Saturday, April 30, 2011

NYSBA's Global Law Week - May 10 to 13

The New York State Bar Association's International Law Section has organized Global Law Week from May 10 to 13, 2011 in New York City.  While I realize this is during final exams for many students, I thought it was important to at least mention it.

Global Law Week will take place at the same time that the Final Report of the Task Force on New York Law and International Matters appointed in 2010 by Stephen Younger, President of the New York State Bar Association, will be released, thus making the occurrence of Global Law Week this year a very timely occasion to shine the spotlight on the New York international legal profession and community.  Hofstra Law School students Alex Zwillinger and Lauren Montes participated in some of the research for this report, making its release relevant to the Hofstra Law community.

International Reform Intern at the Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. Our mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists. Located in Washington D.C., GAP is a nonpartisan, public interest nonprofit organization.
GAP is a consistent high-profile newsmaker, with its recent clients including:
• Robert MacLean, a former FAA Air Marshall who was fired for revealing a plan to remove Marshals from international flights during a time of heightened security concerns.
• Dr. Dean Wyatt, a USDA veterinarian who exposed horrific animal mistreatment, which indicated a systemic problem in the national food safety system.
• Several anonymous World Bank whistleblowers, whose disclosures (among others) GAP released, eventually leading to the resignation of Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
GAP is offering an International Reform Internship for summer semester 2011 in its Washington, DC office. This program focuses on acting as a watchdog for the treatment of whistleblowers at the United Nations and multilateral development banks (such as the World Bank). Responsibilities will also include monitoring developments involving whistleblowers and corruption in selected countries, where the program is developing cases: the Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, Paraguay, Haiti and Egypt. Job responsibilities for this position include:
• Researching particular cases and whistleblower issues in an international context and preparing written summaries
• Analyzing international norms and standards regarding whistleblower protection for comparative effectiveness
• Monitoring specific issues in the international press and blogs
• Maintaining contact with GAP’s international program networks and coalitions.
The ability to speak and read French and/or Arabic is preferred.
GAP offers stipends of $1000 to undergraduates and $1750 to graduate students for 12 weeks of fulltime work, with restrictions (contact Dylan Blaylock at 202.457.0034, ext 137, or for more on stipends.)
Students must have a laptop computer to work from for the entire duration of the internship. This fulltime internship will run from mid-May to Mid-August (negotiable). Please submit a cover letter and resume to with the "International Reform Internship" in the subject line.

Child Protection Intern at the Women's Refugee Commission

The Women's Refugee Commission advocates vigorously for laws, policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and displaced women, children and young people—bringing about lasting, measurable change.
Our Vision
A world in which refugee, internally displaced, returnee and asylum-seeking women, children and young people:
• are safe, healthy and self-reliant;
• participate in the decisions that affect their lives, both during displacement and when displacement ends; and
• are advocates and activists themselves, providing continuous monitoring of the policies and practices that affect them.
As convener of the Task Force on Livelihoods, Economic Strengthening and Child Protection [a sub-group of Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) learning network], Women’s Refugee Commission seeks to enhance the protection and well-being of conflict-affected children with sustainable livelihoods approaches and economic strengthening of households. The Task Force strives to improve the design, quality and effectiveness of economic programming targeting conflict-affected populations, both with adults, and in economic interventions for adolescents themselves.
The placement student will support the Task Force in its mandate to collect the existing knowledge in this area of work, build the network of professionals to carry the field forward, and publish research, tools, and guidance.
The placement student will work under the Senior Program Officer, Economic Strengthening and Child Protection to:
• Conduct research into livelihoods/ES and Child Protection.
• Perform database searches as part of a strategic literature review
• Initiate and conduct interviews of experts in the field
• Contribute written content to one or more deliverables, which may include
• A survey of existing tools and indicators
• New Minimum Standards on Child Protection in Livelihood and Economic Strengthening programs (in conjunction with the global Child Protection Working Group)
• A new inter-agency tool for Livelihood and Economic Strengthening programmers
• Presentation materials for events
• Graduate student in International Affairs, Public Health, Social Work or Economics. Other areas of study considered.
• Background/experience in human rights, humanitarian contexts, social sciences and/or economic development, preferred.
• Strong writing skills.
• Ability to conduct interviews with experts.
• Experience/interest in refugee and conflict issues.
• Excellent analytical skills.
• Knowledge of international affairs.
• Ability to work productively in a team environment as well as independently.
• Solid computer skills.
To Apply:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Program Officer, Global LGBT Social Justice Portfolio at the Arcus Foundation

