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Social Justice Monday: 2017/18

Social Justice Monday is an organized, weekly series hosted by the Access to Justice Institute in partnership with students, student organizations, and other departments across the law school.

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April 16, 2018: Let’s Talk Bias: Can You Handle the Truth?

K. Joy Williams, WSBA Diversity and Public Service Programs Manager, discussed how implicit bias impacts individuals and institutions. The discussion included how the quiet influence of bias creates a barrier in navigating conflict and difficult conversations. Ms. Williams introduced strategies to interrupt active bias and techniques you can use to respond and recover when your own bias is interrupted.

K. Joy Williams (KJ) is the Diversity and Public Service Programs Manager for the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA). In this role, she provides strategic direction, thought leadership and advances the development of an inclusive legal profession. Ms. Williams works closely with the WSBA Board of Governors and executive staff. Ms. Williams is responsible for the formation and integration of WSBA’s Inclusion and equity strategy in support of its 40k members. Since assuming her role, Ms. Williams has established the WSBA as a strong advocate and supporter of inclusion, equity and access to justice in Washington’s legal profession. Ms. Williams led the process in the development and implementation of WSBA’s inaugural diversity and inclusion plan. The plan rests on the fundamental assumption that WSBA’s commitment to its own culture of inclusion and equity provides the best foundation for meaningful progress. This basic premise created by Ms. Williams is called working from the “Inside – Out”.

Ms. Williams holds a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Washington, and a Masters of Public Administration from Seattle University. Ms. Williams has served as member of the City of Seattle LGBT Commission, University of Washington School of Law Diversity Committee, and the Initiative for Diversity and currently serves on the Gates Selection and Scholarship Committee for the University of Washington School of Law. Ms. Williams is an alum and faculty for JustLead Washington’s Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

April 9, 2018: Sex Trafficking,, and the Communications Discovery Act

The website is a classified advertising website that came under scrutiny for their adult services subscription, which was removed on January 9, 2017. Specifically, has been accused of promoting prostitution and sex trafficking. Jason Amala ’05 discussed his recently settled lawsuit with after successfully arguing that knowingly developed a nationwide online marketplace for illicit commercial sex and generated millions of dollars of revenue each month. Additionally, this was the first lawsuit to defeat the website’s argument that they are immune from these types of lawsuits because of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Passed in the mid-‘90s, the CDA gives immunity to websites from lawsuits for content posted by third parties. This lawsuit was prominently featured in the documentary about online sex trafficking, “I Am Jane Doe”, which is available on Netflix or for rent on Amazon.

Jason P. Amala ‘05 has dedicated his law practice to representing individuals and businesses who have been victimized by others. His clients and cases span a diverse range, from helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse to representing employees and consumers injured by defective products. Over the past decade, Jason has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. He has also been one of the lead appellate lawyers on a number of important issues that have expanded the rights of his clients and others. Since 2010, Jason has been annually recognized as a “Rising Star” or “Superlawyer” by Washington Law and Politics. Jason grew-up in Salem, Oregon, but moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington Honors College. After graduating with distinction, he enrolled in the Seattle University School of Law, where he graduated second in his class, earned top honors in ten courses, and received the Faculty Scholar Award at graduation. When not at work, Jason and his family can be found camping in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

April 2, 2018: The Moderate Means Program: Why It’s Important and Why You Want to Do It

Professor Clay Wilson educated students about the Moderate Means Program and introduced the opportunity to sign up for an internship this summer which includes gaining client interviewing skills and making legal analysis on behalf of real clients.

The Moderate Means Program (MMP) is an ATJI Partnership Project run in collaboration with the Washington State Bar Association and the two other law schools in Washington State. Seattle University was the first law school to implement the program in the Spring of 2011. The purpose of the program is to increase access to civil legal services for moderate means individuals (those between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level) who cannot afford to hire private attorneys at market rates but make too much money to qualify for traditional civil legal aid services. Through this program, eligible clients can get assistance in the areas of Family, Consumer and Housing law. 

Moderate Means Program law student interns interview potential clients by telephone to collect information and evaluate their cases. After a case has been evaluated and determined to be appropriate for the program, the student contacts one or more participating attorneys who are offered the opportunity to work with the client at a reduced fee. Once an attorney agrees to take a case, the client will be directed to the attorney and the intake materials including the student's case notes and legal analysis will be sent to the attorney. The attorney will then meet with the client to determine what services are appropriate. There are two ways for students to get involved with MMP:

1. Fall or Spring Practicum (semester-long course) which offers 3 credits. Open to 2Ls and 3Ls. 

2. Summer Internship (10 weeks, full-time or part-time) which is unpaid. Open to rising 2Ls and 3Ls.

Clay WilsonClay Wilson joined the ATJI staff in November 2010 and serves as the Moderate Means Program Attorney and as Adjunct Faculty teaching the Moderate Means Practicum. Prior to joining ATJI, Clay was an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project for thirteen years. During that time he was an advocate on the CLEAR legal hotline, represented low-income individuals in family law matters and eviction cases, managed the Northwest Justice Project's Contract Attorney Program, and was a CLEAR supervisor. Clay also has experience as a health care administrator, policy analyst, and mental health counselor.

