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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Academic Law Fellows: 2017-2018

the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy

The Clough Center recognizes Boston College Law Students of exceptional academic ability and accomplishment who are enrolled in any of the Law School’s degree programs. The 2017-18 Academic Law Fellows are:


Liam Holland

Kathryn Droumbakis is a member of the Boston College Law School Class of 2018.  She grew up in Staten Island, New York and earned a Bachelors of Arts degree with College Honors in Philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross in 2014.  Her undergraduate thesis was entitled “The Art of Time: Living and Loving as Mortals,” which explored human mortality through the lens of art and philosophy.  At Holy Cross, Kathryn had the opportunity to spend her junior year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where she continued to pursue her philosophy degree.   After graduating, Kathryn spent some time as a paralegal in New York with the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton working on the litigation surrounding Argentina’s debt restructuring. 

While at BC Law, Kathryn has served as a Research Assistant with the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project at Boston College’s Center for Human Rights and International Justice, focusing on international deportation and asylum practices.  She also participated in Boston College’s 2017 Wendell F. Grimes Moot Court Competition, earning a Top Oralist Award.  Her interests are in international human rights, international comparative law, legal theory, constitutional law, and litigation, taking classes such as International Economic and Social Rights, European Union Law, Universal History of Legal Thought and Globalization.   

Kathryn will spend summer 2017 at a small law firm in New York, honing her skills in litigation, while also serving as a Research Assistant to BC Law’s Professor Paulo Barrozo.  Kathryn plans to spend her final year of law school continuing to pursue her academic interests while also dedicating pro bono hours to helping those facing deportation in the United States. In the future, Kathryn hopes to pursue a career in international human rights, with a focus on advocating for those who are politically disenfranchised.     

Josh Moore

Michael Berry is a second-year law student at Boston College.  He graduated from MIT in 2010 with a BS in Aerospace Engineering.  As an undergraduate researcher, he worked with civil engineering professors studying crack propagation through granite and worked with industry leaders to test wingsuits in the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel at MIT.  After studying at MIT, he stayed on campus conducting historical research and planning an Institute-wide open house that was open to the greater Boston community; approximately 40,000 people attended this event where MIT departments, labs, and student groups were able to engage and educate visitors on the work done within MIT. 

Michael’s interest in technologically-driven startups and the government’s role in small businesses led him to Boston College Law School.  Since classes began he has been engaged with the BC Law community.  Working with the Harvard Law and International Development Society, he researched the current state of drone regulations and provided feedback to a non-profit looking for humanitarian uses of autonomous drones.  He is also starting a BC Space Law program with the hope to see the new, incoming students class continue the organization once he leaves.   

We constantly see our world becoming more technical as technology continues to become an integral part of our lives.  Michael’s long term goals include bringing more science and engineering students into the study of law.  Many scientist and engineers who study law follow a path towards Intellectual Property and while it is a great fit for many of them, Michael would like to see scientists and engineers involved in every area of law.  He hopes to find more ways to integrate law and science so that the legal profession is not only on the cutting edge with technology, but actively helping to define that edge.



Mitchell J. Clough is a member of the Boston College Law School Class of 2019. He grew up in East Providence, Rhode Island, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston College in 2016.

Mitchell has a passion for giving back. He has interned in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and in the Rhode Island Department of Administration’s Labor Relations Unit, working on labor disputes between union members and the State. He has also volunteered across the country and the world, focusing particularly on a passion for the poor and marginalized. He has built homes in Peru, helped people rebuild their homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and worked at a day care for the children of migrant workers in Florida. While in law school, he has volunteered for Project Citizenship in Boston, assisting legal permanent residents in the often-cumbersome process of applying for citizenship in the United States.

In his senior thesis, Mitchell extended this passion for the marginalized as he conducted a critical analysis of the contemporary philosophical landscape surrounding human rights. Particularly, he argued that many contemporary political philosophers take the moral truth of much of the human rights doctrines for granted, without recognizing the deep pluralism of political and moral views in the world. He shaped his analysis through the lens of John Rawls, reconstructing Rawls’s human rights scheme from the ground up, seeking to find a global overlapping consensus of views regarding fundamental human rights. He hopes to extend this project through law school, focusing on the role of constitutionalism in the contemporary human rights debate.