Arcus Foundation
Program Officer, Global LGBT Social Justice Portfolio
Location: New York City, U.S.
Founded in 2000, the mission of the Arcus Foundation is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes. The Foundation has offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan, New York City and Cambridge, UK.
The Arcus Foundation is a leading global foundation advancing pressing social justice and conservation issues. Specifically, Arcus works to advance LGBT equality, as well as to conserve and protect the great apes. The Arcus Foundation has two major program areas with active grantmaking and operating activities around the world. These include the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Rights Program and the Great Apes Program. For more information about the Arcus Foundation please visit 

Summary Description
As part of a cross-discipline and integrated program team, the Program Officer will be responsible for developing, monitoring and coordinating grantmaking activities for the Arcus Foundation’s Social Justice Portfolio. The goal of this global and domestic portfolio is to advance and bridge efforts that develop and support capacity development of key grantee partners, organizing, advocacy and policy development, research, coalition building, and public education.
In particular, the Program Officer will work toward supporting the development of a diverse, unified and effective social justice movement that includes strategies at the intersections of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status and age.
The Program Officer will develop grantmaking strategies, identify prospective grantees, solicit, review and respond to grant proposals, and prepare recommendations for Arcus Foundation funding.
The Program Officer will be expected to provide intellectual leadership in the fields of Social Justice and LGBT Equality and work closely with other Arcus Foundation program staff, communications, finance, grants management and senior leaders whose work relates to the central mission of the portfolio.
The Program Officer is expected to collaborate broadly with scholars and practitioners, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other donors on issues of common program concern and to develop and implement strategies to leverage the Foundation’s investments through partnerships with donors and funders.
Core Responsibilities
Grantmaking and Grants Management 
As part of a cross-discipline and integrated grantmaking team, the Program Officer will: 
• Meet with potential grant seekers and current grantees to hold meetings on strategic ideas, structure grantee convenings, review proposals, summarize projects for Board meetings, plan and conduct site visits and oversee past grants 
• Ensure that Foundation grants are achieving intended purposes and are aligned with the Foundation’s goals and outcomes
• Implement the Arcus monitoring strategy and gather data on measures and benchmarks to enable the Foundation to assess the impact of its grantmaking in these areas 
• Engage in periodic evaluation of the Foundation’s work in these areas to document accomplishments, lessons learned and progress towards outcomes set by the Foundation’s Board of Directors
• Participate in and be an active member of the Arcus Program Team to provide input into the Foundation's overall grantmaking processes, guidelines and systems and to contribute to collaborative learning processes
Leadership in the Field
In order to promote the Arcus Foundation as a leader in the field, the Program Officer will:
• Connect the Arcus Foundation with global and domestic fields of social and racial justice and LGBT equality
• Help build relationships among funders and existing Arcus grantees
• Leverage additional resources from other donors and corporations to support Arcus Foundation program strategies and develop creative mechanisms for collaborative grantmaking
• Fund or engage in research, policy analysis and other projects that deepen the field’s knowledge of social justice and LGBT issues.
• Engage in speaking, writing, public advocacy and other strategies that promote the Foundation's values and goals
  • Advanced training in law or public policy, or other relevant field
  • Minimum 5 years professional experience in social justice and LGBT rights issues in the U.S. and internationally
  • Excellent analytical, oral presentation, writing, and interpersonal skills
  • Fluency in a second language
  • Familiarity with philanthropy and nonprofit sector issues in the U.S. and developing countries are highly desirable
  • The ability to work closely with colleagues in a collaborative team environment and with grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives is critical
  • Excellent people skills, high energy, strategic and actionable thinking and commitment level are required
Salary is based on experience and on the Foundation’s commitment to internal equity. A generous benefits package is provided.
Application Process
Please send resume and cover letter to Indicate "Program Officer, Global LGBT Social Justice Portfolio” in the subject line. Mailed applications should be sent to:
Human Resources 
Arcus Foundation 
44 West 28th Street, 17th Floor 
New York, NY 10011

