Georgia Law students earn international practice experience as Global Externs

Ten rising 2L and 3L students at the University of Georgia School of Law are taking part in Global Externships Overseas this summer. Administered by the Dean Rusk International Law Center, the GEO initiative places Georgia Law students in externships lasting from four to twelve weeks, and offers students the opportunity to gain practical work experience in a variety of legal settings worldwide.

These Global Externs are enhancing their legal education through placements – remote this summer, on account of the pandemic – in law firms, in-house legal departments, and nongovernmental organizations based in Asia, Europe, and South America. Practice areas include dispute resolution, corporate law, refugee law, and international human rights law.

This year’s GEO class includes these placements in private law settings:

  • Ben Bacia (3L) – PSA India, New Delhi, India
  • Starlyn Endres (3L) – Orange, Brussels, Belgium
  • Savannah Grant (2L) – Araoz y Rueda, Madrid, Spain
  • Nishka Malik (2L) – Orange, Brussels, Belgium
  • Alina Salgado (2L) – MV Kini & Co., New Delhi, India
  • Maha Toor (2L) – Syngenta AG, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Additionally, the following students are working in public law placements:

  • Collin Douglas (2L) – Documentation Center of Cambodia, Phnom Penh
  • Caleb Grant (2L) – Documentation Center of Cambodia, Phnom Penh
  • Savannah Grant (2L) – No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium
  • Bradford Lorenz (3L) – Boat People SOS, Center for Asylum Protection, Bangkok, Thailand

Georgia Law clinic joins in publishing advisory for immigrant detainees

The Community Health Law Partnership Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law and four other law school clinics have published a lengthy practice advisory intended to assist immigrants currently or previously held at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

The practice advisory is designed to help them in seeking damages, stays of removal, and long-term immigration relief based on the abuse they suffered at the detention center (prior posts). It thus provides detailed instructions on how to: file claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act; request stays of removal from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); file complaints with the U.S Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and apply for U Visas.  

Taking part in this effort at the Georgia Law were Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and 3L Frederick King.

Joining them were the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program, Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild. These and other entities have been collaborating on behalf of the Irwin detainees, including in ongoing litigation in Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. 

Georgia Law clinics share in national CLEA Award for work on behalf of immigrant women who endured abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Efforts on behalf of immigrant women detained in a U.S. immigration center have earned national recognition for the Community HeLP Clinic and First Amendment Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Georgia Law clinics will share that recognition – the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project – with law clinics at Harvard, Columbia, Texas A&M, and Boston universities.

The CLEA Award will be presented online 12 noon-1 pm Eastern Friday, April 30, as part of the annual Conference on Clinical Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

The clinics’ project confronted abuse of immigrant women while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin Detention Center, a privately run facility in south Georgia. As previously posted, the women there were subjected to nonconsensual, medically unindicated, or invasive gynecological procedures. Those who spoke out about abuses faced accelerated deportation proceedings, solitary confinement, and other acts of retaliation. The project has pursued several administrative, judicial, and advocacy avenues, including ongoing litigation of Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

The Project’s efforts have resulted in the release of nearly all 80 women in ICDC, as well as over 200 men, and stays of deportation for most of the Oldaker plaintiffs.

Leading the project on behalf of Georgia Law were Jason Cade (above right), Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, and Clare Norins (above left), Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic. Also taking part in this team effort were 3L students Raneem Ashrawi, Frederick King, Julia Griffis, and Anish Patel, 2L students Thomas Evans, Paige Medley, and Davis Wright, First Amendment Clinic Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton, Community HeLP Clinic Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

Other collaborators included non-profits, private firms, legislative advocates, and community organizers.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students ask for asylum and withholding of removal in 11th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit heard arguments this week in an asylum and immigration case prepared by a team of students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic.

Georgia Law 3L Maddie Conkel argued on behalf of the petitioner in Case No. 19-15144, Denis Aguilera Fernandez v. Garland. On account of the Covid-19 pandemic, Conkel’s argument was delivered online to a panel composed of Eleventh Circuit Judges William H. Pryor Jr., Jill A. Pryor, and Ed Carnes (audio here).

In earlier proceedings both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed that the Clinic’s client – whom Cuban police had detained and beaten repeatedly over two years in an effort to prevent him from protesting the Cuban government – was “thoroughly credible.”  They further agreed that his mistreatment, though “severe and regrettable,” did not rise to the level of “persecution,” and that he had no reasonable fear of future persecution.

Conkel’s argument sought reversal of the resulting denials of asylum and withholding of removal. Georgia Law 3L Sarah Nelson helped Conkel prepare for the argument, and several other students helped the Clinic brief the case. 

The Eleventh Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law alumna Chanel Chauvet publishes at Opinio Juris on POW remittances, in blog symposium on 2020 GCIII Commentary directed by alumnus Jean-Marie Henckaerts

Pleased to note the publication last Thursday by a recent graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, as part of an ongoing joint symposium sponsored by Opinio Juris and by the Humanitarian Law & Policy Blog of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Author of the contribution entitled “Prisoners of War Remittances – Financial Challenges of Sanctions and Conversion Rates” is Chanel Chauvet, who earned her J.D. degree from Georgia Law in 2018, and also, just last year, her LL.M. degree cum laude in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland.