In the summer of 2017, Mitchell will be interning for The Honorable O. Rogeriee Thompson of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Providence, Rhode Island. Upon completing his legal studies, Mitchell hopes to pursue a career in litigation before returning to academia. 


Amelia Wirts

Rafael Perruzzo was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil and will be in the LLM program at Boston College. He holds a bachelor's degree in Law and Social Sciences from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and a specialization certificate in International Law. During his specialization, he became particularly interested in linguistic minority rights and public policy, which were the main topics of his thesis. In Brazil, he worked at the Rio Grande do Sul Supreme Court for four years, two as an intern and two as a law clerk. Rafael was responsible for legal research and drafts for decisions on cases concerning consumer law, civil liability and traffic accident liability. Through this role, he developed a broader and more impartial perspective of legal issues, learning that impartiality plays a key role to ensure that law is interpreted and applied properly, in order to deliver high quality justice to all. He is a member of the Brazilian Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil - OAB) and also worked as an attorney at a boutique law firm.

            After moving to Boston in August 2015, Rafael volunteered to the "Somerviva" Department at the City of Somerville. He participated in the city events and activities concerning immigrants' rights, translated written material from English into Portuguese and Spanish and worked as a Portuguese interpreter representing constituents. Later on, he worked as an immigration paralegal at a law firm, where he interpreted for clients (Portuguese speakers) in interviews at the USCIS/NVC, drafted immigration forms and conducted case researches as well. In August 2016, Rafael started working at the Brazilian Worker Center as an ESOL teacher, where he teaches basic English and topics of social justice to students as a part of a series of programs designed to reduce marginalization of immigrants and promote their empowerment as workers and civic participants. Also in the fall, because of his involvement in the Allston-Brighton community, he was awarded a scholarship by the Harvard Extension School, where he studied Public International Law. In December 2016, he began working at the Consulate General of Brazil in Boston as a consular agent and, two months later, he was promoted to be the coordinator in the Culture and Education office. He is responsible for promoting the Brazilian culture, acting as a liaison between the Consulate and universities/research institutions to support Brazilian students abroad and establish new partnerships, as well as organizing culture and education events focused on the needs of the Brazilian community.

Rafael has a passion for social justice, so, through the LLM program, he will be able to deepen his knowledge in the U.S. perspective on human rights, which will provide him with models and solutions that he can deploy in the legal arena in Brazil. Rafael intends to work to rectify injustices in my country, empower the people, and help to reshape the nation to make it accessible and equal for all.


Amelia Wirts

Valentina De Fex is a member of the Boston College Law School Class of 2018. Born in Monteria, Colombia, Valentina and her family moved to the United States in 1999 to Dallas, Texas. In 2015, Valentina graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History and Political Science with concentrations in Diplomatic History and International Relations. There, she worked for the Netter Center for Community Partnership’s Department of Evaluation, serving on the Netter Center’s Student Advisory Board in 2014-2015. Through this work, she gained exposure to several legal issues that plagued low-income communities, This experience, along with her family’s personal experience and hardships faced as immigrants, motivated her to pursue a career in law.

            At Boston College Law School, Valentina has been active with the Latin American Law Students Association, where she served as President during her 2L year, and was a member of the Planning Committee for the 2016 National Latino/Latina Law Student Association Conference hosted in Boston. Also during her 2L year, Valentina coordinated BC’s Immigration Law Group’s Bond Project, leading several teams to successfully secure the release of several indigent immigration detainees. In addition, she participated in BC Law’s Immigration Clinic in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, working on a variety of cases dealing with complex issues before federal and immigration courts. She also served as a Teaching Assistant for two 1L courses in the Spring, Criminal Law and Immigration Practice. During her 3L year, Valentina will participate in BC Law’s Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic, where she will argue a case before the Ninth Circuit in the Spring of 2018. 

            In the Summer of 2016, Valentina was awarded an MCBA Diversity Summer Clerk position at Woods, Oviatt, Gilman in Rochester, New York, where she will be returning as a Summer Associate for the Summer of 2017. After graduation, Valentina hopes to continue working with indigent detainees, particularly high-risk youths, facing complex immigration issues and their efforts to remain in the United States.