Clay has an extensive history of community volunteer experience; he currently volunteers at legal clinics for Kitsap Legal Services, a non-profit volunteer lawyer program, and has served on their board for the last nine years, most recently as Board President. Clay received B.A. and B.S. degrees from Washington State University, and an M.P.A. and J.D. from the University of Washington.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

March 26, 2018: Can You Do Well by Doing Good?

Can you do well by doing good? Staff and Board members of the Northwest Consumer Law Center talked about building a practice for middle income clients and providing affordable legal services in the community. Panelists discussed setting up a moderate means practice, providing unbundled services, and using technology to increase access to justice.

Panelists include:

Forrest Carlson ‘08 is a founding partner of Assemble Law Group. He provides estate planning, probate, business, and litigation services. Forrest is dedicated to increasing access to legal services for people of all economic backgrounds, which he works toward by offering several flexible pricing models. He also applies his technology knowledge to develop legal apps, online legal tools, and other legal resources for the public. Forrest serves on the Northwest Consumer Law Center’s Board of Directors.

Sam Leonard ‘13 is the owner of Leonard Law, a practice that focuses on consumer protection, bankruptcy law, foreclosure prevention, debt collection defense, general litigation, consumer law, and class actions. His consumer advocacy also includes finding solutions to the student loan debt crisis.

Sam volunteers his time to help traditionally underrepresented communities navigate the legal system. In law school, Sam was president of the Public Interest Law Foundation, and participated in the Civil Rights Amicus Clinic. Since 2008, he has volunteered his time with the King County Bar Association's Neighborhood Legal Clinics. He also volunteers at Northwest Justice Project's free debt clinic. He has also lobbied Washington State's Congress on issues such as wage theft, increasing the minimum wage, and protecting worker compensation. Sam serves on the Northwest Consumer Law Center’s Board of Directors. Sam was a Seattle University School of Law Incubatee for 2016.

Amanda Martin ’15 is the Legal Director for the Northwest Consumer Law Center. She represents low to moderate income clients in a variety of consumer law issues including foreclosure prevention, student loan defense, and bankruptcy. She graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law. As a student, she externed at the Federal Trade Commission and published an article about litigating violations of the Home Affordable Modification Program in the Seattle University Law Review. She is currently a member of the WSBA Antitrust, Consumer Protection and Unfair Business Practices committee and volunteers at the Northwest Justice Project Debt Collection Defense Clinic.

Noah Samuels is the Executive Director of the Northwest Consumer Law Center. Noah worked in his native Chicago as a litigation paralegal fighting against predatory mortgage lending before moving out to Seattle in 2013, where he joined the Northwest Consumer Law Center just a few months after it opened. Over the past five years, with his contributions to its infrastructure and client services, NWCLC has grown into a key player in Washington’s statewide legal aid community. He is a 2010 graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

March 5, 2018: A Union for Uber Drivers: An Analysis of the Legal Hurdles to Seattle’s Groundbreaking Effort

The recent explosion of work in the so-called “gig economy” has left policymakers scrambling to control the consequences of such a massive, largely unregulated workforce. The City of Seattle recently passed landmark legislation allowing such workers from Uber and Lyft to form labor unions to bargain with the popular rideshare platforms. The first-of-its-kind ordinance is now under review at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jennifer L. Robbins led a discussion concerning the legal challenges facing Seattle's efforts. 

Jennifer L. Robbins is a partner in the firm Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt, LLP. She represents mostly public- and private-sector union clients and individual employees in all aspects of litigation in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings. Ms. Robbins currently serves as the chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the King County Bar Association. Ms. Robbins earned her J.D. with Honors in Law from the University of Washington School of Law, were she co-founded the Disability Law Alliance and was co-President of the Center for Human Rights and Justice. Jennifer earned her M.A., summa cum laude, from Michigan State University in 2001, where she studied movements for social and economic justice and the ways those movements have changed and shaped American law, policy, and politics. Prior to law school, Jennifer spent a number of years working as an advocate for low income people with disabilities at non-profits in the Pacific Northwest.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

February 26, 2018: Women in Government: Standing Up for the Rights of Themselves and Others

Women constitute a powerful force in all branches of the government. Although women continue to be underrepresented as political office-holders, there is a growing contingent of dedicated women serving their communities and challenging the status quo in local and state government. The Women's Law Caucus held a panel discussion with Redmond City Council member Tanika Kumasi Padhye, Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan, and Rose Spidell, about some of the unique issues women face as government attorneys.

