Public Interest Law Scholars: 2015-2016
the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy
Consistent with the Center’s mission to support students committed to service to others, the Clough Center provides grants to Boston College first and second-year law students for uncompensated public interest work during the summer. The 2015 Public Interest Law Scholar grants have been awarded to:
Nickie Cardamone is a rising 3L at Boston College Law School. She grew up in Clearfield, Pennsylvania and attended Boston College, earning a B.A. in International Studies in 2011. After graduating from BC, Nickie spent a year in San Francisco, California as a part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working at Raphael House of San Francisco, a residential program and shelter for families experiencing homelessness.
Last summer, Nickie interned with the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, Massachusetts. This academic year she has been a part of the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project, part of the Boston College Legal Services LAB, as an SJC Rule 3:03 Law Student Intern. Also, she is working toward a Certificate in Human Rights and International Justice through the Certificate Program of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College.
This summer, Nickie will be interning with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty in Washington, D.C. and will be a part of the Law Center’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness. As a legal intern with the Law Center, she will be performing legal research and analysis and writing memos and briefs related to ongoing projects in the Law Center’s civil and human rights programs, as well as assisting with trainings and presentations by the Law Center about these project areas to other attorneys, advocates and service providers. Nickie is honored by this opportunity, where she will continue to explore her interests as she works toward pursuing a career in public interest law.
A first year law student, Daniel Edelstein grew up in Evanston, Illinois and graduated cum laude from DePaul University with a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Classics. While a student at DePaul, Daniel was published in student journals and presented a paper at the SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. While leading several student volunteer groups and interning at the Chicago chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Daniel developed a commitment to pursuing public service.
After he graduated, Daniel served with AmeriCorps at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County in Greenfield, Massachusetts as part of the Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Ambassador of Mentoring program. There, Daniel facilitated mentor relationships with youth, often working with children on the margins of both the education and criminal systems. Daniel also initiated programming aimed at strengthening connections between the organization and current volunteers. Following his AmeriCorps service year, Daniel became the director of teen programming at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, Texas, where he dramatically increased participation for adolescents.
After two years at the JCC, Daniel and his partner sold their belongings, packed two backpacks and bought a one-way ticket to New Delhi where they began a year of globetrotting around India, Southeast Asia and Europe. After countless adventures, Daniel and his partner came to Boston to attend law school.
This summer, Daniel will be interning with the Boston Chapter of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonprofit legal organization that works through individual legal actions and major law reform cases, as well as public policy advocacy, community education and community economic development to protect the “civil, social, and economic liberties” of residents in Greater Boston. Specifically, Daniel will be working with the Committee’s Education Project, which serves students of color and students with disabilities disproportionately affected by exclusionary punishment, commonly referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
Daniel will be responsible for helping to guarantee quality education by representing clients directly, researching legal precedent and policy, and engaging in community outreach. The Education Project’s recent report, “Not Measuring Up: The State of School Discipline in Massachusetts” has unearthed the realities of the disproportionate punishment on students of color and students with disabilities. Daniel will be tasked with using the findings of the report, in conjunction with testimony from new clients, to hold schools accountable for implementing the 2012 Massachusetts law designed to curb the overuse of exclusionary punishment.
In the future, Daniel plans to pursue a career in public service focused on promoting economic and social justice. He hopes to open his own firm dedicated to providing legal services to low and moderate income clients, while also using his legal training to effect policy in the areas of economic and food justice.
Hannah Marie Farhan, a current J.D. candidate at Boston College Law School, comes from a split background in medieval history, technology, and elementary education. She attended Georgia Institute of Technology from 2007 to 2011, earning a Bachelor of Science in a dual History and Sociology degree with specializations in research and international studies. After graduating, Hannah Marie joined Teach for America and spent the next two years teaching 2nd and 3rd grade in a French immersion magnet school in Kansas City, Missouri. Given her background, she is particularly interested in finding ways to integrate
Since starting at BC Law, Hannah Marie has done human rights work in Haiti and has been an active member of multiple student organizations, including the International Law Society, the American Constitutional Society, and the Law Students’ Association. Last summer, she worked as a legal intern for Sonus Networks and was the research assistant for Professor Kent Greenfield.
This summer, Hannah Marie will be working in the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights in Washington, DC. This will entail research into areas of national and international concern regarding civil rights violations, including issues such as human trafficking, police brutality, and violations within the penal system. She is planning a career in public interest work after graduation, particularly with respect to the government and the role of the judiciary.
As a rising 3L, Hannah Marie will participate in the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project (JRAP), wherein she will work closely with educational advocacy as well as youth in the juvenile justice system. Students in JRAP provide individual, thorough legal representation to their clients and work to promote policy changes to reduce youth incarceration and to increase access to appropriate social services. She will also be joining three other students to represent Boston College Law School as a member of the Jessup International Moot Court Team.
Sonja Marrett is a member of the Boston College Law School Class of 2017. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and International Studies and a minor in Environmental Law and Policy. After graduation, she worked for the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter as a campaign organizer for a successful Sierra Club endorsed State Representative campaign. In this position, she engaged with the community on important environmental issues, such as clean energy. She also organized numerous community events educating the public about the State Representative’s environmental platform. Subsequently, she worked at a small law firm in Chicago as a paralegal.
As a 2L at Boston College Law School, Sonja will serve as the Community Events Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation, a Project Manager for the Environmental Law Society, and the Secretary of the South Asian Law Students Association.
This summer, Sonja will be working at the Boston chapter of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) as a legal intern. CLF uses a multi-lateral approach to finding solutions to New England’s numerous environmental problems, utilizing the law, science, policy-making, and the market. Sonja’s role at CLF will be to research and draft legal memoranda regarding Clean Air Act and Clean Water topics in support of ongoing litigation. Additionally, she will assist in draft pleadings for state and federal administrative proceedings and litigation and will participate in case and program strategy discussions. She will also provide assistance on some environmental justice projects throughout the summer.
Sonja hopes to use her experience at CLF working in environmental law with a focus on environmental justice issues facing low-income communities, potentially internationally. She first became interested in this area while researching environmental racism in low-income communities on the South Side of Chicago and the community efforts to shut down coal-fired power plants in these areas. Thus, she is very interested in the human impact of environmental degradation and hopes to work to alleviate some of these problems.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Lauren Schaal has been working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault for the past seven years in shelters, crisis centers, and legal programs. She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2013, earning of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communication Studies. While in Nebraska, Lauren became a women’s advocate at The Friendship Home, an emergency domestic violence shelter. There she worked as a counselor, hotline staff, and assisted residents with their daily needs. Lauren is also a certified rape crisis counselor, and has worked as a legal advocate at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.
Having just finished her second year of law school, she will be spending her summer working in the legal department at Casa Myrna Vazquez, the largest provider of shelter and support services to domestic violence survivors in the Boston area. There, she will research family law matters, assist attorneys in divorce, child custody, and restraining order cases and perform intakes for new clients. It is Casa Myrna’s mission to empower survivors to build a life after abuse, and an important piece of that mission is to provide free legal services to those in need.
After graduation, Lauren hopes to continue advocating for survivors through legal assistance. She hopes to do so by working for a domestic violence oriented nonprofit organization in the Boston area.