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June 23, 2009, Vol. 3, No. 1

The mission of Clinical Law News is to keep Clinic alumni and friends connected with the people and projects of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Washington School of Law.

In this issue:

  • Hold the Date: November 6, 2009--Clinics Celebrate 30 Years via CLE
  • AALS Recognizes Ron Whitener of Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic
  • Innocence Project Northwest Clinic Secures 13th Conviction Reversal
  • Governor Gregoire Signs Bill Drafted by Children and Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic Students
  • Client Lauds Unemployment Compensation Clinic Students
  • Students Gain Multifaceted Experiences in Kathy & Steve Berman Environmental Law Clinic
  • Prof. Alan Kirtley of Mediation Clinic Becomes AALS-CLE Section Secretary
  • Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook Now Available Through Court Improvement Training Academy
  • John Clynch Hired as Staff Attorney for Federal Tax Clinic
  • Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic Adds Mary Rodriguez to Staff
  • Kelly Canary Joins Innocence Project Northwest Clinic as Staff Attorney
  • Family Benefits From Immigration Law Clinic Students' Representation

Hold the Date: November 6, 2009--Clinics Celebrate 30 Years via CLE

Clinic reception areaIn 1979, Professor Charles Z. Smith (now retired Justice of the Washington Supreme Court) launched the University District Defender Services, giving ten UWLS students valuable experience in criminal defense. Subsequently, Professor Alan Kirtley established the Clinical Law Program and over almost a quarter century expanded it into eleven clinics of diverse and interdisciplinary scope. Today more than 110 students per year enroll in clinics and nearly 60% of UWLS J.D. students have clinic experience upon graduation. Clinical education is now part of the curriculum and central to the School's commitment to public service. Please join us on Friday, November 6, as we celebrate these 30 years with a day of Continuing Legal Education (Professionalism in Practice: Ethics in Action ) in William H. Gates Hall followed by a reception at the Burke Museum. Jenny Durkan will be the keynote speaker. We look forward to seeing you there!

AALS Recognizes Ron Whitener of Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic

Ron Whitener Professor Ron Whitener, Director of the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, has received the M. Shanara Gilbert "Emerging Clinician" Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Clinical Legal Education. The Award was presented to Ron in May at a special ceremony during the Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Cleveland, Ohio. Through the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, Ron has made access to justice a reality for clients and has helped to train a new generation of advocates. For many tribal members facing criminal charges, the Clinic is the only source of representation because tribal courts are not required by law to provide legal representation to the accused. In response to the need for representation, Ron has expanded representation to additional tribes through his fundraising efforts. He has helped to build the Clinical Law Program at the University of Washington Law School and has served as a resource for many tribes and other clinical law programs. In addition to guiding students in the direct representation of accused persons, Ron's scholarship includes sole and co-authorship of several journal articles focusing on legal and health issues of American Indians. He actively promotes international clinical legal education through his Clinic's collaboration with the UW's Asian Law Center Afghan Legal Educators Program. After graduating from the UW School of Law in 1994 Ron became tribal attorney for the Squaxin Island Tribe in Washington (of which he is a member). He advised the tribal government on treaty rights, gaming and enterprises and infrastructure development. In 2000 he took a position with the Northwest Justice Project's Native American Unit in Seattle, where he practiced until joining the UW Law School faculty in 2002.

Innocence Project Northwest Clinic Secures 13th Conviction Reversal

Jackie McMurtrie When a Washington State Appeals Court reversed the conviction of James Anderson the IPNW Clinic secured its 13th conviction reversal. He was released just in time to enjoy his first holidays at home in five years. Evidence produced by Clinic student Boris Reznikov, '08, helped Anderson prove he was in California when the crime of which he was convicted was committed in Tacoma, Washington. Chris Carney, '00, served as co-counsel on the case.

Significant to the operation of the IPNW Clinic is a gift of $281,000 from the RiverStyx Foundation to provide additional capacity to assist those who may have been wrongfully convicted. As a consequence of the gift, Kelly Canary has been hired as Clinic staff attorney. In addition to the new position, over the next two years this generous gift will fund investigative costs for cases and a symposium. The RiverStyx Foundation has also provided seed funding for the Integrity of Justice Project ("IJP"), a new statewide public policy and education effort involving the UW Law School and the other two law schools in Washington state: Gonzaga and Seattle University. The IJP will work to foster a collaborative partnership among prosecutors, law enforcement, defense lawyers, the courts and others to identify best practices and procedures that can help ensure accurate determination of guilt or innocence.