Tanika Kumasi Padhye was appointed to the Redmond City Council in March 2017. Prior to council, Tanika served on the Planning Commission and Parks & Trails Commission.Tanika is originally from Houston, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M University with B.S. in Psychology and then went to Northeastern Law School for her J.D. During her legal career she worked in the public sector for the City Attorney’s Office in Berkley, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.She moved to the Pacific Northwest for her husband’s job at Microsoft and has lived in Redmond for 13 years. Tanika lives on Education Hill with her husband Jitu and their two sons. 

Rose Spidell is a Senior Education Ombuds with the Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO). At OEO, Rose works with families, students, educators, and other community professionals to understand their perspectives, concerns and questions relating to Washington’s k-12 public schools. She shares information about laws and policies governing public schools, and facilitates collaborative resolution of disagreements between families and schools. She also provides workshops and trainings for families, educators and community organizations on education topics, including special education, harassment and bullying, cultural awareness and conflict resolution. Rose participates in OEO’s development of public information materials, annual policy recommendations and special projects. Before joining OEO, Rose worked as a civil rights attorney, including two years as a Skadden Fellow, focused on the rights of public school students, particularly Native American students in Washington state. She is a graduate of Colville High School, Whitman College and NYU School of Law.

The Honorable Veronica Alicea- Galvánis a 1994 University of Washington School of Law graduate. She has served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Seattle, and also served the City of Federal Way in this same capacity. Judge Alicea-Galván took the bench in 2001 as a Judge Pro Tempore, and was appointed to a full time judicial position as an Administrative Law Judge in 2002. In 2007, Judge Alicea-Galván was appointed to the Des Moines Municipal Court where she served with distinction, earning the Juez Excepcional award from the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington. Governor Jay Inslee appointed Judge Alicea-Galván to the King County Superior Court in December of 2014.While in Des Moines, Judge Alicea-Galván implemented the only Spanish-language Court in the state of Washington granting hundreds of litigants the opportunity to address the court directly in Spanish.She was recognized by her alma mater with the Dean’s Leadership Award in 2015 and in 2016 was recognized as a Woman of the Year by the Center for Women & Democracy.In addition to her judicial duties, Judge Alicea-Galván is a faculty member for the Washington State Judicial College where she has taught several courses, most recently, Emerging Through Bias: Towards A More Fair And Equitable Courtroom. Judge Alicea-Galván has also been an adjunct instructor at Seattle University School of Law and has lectured extensively at legal education programs.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

February 12, 2018: Parks, Paris, and Pruitt: A Year in Review of the Trump Administration

The Environmental Law Society invited Professor  Michael Mayer, Professor Carmen Gonzalez, and visiting Associate Professor Madeline Kass to Social Justice Monday to discuss a year in review of the Trump Administration’s environmental policies. The panel discussed the impacts that current political decisions are having on our lands, our people, and our global environment. 
Panelists include:
Adjunct Professor Michael Mayer has over a decade of experience as an environmental law practitioner, primarily with the public interest law firm Earthjustice. While there, he worked with both the Northwest and Alaska regional offices. His work in the Northwest focused on protecting struggling salmon runs, and his time with the Alaska office was devoted entirely to opposing offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Michael also spent a number of years with Washington Environmental Council, researching land use issues and directing a campaign to reform the state's antiquated water laws.

Professor Carmen Gonzalez teaches torts, environmental law fundamentals, international environmental law, and international trade law. She has published widely in the areas of international environmental law, environmental justice, trade and the environment, and food security. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Earthjustice, a member of the Governing Board of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Academy of Environmental Law (IUCNAEL), and a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, a non-profit research and educational organization of university-affiliated academics that seeks to inform policy debates regarding environmental regulation. 

Visiting Associate Professor Madeline Kass currently serves on the Editorial Board of the ABA publication National Resources & Environment, the Executive Committee of the AALS Natural Resources & Energy Section, the Board of Directors and Legal Committee of the Puget Soundkeepers Alliance, the Washington State Board of Bar Overseers, and as a Vice-Chair on the ABA's Endangered Species and International Environmental and Resources Law committees. She is a frequent visiting professor at Seattle University School of Law where she serves as a faculty advisor for the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law. Kass' primary areas of teaching and scholarship are environmental and natural resources law and torts and her courses include Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Comparative US/EU Environmental Law, Wildlife & Marine Life Law, Torts I & II, Professional Responsibility, and Scholarly Legal Writing.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:


February 5, 2018: “Instructions to all persons of Japanese ancestry...” Korematsu and a critical discussion of Modern Executive Power

In celebration of Korematsu Day, APILSA and panelists Professor Robert Chang, Executive Director of the Korematsu Center and Professor Andrew Siegel, Faculty Fellow of the Korematsu Center, engaged in a critical discussion of the modern day implications of Korematsu, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the War on Terror. After a brief introduction by Professor Lorraine Bannai, Director of the Korematsu Center, the discussion addressed the racial undertones of current immigration law and wartime policies. In addition, Professor Chang shared some of the Korematsu Center’s work in regards to the current Muslim Ban lawsuits.