Policy and Events Intern at Fair Trials International

For candidate briefing and role description please visit:
Must have completed a law degree or law conversion course.
Demonstrates an interest in human rights law, criminal law and the rule of law.
Highly organised and able to prioritise a workload.
A willingness to be flexible according to the demands of the organisation.
Capable legal researcher.
Excellent communications skills.
Ability to work independently and manage own time.
Ability to summarise cases and present them in clear and compelling language.
Knowledge of Microsoft Office and good general office skills.
Experience of events organisation desirable.
European languages desirable.
Please send a CV and covering letter to

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Advocacy Associate at the American Immigration Lawyers Association

Highly-motivated professional with legislative experience, participate in lobbying Congress and representing AILA in various external capacities, support grassroots initiatives and a wide range of government affairs activities, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy.
We are - 
Headquartered in downtown, Washington, DC, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is an organization with over 11,000 individual attorney members. AILA's mission is to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides its members with continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise.
Your role -
As an active member of our advocacy team, your will utilize your legislative background to participate in lobbying Congress and representing AILA in various external capacities; help monitor and analyze legislation; track immigration-related legislation, hearings, and other relevant congressional activity; develop advocacy materials; maintain online and web-based advocacy initiatives; serve as a resource on policy and legislation for AILA members; and support AILA’s grassroots activities, including implementing our National Day of Action.
Your background -
Undergraduate degree is required. Law degree is a plus. 1-2 years experience working with immigration policy and issues. Legislative advocacy experience preferred.
Excellent writing, research, and verbal communication skills. Working knowledge of the legislative and political process. Knowledge of or familiarity with web-based and online programming and formatting, including HTML formatting and Capwiz. Prior experience serving and working with associations or other constituent-based organizations.
Our workplace -
Noted for its employee friendly approach, our staff represents the absolute best and the brightest! Staff take great satisfaction in our cause - immigration reform. We offer a dynamic, empowering and collaborative work environment that allows staff members to reach their full potential.
We offer an extremely attractive total compensation package, including competitive salary, medical, dental, vision, disability, life, 401K with employer match, transit subsidy, flexible work schedules, 3+ weeks vacation, 11 Federal holidays, on-site fitness center, casual dress and many more exciting benefit programs.
In recognition of our generous package, AILA received an Honorable Mention in the Washingtonian Magazine Best Places to Work edition in both 2005 and 2007, and is a 2010 winner of The Principal® 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security.
To apply -
We encourage QUALIFIED candidates to forward cover letter, resume, desired salary and writing sample to: AILA-HR-Idealist / or 202.783.7853, fax.NOTE: Cover letter and resume also will be used as writing samples. Cover letters without desired salary may not be considered. Direct hire only – no recruiters. No calls! EEO

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Case for Cultural Competency (Article in NY Law Journal)

The Case for Cultural Competency

Its importance lies in the potential for significant impact on the delivery of legal services.

Katherine Frink-Hamlett

When considering the concept of cultural competency within the legal community, it initially struck me as some amorphous and potentially elusive dynamic that would be difficult to discern with any reasonable certainty.

Diversity, while not simple to achieve, is fairly obvious when you see it and is glaringly apparent when it doesn't exist. Inclusion, again, not an easy accomplishment, but still, it is another one of those attributes that we can put a finger on: It can be recognized, documented and quantified. But cultural competency poses much greater challenges.

First, what the heck is it? Cultural competence is defined as a "set of academic and personal skills that allows [individuals] to increase [their understanding] and appreciation of cultural differences between groups."1 It also has been defined as "the understanding of diverse attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, practices and communication patterns, attributable to a variety of factors (race, ethnicity, religion, SES [socio-economic status], historical or social context, physical or mental ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, or generational and acculturation status).2

In effect, cultural competence is a professional skill that allows individuals and institutions to effectively communicate, negotiate and advocate across different cultural experiences and differences, irrespective of whichever laundry list of attributes they may (or may not) possess.

Okay, now that we have a general sense of the cultural competency dynamic, so what? What does cultural competency have to do with the law?

Arguably, nothing; a big, fat zero. Cultural competency really does not have significant relevance to the law 
per se: it's not an element of any statute or common law analysis that comes to mind. However, and as more fully explored here, cultural competence can have a significant impact on the delivery of legal services.
So, should law schools and law students be concerned about cultural competency as an integral component of legal education? Let's face it: It would be difficult, if indeed not impossible, to identify whether a law student is culturally competent by reviewing her resume or class rank.

