The Center on the Legal Profession regularly hires registered Harvard students (including incoming 1Ls) to provide help with our research projects. If you are interested in becoming a CLP research assistant, please email Bryon Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Empirical Research Grant (SERG)
The Center on the Legal Profession has created Student Empirical Research Grants (SERG) designed to enhance and contribute to practice-related student research at Harvard Law School. The fellowships include access to CLP’s research resources, the opportunity to meet and discuss research with faculty and peers, and financial support to enable students to conduct empirical research and writing projects that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive. SERG funding typically ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 and can be used to cover the costs associated with conducting empirical research, including survey design and administration, travel costs for site visits, interviews, other field research and related out-of-pocket expenses. The research project must be empirical in nature and must study the legal profession or a related aspect of the delivery of professional services. CLP Student Empirical Research Grants can be aggregated with other funding, such as winter term research grants. Fellowships are offered throughout the academic year, and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
Email Bryon Fong at email@example.com for more information.
RECENT SERG RECIPIENTS
- Netta Barak Corren, LLM class of 2013, SJD candidate
Netta’s research examines how judges can encourage compliance with the law where law and religion conflict. Her study, which focuses on the education system in Israel, is based on in-depth interviews with religious educators and school principals as well as controlled experiments. The project aims to identify the factors that affect compliance in conflicted situations and attitudes towards legal decisions. The project then aims to develop practical tools for judges to mitigate the conflict between law and religion and increase compliance with their decisions.
- Joseph Vardner, JD Class of 2011
Joe studied the use of alternative fee arrangements in large law firm litigation matters by interviewing and gathering quantitative data from large law firms that are part of the preferred provider networks of five large companies. His study seeks to assess the effectiveness of varying alternative billing approaches.
- Yan Luo, LLM Class of 2011
Yan’s project aimed to empirically examine the use of alternative billing arrangements by Chinese companies to purchase their legal service and the reasons behind their choices. Her project will particularly explore the impact of the unique legal, culture and social conditions in China on the choice of billing arrangements between Chinese companies and their international service providers.
- Jonathan Gingerich, JD Class of 2010 Along with an Indian law student collaborator Aditya Singh, Jonathan investigated academic integrity and student evaluation in Indian law schools by surveying law students and interviewing students and faculty to quantify the prevalence of plagiarism and other academic misconduct in Indian law schools, identify its causes, and determine how law schools presently evaluate students. This project will develop proposals for law schools and their regulators regarding how best to promote academic integrity and improve student evaluation.
- Kurt Chauviere, JD Class of 2010
Kurt studied legal education and the talent pipeline for legal process outsourcing firms in India, using survey and interview data from major LPOs as a starting point to track graduates in the market. His work collected data to illuminate recruitment practices at Indian law schools and to provide perspectives from recent law graduates on their legal training and career options. His study helped us gain understanding of how Indian legal talent is moving on a larger scale, and to contextualize legal education in new ways, including the nature of the professional development provided and the market’s ability to absorb new lawyers.
Public Interest Research Grant (PIRG)
The Center on the Legal Profession has created Public Interest Research Grants (PIRG) designed to encourage and help fund Harvard Law School student research projects focusing on the professional structures and norms, practice dynamics, and career challenges of public interest legal practitioners and other aspects of public sector legal service delivery. The fellowships include access to CLP’s research resources, the opportunity to meet and discuss research with faculty and peers, and financial support to enable students to conduct empirical research and writing projects that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive. PIRG funding, up to $2,500, can be used to help to defray a range of costs, including travel and interview expenses and the creation, distribution, administration and analysis of survey instruments. All HLS students may apply and PIRG funding may be aggregated with other funding, such as winter term research grants. Fellowships are offered throughout the academic year, and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
Email Bryon Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
RECENT PIRG RECIPIENTS
- Becca Donaldson, JD Class of 2016
Becca’s research will assess whether and how Washington state’s new Limited License Legal Technician (“LLLT”) model can achieve its goal of increasing access to justice in family law and in general. By adopting the model, Washington became the first state in the country to sanction non-lawyers to offer legal advice, albeit in an eponymously limited fashion. Washington may find LLLT practice so limited that the model struggles to increase access to justice in earnest. At the same time, the launch of the LLLT model offers constructive insights as other states consider its adoption. Becca will study the model directly from the pioneer cohorts of LLLTs through analyzing their motivations, expectations, and plans. Becca also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal and has interned with Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment, which supports the work of community paralegals around the globe.