Robert S. Chang is a Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He has also previously served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. He joined the School of Law from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was Professor of Law and J. Rex Dibble Fellow. A graduate of Princeton and Duke Universities, he writes primarily in the area of race and interethnic relations. He is the author of "Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State" (NYU Press 1999), co-editor of "Minority Relations: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation" (University Press of Mississippi 2017), and more than 50 articles, essays, and chapters published in leading law reviews and books on Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory, and Asian American Legal Studies.
He has received numerous recognitions for his scholarship and service. He was the 2009 co-recipient of the Clyde Ferguson Award, given by the Minority Groups Section of the Association of American Law Schools, which is "granted to an outstanding law teacher who in the course of his or her career has achieved excellence in the areas of public service, teaching and scholarship." He became an elected member of the American Law Institute in 2012, and he was the co-recipient of the 2014 Charles A. Goldmark Distinguished Service Award from the Legal Foundation of Washington for his leadership role in a statewide task force on race and the criminal justice system. In addition to co-chairing the task force, he led the research team that produced its Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System that was presented to the Washington Supreme Court and was published simultaneously in the Gonzaga Law Review, the Seattle University Law Review, and the Washington Law Review. The Korematsu Center that he founded has also received numerous recognitions for its work.
He is currently serving as co-counsel representing high school students in Tucson who have challenged the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that resulted in the termination of the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District. That case, after several years and a positive ruling at the Ninth Circuit went to trial in summer 2017, with an order issued in August 2017 finding that the statute had been enacted and enforced in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments. He is also serving as co-counsel in two cases in Alaska challenging the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and forced psychotropic medication of Native foster children. Students from his Civil Rights Clinic have assisted on these and other cases.

Andrew Siegel is an Associate Professor of Law and joined the law school in 2007 after five years teaching at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Before entering the legal academy, Professor Siegel served as a law clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and to Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court and practiced as a litigation associate in the New York office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. Professor Siegel graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, has a master's degree in history from Princeton University, and graduated summa cum laude and first in his class from New York University School of Law, where he was also an Executive Editor of the New York University Law Review.
Professor Siegel researches and writes about constitutional theory, contemporary constitutional and public law, American legal history, and criminal procedure. He is a nationally recognized expert on the United States Supreme Court, who frequently lectures on that subject in a variety of academic and professional settings. He is a co-author of The Supreme Court Sourcebook (with Richard Seamon, Joe Thai, and Kathryn Watts) and his scholarship has appeared in a variety of journals including the Texas, Fordham, and UC-Davis Law Reviews and the American Journal of Criminal Law. He is currently at work on a variety of projects including an annotated collection of Justice Stevens's writings, a cultural history of the first generation of American law schools, and articles exploring the structure of due process doctrine, the concept of "constitutional culture," and the evolution of thinking about the constitutionality of public school uniforms and dress codes. His writings for the popular press include "Nice Disguise: Alito's Frightening Geniality," (The New Republic, November 15, 2005) and "Farewell to Justice Stevens from those who Knew Him Well" (Washington Post, April 9, 2010) (with Joe Thai and Eduardo Penalver).

In his years at SU, Professor Siegel has chaired the Executive, Faculty Appointments, and Curriculum Committees, coordinated the Faculty Law Firm initiative, and served in a variety of other leadership capacities.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

January 29, 2018: Empowering Women with Secure Rights to Land and Resources: A path to lasting economic growth, resilient communities, and healthier societies

The world’s poorest share three traits: 1) they live in rural areas, 2) they depend on the land to survive, and 3) they don’t have legal control over that land. Secure land rights can drive the social and economic empowerment of rural households. Furthermore, legal land rights create a strong foundation for other development interventions. Research shows that secure land rights can:
•      Boost agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods
•      Improve health and nutrition
•      Increase school enrollment
•      Improve conservation efforts
•      Decrease domestic violence and empower women and girls
Women have the fewest and weakest land rights. Yet they are often the most productive land users and they tend to push their produce and proceeds toward the wellbeing of their household. For these women, having the right to the land they use gives them the ability to: house and feed themselves and their family, prevent and stop violence toward themselves and their family, and stop their livelihood from being taken away. 
Resource Equity (RE) is a non-profit organization that works to empower women with secure rights to land and resources.  By doing so, RE promotes lasting economic growth, more resilient communities, and healthier societies. Through partnership and collaboration, RE focuses on developing the capacity of rural women, practitioners, governments, and the development community to design and advocate for innovative and concrete strategies to improve women’s rights to land and resources.
Renee Giovarelli, a RE founder, and David Bledsoe, a senior attorney with RE, discussed their policy, legal, and implementation work on land rights reform over the past 20 years in many of the world’s emerging economies. They described how land tenure security can be improved for women and men in rural households, and discussed challenges to creating lasting change – particularly for women.