In a legal market that has witnessed a contraction of available opportunities for law school graduates, the notion of developing culturally competent law students may not be considered a priority for law school deans or administrators. However, despite the marketplace challenges that plague both law students and recent grads alike, there is little doubt that law students are better served by law schools that include cultural competency in their curricula. And, from a legal recruiter's perspective (that would be me), a culturally competent practitioner, particularly in a global economy, is a gem.

Angela O. Burton, an associate professor at CUNY School of Law of New York, also considers cultural competency to be an extremely necessary skill that should be introduced to law students early on in their legal instruction and reinforced throughout their law school experience.

Professor Burton explains that CUNY is a special law school because it serves a dual mission: preparing law students to practice in the service of human needs and providing access to the legal profession to underrepresented populations. As a result, it boasts a diverse and inclusive student body and faculty:
"Because so many of our students serve a diverse community we have no choice but to incorporate cultural competency into our curricula."

To that end, cultural competency is taught as a distinct topic along with ethics, professional responsibility and substantive law courses. Further, the faculty at CUNY has studied the issue of cultural competency so that it is included in CUNY's curriculum in a deliberate and methodical way.

Among Professor Burton's courses is a second-year lawyering class involving children, families and the child welfare system. Clearly, this is an area fraught with race, class and cultural issues that emerge with respect to cases involving child abuse and neglect.

In addition to bringing in practitioners who speak to the real life experiences of clients, Professor Burton also includes specific segments designed to develop cultural competency skills. On some occasions, the cultural competency component generates as much debate as the issues surrounding substantive law.

For example, in one case, a parent was accused of neglect because the child was required to kneel on rice as a form of discipline. One student observed that cultural competence was irrelevant to the issue since the final disposition of the case was a finding of neglect and the determination would remain unchanged whether the lawyer was culturally competent or not.

Legally, correct; but, upon further examination, and as explained by Professor Burton, the legal outcome many not change but utilizing a culturally competent approach could very well impact the manner in which the attorney advocates for, and counsels, her client. Without minimizing the harm done to any child who is the subject of abuse or neglect, it is relevant to understand that the practice, while an act of neglect, represents a cultural phenomenon that had been passed down for generations.

So, instead of seeing the client as an uncaring or hateful parent, cultural competence enables the law student/advocate to view the client through a culturally competent lens. Presumably, this approach paves the way towards compassionate advocacy and instructional counseling because the client's motivations are understood rather than demonized.

For these and other related reasons, Professor Burton believes that it is critically important for law students to recognize cultural competence as a distinct issue.

"Actually naming the thing raises awareness and helps our law students become better lawyers and more effective advocates."

A Similar Perspective
Cynthia Ward, assistant dean of students and professor of law at Thomas M. Cooley Law School shares a similar perspective. Having served as a public interest lawyer for the developmentally disabled, low-income women of color and the elderly, Professor Ward recognized early on the need for cultural competency development for law students and took the extra step of designing a two-credit elective course specifically dedicated to teaching cultural competency skills.

The course is primarily experiential in nature. It begins with a cultural competency assessment survey and includes various exercises to enable students to have a better appreciation of their clients' experiences. In addition, all law students with externships are required to dedicate a week to cultural competency skill building that includes the creation of a reflective journal.

Professor Ward becomes particularly excited when students share an "Aha" moment, an occasion where they understand why a client with a completely different cultural background has engaged in undesirable and, sometimes, illegal conduct.

Even when an exchange is a display of cultural incompetence, it can still yield a valuable learning lesson. For example, a homeless Latina woman was extremely concerned about satisfying a debt owed by her incarcerated son. She was advised that since it was not her debt she was not legally obligated to pay it and encouraged to focus on improving her own situation. However, her overwhelming sense of guilt surrounding the incarceration of her son, her particularly close relationship with him and the duty she felt as a mother overrode any applicable legal analysis.

Because the advocate failed to discern these nuances, the communications between client and attorney were stifled and ultimately hampered the attorney's ability to serve the client. So while Professor Ward doesn't claim that cultural competency can be achieved in a 14-week course, like Professor Burton, she considers it to be essential for law students to be mindful of the issue and how it translates to the practice of law.

Application in the Private Sector

Possessing cultural competency skills is not limited to public interest practitioners who serve disenfranchised or marginal populations. It is especially relevant in the private sector as transactions and legal disputes increasingly span the globe.