Applying a case study of relations between Iran and the United States, Chauvet’s post details the obstacles faced by a prisoner of war, or POW, in securing remittances – funds that family members send “in an effort to contribute to the POW’s financial welfare” – on account of financial sanctions regimes and currency conversion rates. She concludes with recommendations that would remove remittances from the effects of these regimes, writing:

“The legal landscape governing POW remittances is insufficient, and as such, states should collectively address the obstacles that damage the financial health of POWs by incorporating specific protections for POWs (e.g., a legal exclusion for POW payments and remittances) from the effects of the banking sanctions that are in place in their Power of Origin.”

While a J.D. student, Chauvet served as a Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassador and a research assistant to the Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, Professors Harlan Cohen and Diane Marie Amann. She completed the Grotius Centre Summer School on Humanitarian Law at Leiden Law School in the Netherlands, competed on a winning Model African Union team, served as worldwide student president of the International Law Students Association, and was the recipient of the Blacks of the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting Scholarship.

Chauvet is a member of the Bars of the State of Georgia and of the District of Columbia.

At the Geneva Academy, she was elected the Student Council LL.M. Representative and was the student commencement speaker. She served as a Legal Intern in the International Law & Policy Department at the ICRC, and also made presentations at meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in her capacity as the Permanent Representative in Geneva for the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

Chauvet’s LL.M. thesis, from which the Opinio Juris post draws, was supervised by a Geneva Academy professor who is himself earned his LL.M. at Georgia Law in 1990: Dr. Jean-Marie Henckaerts, Legal Adviser in the ICRC’s Legal Division and a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council.

Chauvet’s post forms part of a symposium of articles analyzing aspects of Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949. Commentary of 2020. Known colloquially as GCIII, that commentary is the third published under Dr. Henckaerts’ directorship. Indeed, we at the Center were honored to host a daylong conference marking the issuance of the initial volume, the Commentary on First Geneva Convention, with papers published in the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law.

“Future of Global Health Governance” topic of Monday’s Georgia Law international journal conference

Global Healthcare Governance Conference Header

“The Future of Global Healthcare Governance” is the topic of the annual Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law daylong symposium, to be held this Monday, January 25.

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center of the University of Georgia School of Law are cosponsoring this online conference along with GJICL and the law school’s Health Law Society and International Law Society, as well as the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Public & International Affairs, and School of Social Work.

Taking into account the effects of globalization and climate change on the spread of historically localized pathogens — among them, H1N1, Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19 — the conference will re-examine legal and other frameworks designed to respond to global pandemics. The roles to be played by stated and by international entities like the World Health Organization will be explored. To quote the concept note:

“This conference will address three crucial questions of global health governance. It will consider, first, whether and how the ailing global public health infrastructure might be reinvigorated; second, how the pandemic has threatened and exposed limitations of the social safety net in the United States and other economies around the world; and, finally, the phenomenon of vaccine refusal and what national and international legal institutions might do to curb it.”

Delivering opening remarks will be Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Elizabeth Weeks, the University of Georgia Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Charles H. Kirbo Chair in Law. A keynote address, panel presentations, and breakout sessions will follow. These include (all times Eastern):

10:30-11:30 a.m. The Role of International Organizations in Global Health Governance, moderated by Georgia Law Professor Fazal Khan. Speakers: Thomas J. Bollyky, Council on Foreign Relations; Benjamin Mason Meier, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Alexandra Phelan, Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science & Security; Pedro Villarreal, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law; and Alicia Yamin, Harvard Law.

12:45-1:45 p.m. The Role of Federal Governments in Pandemics, moderated by Elizabeth Weeks, the University of Georgia Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Charles H. Kirbo Chair in Law. Speakers: Christina S. Ho, Rutgers Law; Renée M. Landers, Suffolk Law; Gwendolyn Roberts Majette, Cleveland-Marshall Law; and Wendy Parmet, Northeastern Law.

2-3 p.m. The Global Campaign for the Collective Good, moderated by Hillel Y. Levin, Alex W. Smith Professor of Law at Georgia Law and Director of UGA Law in Atlanta. Speakers: Shawn Harmon, Dalhousie University; Glen Nowak, University of Georgia; Saad Omer, Yale School of Medicine; and Dorit Reiss, California-Hastings Law.

3:30-4 p.m. Keynote Address by Marice Ashe, ChangeLab Solutions, and Elsie E. Hayford, Lamèsè.

Papers will be published in a forthcoming GJICL issue. The full program, with registration information, is available here.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students win victory for client in 9th Circuit immigration case invoking Convention Against Torture

A woman seeking withholding of removal from the United States has won her challenge to an adverse ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals – a challenge briefed and argued by students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

By a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded to the BIA.