Renee Giovarelli (’93) is is an expert on women's and girls’ land rights. She has over 20 years of experience working on intra-household and gender issues related to land tenure and customary and legal property rights. She has designed and conducted fieldwork on women and their access and rights to land in the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Russia, India, China, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda. Her experience includes policy-oriented research and writing on land rights, pasture rights, rural development, and gender issues related to these issues, including conducting extensive training, research, advocacy, publishing, and consulting services on women’s and girls’ land rights. She earned her J.D. with honors from Seattle University, and an L.L.M. with honors in the Law of Sustainable International Development from the University of Washington.
David Bledsoe (’93) is a land law and policy lawyer with Resource Equity. In the non-profit sector, he has worked in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere on land policy and legal reform for over 16 years, collaborating with governments, communities, civil society, and public and private donors. In this capacity, David has also provided support directly to corporations engaging in best-practices land acquisition and agricultural commodity procurement. Today, he is working with civil society organizations in East Africa on improving community outcomes around mining and other extractive investments. He also has over 15 years of for-profit experience.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

January 22, 2018: Islamaphobia and its Impact

Islamaphobia has been defined as a perspective involving unfounded dread and dislike involving Muslims which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination. Jasmin Samy, the Civil Rights Director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), discussed what Islamaphobia is and the impact it has had on lawyers in the judicial system in Washington. Ms. Samy also discussed ways in which you can get involved.  

Jasmin Samy is Civil Rights Director at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. She is deeply passionate about extending CAIR-WA’s work to reach thousands more than ever before, especially to children and families across the state. She frequently speaks on topics including knowing one’s rights, and manages a team of more than four staff and interns who manage over 400 complaints per year. She is an expert in American Muslim civil rights, rule of law, and international human rights.  She holds a law degree from Faculty of Law at Cairo University and a Master of Laws from Indiana University. Prior to joining CAIR-WA, she was an attorney and human rights advocate for over 15 years.
Ms. Samy has a passion for squash as a sport and was a top player as a junior and continues to play regularly.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

January 8, 2018: State v. Erickson Revised Batson Standard in Washington

In Batson v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court ruled that counsel cannot make a preemptory challenge in a criminal case during jury selection that would exclude a juror based solely on their race. Michael Schueler ’14 and Philip Chinn ’14 from the King County Office of Public Defense ACA division discussed their representation of Matthew Erickson in an appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court. In State v. Erickson, their Batson challenge was denied because the trial court determined they had not make a prima facie showing of a racially motivated preemptory challenge in jury selection by the City of Seattle. On July 6, 2017, the Supreme Court changed the way Batson is applied in Washington so that striking a juror who is the only member of a cognizable racial group will automatically trigger a full Batson analysis by the court.

Michael Schueler ‘14 began practicing as a Public Defender in Cowlitz County and after about 18 months, transitioned to King County Department of Public Defense – Associated Counsel for the Accused Division. Currently, Michael serves as a felony level trial attorney. He has  practiced in district court, superior court, juvenile court, and has worked on BECCA Bill cases as well. 

Philip Chinn ’14 is passionate about criminal defense. He currently works as a public defender with the King County Office of Public Defense – Associated Counsel for the Accused Division. Philip entered law school with the objective of becoming a criminal defense attorney, and shaped his education and internships to reflect this goal. After graduation, Philip worked for a private firm doing criminal defense before joining King County.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

November 13, 2017: Reflections on Restorative Justice

Professor Inga Laurent recently returned to the faculty at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane after spending nine months as a Fulbright scholar in Jamaica. While there, Inga had a full-immersion opportunity to live, research, and try to come to terms with life in Kingston, as the Ministry of Justice attempts to transform both the Country and its legal system through the implementation of an ambitious restorative justice agenda. She talked about her personal reflections, and her thoughts on justice in Jamaica and at home. While Jamaica's crime rate has ranked in the top five percent, only two percent of the country's budget is used toward criminal rate. Moreover only 56% of homicide cases are solved. The lack of police and constant violence gives rise to vigilantes who also continue this perpetual cycle of violence. The country has finally implemented a restorative justice program to remedy the violence. While this experience gave Professor Laurent a new appreciation for U.S. law, she was impressed with how the restorative justice program was implemented on a national scale. 