As succinctly stated by Nelson P. Miller, associate dean and professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, "once seen as a social imperative, cultural competence is now viewed as a business imperative."

Professor Miller explains that changes in local, regional and international demographics require lawyers to have cultural competency skills to reach broad business segments. Paulette Brown, a partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and chairperson of the firm's diversity committee, agrees.

Ms. Brown is a well-known and highly regarded diversity trailblazer in her own right. As one of the first black female partners, an accomplished practitioner, the recipient of numerous legal awards, a ubiquitous panelist and voracious writer, she knows a thing or two about what's required for law students to become successful practitioners. So for her and the firm, cultural competency is not only desired but required.

As Ms. Brown emphasizes, lacking cultural competency makes "it difficult to comply with the client's needs and difficult to have a reasoned resolution to client problems." For the firm, developing culturally competent practitioners enables them to deliver "something other than homogenous opinions."

Ms. Brown further explains that "[cultural competency] adds value to our clients and ultimately to the firm because you need to be able to relate to the client—you make them look good and operate in a manner that is consistent with their goals and objectives."

From the top of its ranks to entry level associates, cultural competency is interwoven throughout the firm's diversity activities beginning with law students who are routinely invited to firm-sponsored receptions that include cultural competency discussions and events.

For example, one group of law students was treated to a special movie presentation regarding Brown v. Board of Education that included a question and answer session with the movie's director. Further, cultural competency is included in the firm's diversity training retreats for higher level practitioners.

And here's another observation: Ms. Brown noticed that several law students now specifically seek firms that include cultural competency as a component of their training and orientation. For these law students, a firm's emphasis on cultural competency serves as an indicator that the firm may be progressive in other areas as well.

Part of Law School Curriculum?

Ms. Brown considers that law schools can certainly play an important role in developing culturally competent law students in light of the growing importance of this skill to the legal community. She cites to the fact that a few states have recently considered including a cultural competency component in their continuing legal education requirements.

A relatively recent report, the "Carnegie Report on Educating Lawyers," specifically recommended the inclusion of cultural competency courses to the American Bar Association's Accreditation Standards Review Committee as part of the Committee's review of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools:
Carnegie is instructive about the types of curricular criteria the ABA can adopt to guide law schools in their comprehensive and continuous development of law students' professional identities. …All courses involve ethical considerations. Pulling them to the forefront is the professor's duty. …Schools can also create a number of ethics-specific electives such as…Cultural Competency in the Legal Profession.3

Amy Timmer, one of the authors of the article in which the Carnegie recommendation is made, and associate dean of students and professionalism and professor of law at Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, stresses that cultural competency skills enable law students to be less self-focused and effectively connect to other people. For her, the whole point of practicing law is to be able to make those connections whether you're a judge, a private sector practitioner or a public interest advocate.

More than just a buzz term, cultural competency is a vital component of law practice and a necessary skill. Not only does it naturally creep into various law courses like criminal procedure, immigration clinics, international arbitration, etc., it is a distinct and separate phenomenon that requires specific instruction for this next generation of 21st century law students and practitioners.

Katherine Frink-Hamlett, a graduate of New York University School of Law, is president of Frink-Hamlett Legal Solutions Inc.

Pisa and Freiburg Programs - Application Deadline this Friday

As a reminder, applications for the Pisa, Italy and Freiburg, Germany programs are due this Friday, April 29, 2011.  Information on the locations, course offerings, schedules, and cost can be found on the Freiburg and Pisa program websites.  Please feel free to review the material online for these programs and apply if interested.

The International and Comparative Health Law Program is taking place in Pisa, Italy from May 28 to June 11, 2011.  The program is co-sponsored by Hofstra Law School and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.  The university is located in the heart of the old city of Pisa in the charmed Tuscany region of Italy.

The International Criminal Law Program is taking place in Freiburg, Germany from July 30 to August 13, 2011.  The program is co-sponsored by Hofstra Law School and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law.  The Institute is located in the Black Forest area on the southwestern tip of Germany bordering France and Switzerland.

Each program costs $4,200, which includes tuition & fees for 3 credits of class, hotel accommodations for 14 nights, medical insurance, activities, and a field trip.  The current rate for summer classes is $ 1,533 per credit.  So for a 3 credit class on campus you pay $4,599, which does not include housing.  The only major additional cost is the flight to Pisa or Freiburg, which are currently between $900 and $1200 round trip. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about our programs.