In other good news for the Clinical Law Program and Law School, Professor Jacqueline McMurtrie recently received a President's Award from the Washington Defender Association at its annual conference in recognition of her work with the Clinic and the Washington State Bar Association Committee on Public Defense. Additional recognition has come to her via a Washington Law School Foundation Scholars Award to support her collaboration with experts throughout the country in publishing a textbook for use in clinics and post-conviction relief courses.

Governor Gregoire Signs Bill Drafted and Promoted by Children and Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic Students

CAYLAC and Governor Gregoire Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed ESHB 1954 into law at the end of April. Drafted and lobbied by Clinic students on behalf of their client, Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington ("SYLAW"), the act provides for sealing a certain type of juvenile criminal history record (deferred dispositions) automatically when a youth turns 18 years old. This will help hundreds of young people each year move on with their lives and obtain employment, educational opportunities and housing. The act amends RCW 13.40.127 and goes into effect July 26. Kim Ambrose, Interim Director of the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic reports that it is particularly rewarding for her to see practice inform policy--the bill stemmed from the volunteer work that law students have been doing through UWLS SYLAW's Juvenile Records Sealing Project over the past four years (the Washington Defender Association recently presented Kim with a Certificate of Recognition for her role in the Project). The Legislative Advocacy Clinic partnered with the law student SYLAW group. Kim notes that Pam Crone, UW Law School lecturer, did a fantastic job of mentoring the students through the legislative process. Clinic students Katara Jordan, Nancy Garland, and Sarah Senser represented SYLAW and communicated with stakeholders as they drafted changes to the bill that would be acceptable to all. To see how the legislative process works and how one can influence and change public policy via different avenues, such as the legislative process, was impressive to Katara. She feels honored to work on a project that directly impacts the lives of so many individuals in a positive way.

This summer Kim Ambrose will apply her legal expertise in Beijing, China, as a volunteer in the Juvenile Justice and Clinical Legal Education Projects of International Bridges to Justice, an independent non-governmental organization that seeks to guarantee all citizens the right to legal representation, a fair trial and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.

Client Lauds Unemployment Compensation Clinic Students

2009 UCC Clinic GroupProfessor Deborah Maranville, Director of the Unemployment Compensation Clinic (UCC) and the Clinical Law Program was contacted by a client of the Clinic recently; below are portions of his communication.

. . . recently I was represented by two of your students, Andrew Ackley and Geoff Padilla, in an Office of Administrative Hearings appeal regarding my denial of unemployment benefits. First of all, I would like to commend you for the work you and your students do at the clinic, regardless of if I personally won my appeal or not, the work done there is vital to the well being of our communities. . . The " little guy" needs a voice when he has been wronged, and I believe the clinic gives him that voice. Thank you.

Andrew and Geoff first contacted me about a month ago; from the first time we spoke, they were positive, understanding and professional. They believed in my case and gave me hope for the upcoming hearing. For an individual who believes they were wronged, it was comforting to know that someone believes in your story and wants to help you. Both Andrew and Geoff did a fantastic job of getting all the facts out of me and then presenting it to the judge at the hearing through written memos and questions to the witnesses. Without their focus, legal research and fact gathering work I do not know if I would have prevailed as I did. They both did a fantastic job and I believe they will both make fine lawyers in the years ahead. Again, thank you for all the work done by your clinic.

Students Gain Multifaceted Experiences in Kathy & Steve Berman Environmental Law Clinic

2009 Environmental Clinic GroupStudents gain a wide variety of experience in their year-long enrollment in one of the Clinical Law Program's most popular clinics. According to Kathy and Steve Berman Environmental Law Clinic director Michael Robinson-Dorn, "People think of clinics as just litigating cases, and we certainly do that, but legal practice involves so much more. If our students leave here with only one thing, I hope it will be that the law is a public calling and that their job is to help solve problems creatively on behalf of their clients."