- Madison Condon, JD Class of 2014
Madison is making a documentary film that explores the role of women in the community management of rural water resources. She will spend January 2014 working with the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) in Mewat, a Muslim majority district of India, outside of Delhi. In addition to suffering from extreme water scarcity, Mewatis currently lack capacity and empowerment in the assertion of water rights and entitlements. Her film will be used in trainings with community leaders on ways to better integrate women in the process of community governance. IRRAD will also use the film as an educational tool in its partnership with resource rights legal clinics at local India law schools. Madison has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Columbia University and is currently a joint degree student with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
- Valérie Duchesneau, JD Class of 2014
Valérie is researching sentencing for domestic violence-related crimes in modern urban India, including dowry deaths and murder. Indian society has shown increasing concern with gender inequality issues, as evidenced by the social uproar in the wake of the December 16, 2012 gang rape in Delhi. This research on sentencing will more closely observe judicial use of discretion in sentencing judgments in India, including the various factors that work to either reduce or increase perpetrators’ sentences once they are convicted. Valérie’s project will evaluate how the sentencing process in India’s criminal law system hinders or promotes gender equality and access to justice for women in the context of social change.
- Ashley Belyea, JD Class of 2014
Ashley’s research seeks to map the role of legal professionals in South Sudan—one of many states emerging from conflict to employ a provisional constitution and a re-design timeline. Constitutional re-design in many countries has proven hotly contested and insufficiently understood. Ashley will conduct interviews with participants and stakeholders in the National Constitutional Review Commission during January 2013 in order to identify actors’ perspectives on impacting the processes used and outcomes reached. She has a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, where her master’s thesis focused on constitutional dilemmas and global peace operations. She has served as an extern in the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of Defense and as a legal intern with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Sarajevo. Prior to law school, Ashley co-founded a U.S.-Bosnia exchange program for young dancers.
- Adriana Lee Benedict, JD Class of 2014
Adriana’s research explores the role of public interest lawyering in the field of intellectual property in emerging economies, particularly as impacted by international trade and investment agreements and related arbitration. To begin her research, she is traveling to Brazil to participate in the 2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, where she will be speaking to public interest lawyers from emerging economies about how intellectual property provisions in international trade and investment agreements impact their work. Importantly, Adriana’s research will aim to assess the current challenges and opportunities for South-North collaboration in this realm. Adriana is a student fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics. She holds leadership roles with the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, the Right to Research Coalition, and the Harvard Human Rights Journal, and is a researcher with the HSPH Program on Human Rights in Development. Adriana holds an S.M. (Global Health and Population) from the Harvard School of Public Health, and an A.B. from Harvard College (History and Science, with a secondary field in Government, and a Certificate in Mind, Brain and Behavior).
- Matthew Sundquist, Harvard College Class of 2009
Matthew’s research is examining how the political, legal, and economic conditions have sparked the creation of specialized Supreme Court practices beginning in 1985. In his research Matthew observes that court experts could be well-paid for litigating and many of these clinics are managed by and composed of former members of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). His project will measure the number of cases argued per term from 1983-2010 by former Deputies, Assistants, and Solicitors General who moved to private practice. Matthew will then gauge whether OSG veterans won more often than other advocates and whether they represent, more often than not, corporate interests to potentially explain whether former members of the OSG have had a disproportionate impact on the Court’s jurisprudence on behalf of corporations.
- Emily Inouye, JD Class of 2011
Emily’s work intends to highlight how globalization has affected pro bono legal services in Brazil and other Latin American countries. Her research is examining the role of globalization and the increased interaction between lawyers, firms, and bar associations in the promotion of pro bono practice while exploring the types of pressure applied by the international community to conform to pro bono standards and practice exercised in Europe and the US. To conduct her research, Emily attended a conference in Chile with participants from the NYC Bar Association and lawyers and representatives from bar associations and non-profit organizations throughout Latin America.