Inga N. Laurent is an Associate Professor and Director of the Externship Program at Gonzaga University School of Law. She returned to the faculty in Fall 2017 after spending nine months researching restorative justice in Kingston, Jamaica as a Fulbright scholar. In the classroom, Inga’s goal is to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities that will be present as they enter the profession, equipping them with tools for honest and critical assessments of our systems and ourselves. Aside from her work with externships, Professor Laurent is engaged in advocating for criminal justice and legal education reform, as she believes we need innovative and equitable models to better address the shifting needs present in our evolving societies. She is an active member of the national externship community, serving as co-president of the Externship Section of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education from 2013–2015 and as a member of Externship Committee of the Clinical Legal Education Association from 2011–2016. Prior to working in academia, Inga worked as a staff attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS) under a grant from the Federal Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). While at SEOLS, she provided holistic civil legal services to victims of domestic violence. Inga received her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and her B.A. from Westminster College. She has been a member of the Gonzaga community since 2010. 

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

November 6, 2017: Mental Health Hygiene

Frances is an attorney who has a strong background in social work, psychology, and psychiatric research. She represents lawyers with bar complaints that arise out of ethical breaches related to psychological stress and substance abuse. She also represents counselors who have legal problems with the Department of Health (DOH). She discussed common stressors and mental health issues law student may face – and later as a lawyer – in order to recognize and manage them in healthy ways; to practice law as effectively and productively as possible, and have meaningful and happy personal lives. 

Frances Schopick, JD, MSW, LICSW worked for nearly 20 years as a mental health diagnostician and clinician in agency, research, and private practices. As a psychiatric researcher, she served on faculties in New York City at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (fka the Mount Sinai School of Medicine) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Preventive Medicine, and in Boston at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry. Now an attorney, Ms. Schopick represents lawyers and counselors who have Bar and Board complaints against them. She also assists attorneys in all practice areas with witness prep for deposition and trial. Ms. Schopick completed her AB at Barnard College at Columbia University in the City of New York, her Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) at the Hunter College School of Social Work in NYC, and her Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of New Hampshire. She holds Washington licensure as both an attorney and LICSW.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

October 30, 2017:Medical Legal Partnerships in Washington

Social problems contribute to poor health. Every day in clinics across the country, health care providers see patients struggling with both medical problems and health related social needs that often go unaddressed. Medical Legal Partnerships (MLPs) seek to bridge the divide and make attorneys a part of the clinical team and this cross-disciplinary integrated care helps improve outcomes for patients and their families. Catherine West and Mahlet Zelleke from the Northwest Justice Project discussed Medical Legal Partnerships in Washington and their work with Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Valley Cities Medical Center. Their discussion included utilizing the I-HELP model to help low income individuals find support with: 1) income; 2) housing; 3) educational access; 4) legal status; and 5) personal and family status.

Catherine West has spent 20 years working with low-income, vulnerable and marginalized populations. Before law school, she worked with patients in a state mental hospital and at a children’s psychiatric hospital, and with residents in three long term care facilities. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2004, she began working at Northwest Justice Project and has represented indigent clients ever since. She has defended homeowners in mortgage, property tax and homeowner association foreclosure and represented seniors in consumer, housing and public benefits issues. In 2015, she received Northwest Justice Project’s Advocacy Award. She currently represents families and vulnerable adults on a Medical Legal Partnership with Harborview Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital, and focuses on guardianship, Medicaid, and the rights of trans and gender non-conforming youth.

Mahlet Zelleke joined the Medical Legal Partnership as a Legal Assistant in 2015. Recently, Mahlet transitioned into a paralegal position where she interviews and advises clients directly under attorney supervision. Mahlet has completed her Master’s degree in international commerce and policy program from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. She has also earned a Bachelor in Laws (LLB) degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. She is currently enrolled in the SID LLM program at the University of Washington. 

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

October 23, 2017: Access Denied: Washington’s Charity Care System, its Shortfalls, and the Effect on Low-Income Patients

A new report by Columbia Legal Services, “Access Denied: Washington’s Charity Care System, Its Shortfalls, and the Effect on Low-Income Patients,” revealed how hospitals across the State are falling short of meeting their obligations to provide free or discounted care to eligible patients. Significant findings include:
1) Hospitals are not doing enough to address language barriers, which often makes it more difficult for limited English speakers to learn about and apply for charity care;
2) Hospitals are not screening patients for charity care eligibility at or near the time of admission by gathering income information as they are required to do; and

3) Hospitals are routinely failing to adequately inform patients of their charity care rights.

Moreover, in Washington State, even after Obama Care, there are still over 570,000 uninsured patients who are “medically indigent” and eligible for charity care. However, only a small fractions of patients who should be eligible have charity care. Furthermore, the hospitals lack of implementing Charity Care makes it worse for indigent patients because they are charging uninsured patients "chargemaster" rates, which are highly inflated prices at several times the actual cost.