Under Professor Robinson-Dorn's guidance, several students were involved in legal research and advising family farmers on water supply issues raised by a planned ranch consisting of tens of thousands of cattle in eastern Washington. With less than ten inches of rain per year in this area, water for the cattle would come from the aquifer via a well. Neighboring family farmers are concerned that the massive water withdrawals needed for this large ranch will deplete their own wells and eliminate their livelihood. State interpretations that Washington law allows withdrawal of ground water for livestock watering without prior permitting create a complex legal environment for the preservation of water resources and protection of the smaller farm operations. To date, Clinic students have helped to educate citizen groups on the laws and have prepared farmers for a local hearing; yet another student has monitored proposed state legislation concerning livestock watering.

Another important project was completed for Clinic client, National Parks Conservation Association ("NPCA"), the nation's leading voice for national parks. Clinic students studied the current funding status of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument under its steward, the U. S. Forest Service. In past years, budget considerations have resulted in the closure of a visitor center and the transfer of another interpretive center to Washington State. The Clinic's final report concludes that transfer of the Monument to the National Park Service is likely to create a three to six-fold increase in funding per acre; result in at least 11,000 more visitors with an economic impact of $400,000 on nearby communities and draw additional visitors to regional historic attractions. NPCA is using the report to support its proposals for transfer before the Mount St. Helens Advisory Committee. Because of the more stringent use limitations in national parks, some groups oppose transferring oversight and propose other means to address the funding shortfalls. The Committee is expected to make its recommendations to the Washington congressional delegation soon.

The Clinical Legal Education Association awarded its Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project Award to the Clinic for its work on the Exxon Valdez Reopener Clause which included the Emmy Award-winning film The Third Trustee: Native Alaska and the Big Spill. Clinic students in past years, in addition to legal research and writing, visited Prince William Sound to obtain first-hand information for the litigation. The film documents the continuing impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound and the efforts of native Alaskans to enforce accountability for the ensuing harm being experienced in the region. Prof. Robinson-Dorn is executive producer of the film; in accepting the award he noted the important mission law clinics have in educating, training and inspiring the next generation of leaders and in providing representation to those members of the public most in need. He also recognized Professor William Rodgers for his essential and catalytic role in all matters relating to the Reopener Project. Central to completion of the documentary are Seattle film-maker Michael Harris and photographers Kevin Ely and Kirk Miller whose work also generated the regional Emmy Award.

Prof. Alan Kirtley Becomes AALS-CLE Section Secretary

Alan KirtleyRecently, Professor Alan Kirtley of the Mediation Clinic, became Secretary of the Clinical Legal Education Section of the Association of American Law Schools. He is the founding director of the University of Washington Law School Clinical Law Program and served in that capacity until 2007 when he stepped aside to concentrate on teaching. Alan is active in the area of alternative dispute resolution and served as an academic advisor to the national drafting committee of the Uniform Mediation Act; he was also instrumental in the Act's passage into law in Washington. Co-founder of the Northwest ADR Conference and the Northwest Clinical Teachers Conference, Alan is past Chair of the Washington State Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section. Before entering teaching he specialized in business law and commercial litigation as a partner in a Michigan law firm.

Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook Now Available Through Court Improvement Training Academy

 Juvenile Nonoffender BenchbookTim Jaasko-Fisher, Director, Court Improvement Training Academy ("CITA"), announces the availability of the June 2009 edition of Washington State Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook. It is free and can be downloaded from the CITA website: . Topics included in the Benchbook concern relevant federal and state statutes, dependency, termination and adoption proceedings, foster and shelter care, truancy, permanency planning, the Indian Child Welfare Act, emancipation, helpful checklists and other resources. Among the numerous contributors are Ingrid Mattson, project manager, Shawn Crowley and Sheila Malloy Huber, primary editors, Justice Bobbe Bridge, ret., Tim Jaasko-Fisher and Kim Ambrose, Interim Director of the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic, under whose umbrella CITA operates.

Recently CITA added four training sessions on child welfare to its catalog of downloadable recordings on its website. Among upcoming training topics offered June through September are: "Adolescent Brain Development," and a number of symposia on "Reasonable Efforts." These sessions and others are posted in the training calendar found on the web.

John Clynch is New Staff Attorney for Federal Tax Clinic

John ClynchProf. Scott Schumacher, Director, Federal Tax Clinic (FTC) is pleased to announce that John Clynch has joined the Clinic as Staff Attorney. John's background and experience ranges from singing classical music in Seattle and Los Angeles to serving on the board of the Seattle Downtown YMCA. A UWLS alum, John also earned his undergraduate degree in Geography and his LLM in Taxation at the UW. John's many years of legal experience include criminal defense as a public defender and serving as in house corporate counsel. Having worked in the FTC while earning his LLM, John has a strong appreciation of the need for representation among the public in resolving their tax disputes and the benefits of reducing the effects on families and individuals when such representation results in successful outcomes.