The panel majority in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr, comprised Ninth Circuit Judge Margaret M. McKeown and U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. Its opinion effectively reinstated the first decision in the case, in which an Immigration Judge had ruled for the Clinic’s client, Graciela Arellano Herrera, whose parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth.

In oral arguments conducted online this past September (prior post), Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued that if Arellano Herrera were sent back to her native Mexico it was more likely than not that member of a drug cartel would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials. To permit such a risk, the Clinic team contended, would violate non-refoulement (non-return) obligations that the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture. The panel majority agreed.

The panel’s third member, Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, agreed that the BIA had erred on one challenged ground, but in his view the BIA was correct in finding that Arellano Herrera could safely relocate in Mexico. He thus dissented, reasoning that the latter finding alone supported affirmation of the BIA ruling.

The Clinic team included Sigalos and his classmates, 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year. They worked under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch, the Clinic’s Director, and Anna White Howard, the Clinic’s Counselor in Residence. (prior posts)

Georgia Law clinics join to assist in litigation by immigrant women alleging abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Two clinics here at the University of Georgia School of Law have joined forces on behalf of women who allege they endured abusive gynecological and other medical treatments, as well as inhumane conditions and retaliation, while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at a privately run facility in south Georgia.

Allegations became public with a September report by an independent team of experts who reviewed complaints by detainee-whistleblowers at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, located 187 miles south of Atlanta and 55 miles north of Valdosta.

Investigations, congressional inquiries, and litigation ensued – including a habeas corpus petition that one detainee, Yanira Yesenia Oldaker, filed November 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School in New York represents Oldaker.

A mid-November phone call led to the representation by Georgia Law’s Community HeLP and First Amendment Law Clinics of another Irwin detainee-whistleblower. Because ICE has sought – at times successfully – to deport detainees who assist in exposing conditions, the case implicates both immigration statutes and the Constitution’s free speech guarantees.

The Georgia Law clinics prepared a motion on behalf of their client and 21 other detainees, women who migrated to the United States from at least 4 continents. Filed last Thursday, the motion and memorandum of law (available here) seek to add these women’s declarations in support of the Oldaker petition; additionally, to permit 19 of the women, who fear retaliation if identified, to proceed using “Jane Doe” pseudonyms and to file under seal their declarations, which contain allegations of abuse.

Clare R. Norins, Assistant Clinical Professor and a clinic director, explained:

While normally the First Amendment Clinic stands on the side of transparency in the courts, this time we are arguing for less public access in order to protect our client and the other 21 women from suffering retribution for exercising their free-speech right to describe their inhumane treatment to the court, and in so doing, petition to government for grievances.

The motion is pending before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in Valdosta.

Taking part in this team effort were faculty, staff, and students: for the First Amendment Clinic along with Professor Norins were 3L Anish Patel and Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton; and for the Community HeLP Clinic, the director, Associate Dean  Jason A. Cade, and Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd. Providing further assistance, including translation from English to Spanish, was administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

Georgia Law alumna Lauren Brown publishes on “Legal Answer to the China Question” in NATO Legal Gazette

“Partnership, Not Pivot: NATO’s Legal Answer to the China Question” is the title of an article by Georgia Law alumna Lauren Brown, just published at 41 NATO Legal Gazette 27-45 (2020). The essay appears in an issue devoted to the subject of “Legal Aspects of Innovation.”

Brown wrote the article while serving in Spring 2019 as a full-semester NATO Legal Extern in Mons, Belgium, an experience she described in a prior post.

With reference to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Brown’s Legal Gazette essay asserts:

“[T]he Organization is falling behind in addressing the multipolar reality that has defined the geopolitical landscape since the early twenty-first century. This multipolar world features as primary influencers the United States, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China. And it requires NATO to undertake innovation in its strategy; in particular, to broaden its partnership initiatives formally to include China.”

The essay proceeds to outline multiple ways by which such a partnership might be forged, and concludes that “NATO’s future relevance is contingent upon its ability to directly and formally engage China in a meaningful cooperative partnership.”

Brown earned her Georgia Law J.D. degree magna cum laude in 2019. Since then, she has practiced as an Associate in the International Trade Practice at the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

She also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and B.A. in International Studies, with highest distinction, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Before beginning her legal studies, she had worked as a news analyst in the Washington area. Her activities at law school included: Articles Editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law; Research Assistant to Professor Harlan G. Cohen, our Center’s Faculty Co-Director; and Summer 2017 Global Extern at War Child Holland in Amsterdam.

Brown was Georgia Law’s inaugural NATO Legal Extern, thanks to a partnership between our Center and NATO Allied Command Transformation. That initiative is ongoing, as indicated by 3L Miles Porter’s recent post on his experience at NATO HQ SACT in Norfolk, Virginia.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students invoke Convention Against Torture in 9th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)

Joining Sigalos on the briefs were his classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic (prior posts), 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year.

Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.

Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.