CLS attorneys Ann LoGerfo and Matt Geyman have discussed the report and larger issues surrounding the charity care system and equity in access to hospital care. They also discussed legislative advocacy, community outreach, and litigation efforts by CLS and others who are working together to fight for and fulfill the promise of the Washington charity care law.

Ann LoGerfo is a Directing Attorney with the Basic Human Needs Project at Columbia Legal Services. She advocates for clients on access to the fundamentals of human need: housing, food, medical services and public benefits. Ann joined CLS after a varied career, including clerking for the Washington State Supreme Court, a private firm litigation practice, and executive leadership in a corporate legal department. Ann now devotes herself full time to policy, lobbying and class action litigation on behalf of those most in need of basic services in Washington.

Matt Geyman is a Staff Attorney at Columbia Legal Services and a member of its Economic Justice Project. His litigation and policy advocacy focus on Charity Care, debt collection practices, and a variety of other economic justice issues. He has done extensive litigation, including a number of class actions, involving fair hospital charges and billing and other consumer issues, and has presented at CLEs around the country on Charity Care and related consumer issues. Matt has also devoted significant time to representing farm workers and low wage immigrant workers and is on the Steering Committee of the Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice Project.

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October 9, 2017: Upholding Treaty Rights: The Right to Usual and Accustomed Fishing Grounds

As part of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, John Sledd, a partner at Kanji, Kaatzen LLC, spoke about Tribal right to fish. Kanji, Kaatzen LLC, a firm that represents local Tribes, have fought and are currently fighting the State of Washington to fix salmon culverts across the state so that fish can safely and easily pass. The case stems from United States v. Washington, otherwise known as the Boldt Decision, where the Supreme Court held that Tribes have a right to fish at their usual and accustomed fishing grounds, and a treaty right to their share of more than 50% of catch. Failure to fix culverts means no fish, which means failure to uphold treaty obligation.John Sledd provided an overview and history on treaty rights, Indian Law, and how the cooperative work between his firm and local Tribes would impact their way of living, but preserve a healthy environment for us all.

John Sledd is a partner in the Seattle office of the national Indian law firm, Kanji & Katzen. Since 2006, John has been coordinating counsel for the 21 tribes in the culverts case. For thirty-five years he has worked exclusively for tribes and their members as a private practitioner, general counsel, appellate judge, and legal services lawyer. He argued the culverts subproceeding of United States v. Washington, in which the Ninth Circuit found that state highway culverts that block 1,000 miles of stream and greatly reduce salmon runs are a violation of tribal treaty fishing rights. Mr. Sledd graduated from the University of Montana and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

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October 2, 2017:The Refugee Roundtable: Personal Experiences in Refugee Policy Work and Serving the Underserved

Over the past few years, refugee resettlement has been an international moral concern. From Syria, Iraq, and all over the world, hundreds of thousands of people flee for their lives, leaving behind everything they know with hopes for a brighter future. 

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) serves this population, working to help refugees from around the world through the complicated resettlement process. Students from the Seattle chapter have taken on cases, worked on policy, and traveled to field offices in Jordan and Lebanon. They seek to: 1) Combat campaign rhetoric-engage in dialogue; 2) Support congressional efforts to oppose the travel ban; 3) Highlight the negative impact of any reduction to refugee resettlement and its effects to highly vulnerable groups; and 4) Advocate for additional special immigrant visas.

Emily Wright is a 3L who has served on the IRAP Board for the past two years. She is the current Chapter Director. She participated in a spring break trip to IRAP's field office in Amman, Jordan. Emily is interested in pursuing a career in administrative healthcare law. She enjoys hiking, Star Trek, and NPR podcasts.  

Pardies Roohani is a 2L and is the Policy Co-Chair of the International Refugee Assistance Project this year. Last year, she got involved with IRAP by serving as the 1L Section Representative for Section A. Pardies studied Political Science at the University of Washington where she knew she wanted to go to law school and become an attorney. Her parents came to the United States as refugees after leaving Iran amid the Iranian Revolution and that motivated her to seek a life where she could defend the human and civil rights of minority and marginalized groups.

Reux Stearns is a 2L and the secretary of IRAP. Last year she served as the 1L Rep for Section C, co-wrote the Newsletter, and worked on an SIV case. She also traveled to Lebanon in May to work with IRAP's satellite office in Beirut. In a past life, Reux studied molecular genetics. However, through her international travel experiences, she became overwhelmingly interested in immigrant rights, refugees in particular. This is what drove her to attend law school. Her aspirations are to become an immigration judge in the US or work overseas in some capacity (but only if she can take her pug with her). 