Other good news for the FTC is Prof. Schumacher's promotion to Associate Professor. In addition to directing the FTC, Scott's recent activities include publishing MacNiven v. Westmoreland and Tax Advice Using "Purposive Textualism" to deal with Tax Shelters and Promote Legitimate Tax Advice in the Marquette Law Review. He and his co-authors of the book, Tax Crimes and Tax Fraud, have begun a monthly column on criminal tax matters in the professional journal Tax Notes.

Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic Adds Mary Rodriguez as Legal Fellow

Mary RodriguezTribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic Director Ron Whitener has added Mary Rodriguez to the Clinc staff as Legal Fellow. In this capacity, Mary is the sole public defender for the accused in the Tribal Courts of the Port Gamble S'Klalam, Squaxin Island and Sauk-Suiattle Tribes. She is also admitted to appear before the Tulalip Tribal Court and represents defendants there on occasion together with other Tribal Clinic staff and Clinic students. She has always wanted to do public defense work and finds her position with the Clinic very satisfying because the Tribal Courts seek to impose sentences designed to remedy the cause of the criminal behavior. A UWLS alum, Mary participated in the Clinic in her second and third years of law school. She has twice traveled to the Southwest to participate in training that the Tribal Clinic conducts for the Navajo: once as a UWLS student and most recently as an experienced defense attorney who could relate her Pacific Northwest Court experiences with discovery procedure to the process extant in the Navajo system. She credits the Costco Diversity Scholarship she received as an undergraduate at the UW with providing additional motivation for her to work in public service for the benefit of the community.

Kelly Canary Joins Innocence Project Northwest Clinic as Staff Attorney

Kelly CanaryDirector Jacqueline McMurtrie is pleased to have Kelly Canary on board as Staff Attorney for the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic ("IPNW") as Staff Attorney. Kelly comes from Yakima, having served as a fellow with the Federal Public Defender there. She graduated UW with a degree in Philosophy and is an alum of the Law School. An IPNW Clinic student, Kelly also served as president of the IPNW student group. Her long term interest in those who are incarcerated unjustly prompted her to enter law school to pursue this specialty. She feels fortunate to be able to practice in this area of interest and finds it satisfying that the work of the Clinic provides students direct experience with the criminal justice system and gives clients hope since they would have nowhere else to turn.

Family Benefits From Immigration Law Clinic Students' Representation

Immigration clinic groupJuana and Cesar lived in Central America and moved to the U.S. to escape the poverty and violence of their homeland. The couple gave birth to their daughter in California, and moved to Washington state, where they have lived ever since. Fifteen years after filing for asylum Juana's application was denied and deportation proceedings were initiated against her and Cesar because they were undocumented. With the help of Chris Benoit and Genevieve Hayton, Immigration Law Clinic students, the family (now including a one year old son) asked the Immigration Judge for "cancellation of removal." Among other requirements, this form of relief requires an applicant to prove that a U.S. citizen family member would experience "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" should the applicant be deported. After assessing the good moral character of Juana and Cesar, as well as the hardship their daughter would experience upon her parents' deportation to their native country, the Immigration Judge granted Juana and Cesar permission to stay in the U.S. In discussing her experience with Juana and Cesar's case, Genevieve noted:

Working under fast-approaching deadlines on cases that carry substantial consequences has at times felt overwhelming. But knowing that my clinic partner and I are advocating on behalf of immigrants who wouldn't otherwise have legal representation during this challenging time makes all of our hard work worthwhile. The Immigration Law Clinic has been the most rewarding experience of my law school career!

Since the hearing, Cesar has continued to work as a mechanic and pastor. Juana also remains active in church. After graduating high school next year, their daughter plans to enter college and begin studies to become a doctor.

Clinical Law Program

Berman Environmental Law

Children and Youth Advocacy

Children and Youth Legislative Advocacy

Entrepreneurial Law

Immigration Law

Innocence Project Northwest

Federal Tax


Refugee & Immigrant Advocacy

Tribal Court Public Defense

Unemployment Compensation


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