- Shafiq Poonja, JD Class of 2013
Shafiq, after being selected for an internship under Justice Dalveer Bhandari of the Supreme Court of India, chose to take this opportunity to examine the role of ADR within the Indian legal community, and its impact on India’s legal profession. His research will explore the role of mediation and arbitration within the Indian legal community by using his internship contacts to interview top government and legal professionals engaging with these mechanisms. Shafiq will also interview NGOs and smaller legal service centers to analyze how mediation and arbitration are used on a daily basis for smaller matters.
- Innocent Enga Kameni, LLM Class of 2010
Enga’s research addressed the African Development Bank’s African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) as a public sector practitioner support model. He conducted a critical examination of the ALSF and its practitioners in the context of the Zambia – Donagel case and analyzed the ALSF’s suitability in combating vulture funds. Enga reviewed many similar initiatives being made to see how the African Development Bank implemented them across the diverse legal backgrounds of its membership, and explored the possible challenges ALSF might face as a model. Enga’s additional research project aims to address HIV/AIDS, same-sex relationships and the legal profession in Namibia and South Africa. He is examining the impacts that HIV and homosexuality have had and might continue to have on the legal profession and bar development in Namibia and South Africa. From his findings, Enga intends to provide recommendations and examples of best practices that the legal fraternity in these countries might adopt to adequately respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS and homosexuality in these emerging markets.
- Supawon Lervisit, JD Class of 2011
Wonny is studying innovative community legal services initiatives and their delivery models by analyzing the effectiveness of a new “limited representation” model for tenants and former owners of foreclosed homes in the Boston area. Her research seeks to determine whether this less resource intensive approach could provide an effective, broader-reaching supplement to traditional legal services delivery and asking whether this model could be replicated in other cities or for other types of legal services.
- Andrea C. Rutherford, JD Class of 2010
Andrea is conducting research addressing the role and influence of legal aid lawyers on post-apartheid jurisprudence in South Africa. The study investigated the practice potential and influence of South African legal aid lawyers in post-apartheid South Africa in a more comprehensive and systematic way than has been done previously, including analyzing quantitative and qualitative data on all civil cases brought by legal aid lawyers to South Africa’s three highest courts from the end of apartheid through 2009.
- Abdul Baasit Abdul Aziz, SJD Class of 2010
Baasit conducted a study which examined the suitability of the ‘conventional’ code of conduct for lawyers for legal practice in Africa. Through a series of formal and informal interviews, and an analysis of public interest law terrain, Baasit explored some of the ethical challenges facing public interest law attorneys in Africa.
- Damjan Kukovec, SJD Class of 2013
Damjan examined the legal profession’s role in the construction and function of the European Union. This was done by exploring the unexamined consciousness of the EU legal profession, conducting an examination of EU lawyers’ background assumptions to find out what they see as problems to be solved and what they miss and investigating the legal profession’s role in the EU’s structure and operation not as a coalition of sector-specific experts, but rather as a special science of government with a cross-sectoral knowledge.
Davis Polk Paper Prize
The purpose of this prize is to encourage deeper reflection and consideration by Harvard Law School students about their chosen profession, its role in society, and the many challenges that lawyers face in a rapidly-changing world. Paper topics must relate to the legal profession itself or to a related aspect of the delivery of professional services. This could include (but is not limited to) topics such as legal careers, the role, structure and management of law firms, in-house legal departments, and other public and private sector legal service providers, diversity or gender-related issues, the impact of globalization or other social trends upon the profession, the role of lawyers and legal institutions in society, changes in the profession over time, comparisons between lawyers and other professional service providers, and the like.
Open to HLS students for work completed in the current academic year
Papers must examine the legal profession or a related aspect of the delivery of professional services
Papers will first be submitted to the HLS Dean’s Office and later reviewed by Professor David Wilkins (Faculty Director, CLP) and Derek Davis (Executive Director, CLP)
For more information, please contact the HLS Dean’s Office at email@example.com.