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September 25, 2017: Dear District Attorney: Things I Wish You Knew About the 180 Program

The advent of diversionary programs as alternatives to traditional prosecutorial practices have gained traction in King County as a result of social justice criticisms of the criminal justice system. As one example, Choose 180 aims to divert individuals from the criminal justice system, while simultaneously lowering recidivism rates. As a coordinator and facilitator of Choose 180, Honey Jo shared her personal experiences to demonstrate the perspectives of at-risk youths and to utilize diversionary programs to give youths an alternative to the risky “gateway” activities they would normally engage in. 

Honey Jo is a Program Coordinator and Facilitator with the Accelerator YMCA’s Alive & Free program, where she conducts culturally responsive programming for youth involved in gangs, violence, and the juvenile justice system with an emphasis on addressing disproportionate minority contact and confinement. She has dedicated her career to reducing youth incarceration and supporting individuals who are re-entering the community from prison. As Program Coordinator and Facilitator with the IF Project, Honey expanded the reach of the program, using the stories of incarcerated women as a prevention tool for youth. Honey has built meaningful partnerships with numerous youth-serving organizations in Seattle, including the Seattle Public School District, to bring the curriculum she authored to youth who are struggling in the school disciplinary system and to interrupt the school to prison pipeline. Honey also worked with Pioneer Human Services to develop and facilitate employment readiness programs for youth and adults returning to the community from incarceration. She is certified by the Pacific Institute as a New Directions facilitator, which is an evidence-based program designed to empower individuals during re-entry. Honey advocates on behalf of people facing structural barriers to accessing services that result from incarceration and is particularly passionate about supporting women on this journey. She is also involved in King County's Diversion 180 Program.

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September 18, 2017: Constitution Day: Impact Litigation in the Modern Age

In recognition of Constitution Day 2017, panelists ACLU-WA Legal Director Emily Chiang and ACLU-WA Staff Attorney Breanne Schuster ’15 discussed how to implement strategic litigation to create social change. The discussion was moderated by Professor Robert Chang, Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law & Equality.

Emily Chiang is the Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, where she oversees the Legal Department and the litigation it brings to protect civil liberties throughout the state.  She has worked at a law firm, other non-profits, and in academia, but she loves the ACLU-WA best of all. She was formerly a law professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she ran a public policy clinic to combat the effects of the school to prison pipeline.  She has also been a staff attorney at the ACLU National Legal Department in the Racial Justice Program and at the Brennan Center for Justice in the Poverty Program.  Ms. Chiang is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale University.

Breanne Schuster ’15 is a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, where she litigates civil rights cases in state and federal courts throughout the state.  Ms. Schuster is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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September 11, 2017: Parenting and the Law: Issues, Intersections, and Reproductive Justice

The term “reproductive justice” was coined in the mid ’90s when Women of Color concluded that neither the pro-choice nor social justice movements were meeting the needs of their communities. They believed the traditional “choice” framework failed to take into account the economic, social, demographic, and geographic circumstances that prohibited their communities from having any real, meaningful choice about their reproductive health and destinies. So they created a new term and framework of reproductive justice, and began building a movement that centers and embraces the leadership of those most marginalized. If/When/How seeks to honor this framework. Each of the panelists spoke of different experiences concerning reproductive law and proposed various ways to achieve reproductive justice goals. The speakers at this event included:

Professor Deborah Ahrens: Before joining the faculty at Seattle University, Ahrens served as a law clerk for Judge Amalya Kearse of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a legal fellow at the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project, an assistant public defender at the Richland County (South Carolina) Public Defender, and a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Her scholarship focuses on the cultural significance of contemporary policing practices and criminal sanctioning regimes, with particular emphasis on drug policy and on the regulation of student speech and conduct. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including the American Criminal Law Review, Florida State Law Review, and Missouri Law Review. Her current research focuses on the Supreme Court's recent embrace of a broader understanding of the role of the criminal defense attorney in its criminal procedure decisions, on the rise of school uniforms and restrictive student dress codes, and on some of the unexplored frontiers in the legal regulation of alternative criminal sanctions.

​Priya Walia is a Staff Attorney at Legal Voice, a progressive feminist organization that uses the power of law to make change in the Northwest. Before that, she was the If/When/How Reproductive Justice State Policy Fellow with Surge Reproductive Justice and Legal Voice, where her work centered around access to reproductive health care and abortion for low income and people of color, individuals in women's prisons and immigrants. Priya graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she received the 2016 Outstanding Law Student Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Derek Frank finished his undergraduate degree in political science at Seattle University. While he applied to law school because it seemed like a good fit for his deductive, logical way of thinking, winning the Nash Scholarship strengthened his interest in his Native American heritage. He raised $6,000 for the trip and published thoughts and pictures from his summer journey on a Facebook page called "The Tribal Network." He is also the Editor in Chief of the American Indian Law Journal. He is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce tribe and his native name, Tsap Ilp Ilp, means Red Arrow. "I am a part of a powerful culture in need of proficient representation," he said. "My career goal is to change this country's narrative about its native culture." 

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