Emily Inouye is 3L at HLS where she is a founding member of and currently serves as the co-president of the Law & International Development Society. Her work has focused largely on serving women and children victims of violence and expanding access to justice for vulnerable populations. During her first year summer she worked in Bolivia serving victims of sexual violence through policy reform and direct representation. She has also conducted research in Timor-Leste on access to justice programs, and more recently, she has been working with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice on expanding pro bono legal services in Latin America, particularly on behalf of women.
This semester, she has been volunteering with the WLA Courtwatch Domestic Violence Pilot Program, and through the Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice Clinical, she has been working on a variety of issues related to human trafficking, prostitution and domestic violence, issues in which she plans to continue to work upon graduation. She is a member of the Board of Student Advisors and worked in the past as an Executive Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and as a member of the HLS Advocates for Human Rights Board.
Rajan Sonik is a 2L from California. In the future, he hopes to help deliver integrated medical, social, and legal services to low-income children with chronic illnesses. To this end, he advocates for a variety of low-income clients. As a team leader with the Domestic Violence Institute, Rajan assists newly self-identified survivors of domestic violence in the emergency department of Boston Medical Center to safety plan, access shelters and counseling, and obtain restraining orders. As an student attorney and hearing coordinator for PLAP, Rajan represents inmates and trains other students. As the policy coordinator for PLAP, he has collaborated with community organizations to challenge solitary confinement procedures and shared the PLAP model with advocates in Louisiana. At the Medical-Legal Partnership Boston and the Disability Law Clinic, Rajan advocated for low-income clients with disabilities from the administrative to federal district court levels. In the Education Clinic, Rajan helps traumatized children obtain appropriate education services. This work builds off the commitment to public service he developed through mentoring teenagers with sickle cell disease while in college. Rajan still mentors several young adults, and he hopes to help bring about effective change for these youth.
Claire Valentin is a 3L with a strong commitment to immigrant and worker rights. As a 2L, Claire was the Detention Project Coordinator for Harvard Immigration Project (HIP). In this role, she organized and participated in visits to immigration detention centers, conducting intake interviews with detainees eligible for relief from deportation. Through this project, HLS students provided over 100 hours of pro bono service. In her third year, as President of HIP, Claire has worked with 1L students and community activists affiliated with the Student Immigrant Movement to develop a Know-Your-Rights Presentation for undocumented students. She has also worked on advocacy around the DREAM Act, helped organize a boycott of Upper Crust Pizza out of concern for their employment practices, and developed a proposal for an immigration-related SPO. Moreover, Claire has served as a 1L OPIA Rep, Co-chair of the Student Public Interest Network, and member of the Clinical Advisory Board.
During her 2L summer Claire worked at the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, assisting with litigation challenging Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law. Her 1L summer she worked at Georgia Legal Services Farmworker Project in Atlanta, representing documented migrant workers. She has also worked at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic.
Jean Marie Brescia (’85)
Jean Marie Brescia, HLS ‘85, serves the community and public interest as an attorney, public servant, volunteer, and teacher. After graduating from law school, Jean Marie’s work as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell included pro bono litigation involving educational rights of homeless children. From 1988-1994, she was a staff attorney for the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City and then an associate appellate attorney in the Juvenile Rights Division. From 1995 to the present, Jean Marie has been a State-certified impartial hearing officer in proceedings involving the special education rights of students with disabilities. Starting in 2003, Jean Marie has served as town justice for the Town of Mamaroneck, presiding over criminal, traffic, local ordinance, civil, small claims, and landlord/tenant matters. Starting in 2007, she has taught special education law and judicial externship courses at New York Law
School. Jean Marie served for several years on the Mamaroneck PTA, focusing much of her work on ensuring adequate provision of educational resources to English language learners and economically underprivileged children. The Legal Aid Society awarded Jean Marie its Pro Bono Service Award in 1996 for her work in the area of juvenile rights.
Cynthia Chandler (’95)
Cynthia Chandler (’95) is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Justice Now, a human rights organization mobilizing women in prison and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons. Cynthia has worked on issues of women’s heath, racial/reproductive justice and prison industrial complex abolition for over 20 years, beginning as a sex-worker rights activist. She speaks/publishes regularly on these topics. She is a social justice entrepreneur, having launched several preeminent organizations. Cynthia holds an MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.
Cynthia empowers constituencies as an allied attorney. She designed Justice Now with a governing board inclusive of people in prison. Recognizing her leadership development of imprisoned people, she was awarded a 2001 Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award. She was named a Top 30 Activist for Women’s Health by Women’s Health Activist Network.
Cynthia helped create the practice of compassionate release for people dying in prison, for which she was designated the 1997 Attorney to Whom California Can Be Most Grateful by California Law Business. Cynthia was awarded the 2010 Northeastern University School of Law a Gevelber Distinguished Lectureship on Public Interest Law. She currently teaches “Social Change Lawyering” at Golden Gate University School of Law.
Julie Jackson (’80)
Upon joining Tulane Law School in 1988, Julie Jackson accepted the opportunity to make Tulane the first law school in the nation to insure that all its students recognize the range of legal problems facing the under-served and respond to the need. Under the first mandatory pro bono program, all students provide legal assistance to those who otherwise could not afford it. Law students under her supervision have now contributed more than 225,000 pro bono hours. Most rewarding for her is being told by her students that their pro bono work was the most fulfilling part of their law school career, and that they intend to continue pro bono long after graduation. Not only in New Orleans, but around the globe her students make a difference by assisting attorneys and under-resourced organizations in addressing a range of needs, including domestic abuse, discrimination, human rights violations, home foreclosures, disaster recovery, and much more.
In addition to the pro bono program, she oversees the public service externship program. She teaches alternative dispute resolution, has served as a volunteer community mediator and implemented a small claims court arbitration program. Before attending HLS, she worked as a probation officer, where she first observed the dearth of legal assistance available to a large segment of the clientele. Following graduation from Harvard Law School she practiced labor and employment law before coming to Tulane.