The other thing
that Gary loved– I’m going to put my
notes down here– was a pencil. A good, old-fashioned,
humble, elegant, easily deployed
implement perfectly adequate to the task of words. The good, old-fashioned pencil. And that pencil that Gary was
never too far from– in fact, there’s some of his pencils
in the back right there– has come to symbolize for me
what the essence of the Legal Services Center is. And so my final words– I’m going to draw your attention
to these wonderful 40th anniversary WilmerHale
Legal Services Center 40th anniversary pencils. And I’m going to remind you
of the words of Congressman Kennedy, my plant from
the earlier panel, and thank you from the
very bottom of my heart for being here with us
as we sharpen our pencils and we get the
WilmerHale Legal Services Center ready for what the next
iteration will look like as we, in the words of
Gary’s grandmother, “endeavor to make
what we find better.” So thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

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