Meet the 2019-20 Class of Legal Writing Fellows at UB School of Law; They Are Here to Help

The UB School of Law’s Legal Writing Center is a great resource for one-on-one assistance for currently enrolled students. UB Writing Fellows can help you with any writing assignment in law school, if permitted by the student’s professor. If you are an accomplished writer or somebody who is just getting comfortable with legal writing, we welcome you to seek feedback on your writing.

The Legal Writing Center is now closed and will reopen in late September or early October. If you are a current law student and need assistance with your writing during this time, please contact Dean Claudia Diamond.  

You may bring any substantive writing to the Legal Writing Center, including memos and letters, seminar papers, advocacy papers such as court memoranda and briefs, and writing samples for job interviews. Our Writing Fellows are available for appointments during a variety of times—contact us to schedule your consultation to get started on revising your work!

To meet with a Writing Fellow, please log in through the Appointment Tool in MyUBClick the light bulb icon in the Tools section. Choose “Legal Writing Center” in the drop-down menu to see available times and to receive instructions about forwarding your paper to your Fellow prior to your appointment. Appointments are typically 45 minutes to one hour and are generally available Monday through Friday. If you’re new to the online appointment system, you’ll have to register first.   

The following students have been appointed as Legal Writing Fellows for the current academic year. Feel free to ask for them when scheduling an appointment with the Legal Writing Center.

Sumbul Alam

Sumbul Alam

Sumbul Alam graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. As a third-year student, she serves as the articles editor for the University of Baltimore Law Review, a board member of the National Lawyers Guild, and chairs the Honor Board.

Alam has interned as the Court of Special Appeals, in The Hon. Alexander Wright’s chambers, and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This past summer, Alam enjoyed working at Ballard Spahr LLP.

Raquel Flynn  graduated from the University of Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in jurisprudence and a minor in business management. As a second-year day student, she serves as a staff editor for the University of Baltimore Law Review and as a law scholar for Prof. Bessler’s ILS/Civil Procedure class. She is also on the Honor Board, the National Moot Court team, and serves as the community service chair for the Women’s Bar Association.

Raquel Flynn

Raquel Flynn

Flynn also is a research assistant for both Professors Bessler and Lynch. This past summer, Flynn was a summer associate Gallagher, Evelius, & Jones. Next summer, she will serve as a summer associate at Venable LLP.

Reginald Smallwood is a Baltimore native who graduated from Morgan State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. As a third-year student, Smallwood is a staff editor for the University of Baltimore Law Review and a student attorney in the Mediation Clinic for Families.

Reginald Smallwood

Reginald Smallwood

Smallwood is also a Scholar for the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence. Smallwood has served as a summer associate at Miles & Stockbridge and Gallagher, Evelius & Jones. In addition, he has interned for the Hon. George L. Russell, III in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Prior to law school, Molly Shaffer attended Stevenson University, where she majored in legal studies and minored in English. As a second-year student, in addition to serving as a Legal Writing Fellow, Shaffer serves as a staff editor for the University of Baltimore Law Review and a research assistant for ITA Prof. Patricia Smith.

Molly Shaffer

Molly Shaffer

This past summer, Shaffer was a judicial intern for the Hon. Robert N. McDonald of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Nicholas Jordan is a third-year student who graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. In addition to being a Legal Writing Fellow, he serves as the publications editor for the Law Review and as a law scholar for Profs. Sellers’ and Stone’s Con Law and Criminal Law courses. He also works for Prof. Robert H. Lande and Visiting Prof. Scott Burnham as a research assistant.

Nicholas Jordan

Nicholas Jordan

Jordan is the team mentor for the National Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Team, for which he competed last spring. Following graduation, he will be clerking for Judge Arthur of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland for one year and then working at McGuireWoods as an associate in the business and securities litigation group.

Eaujee Francisco graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, cum laude, with a B.A. in philosophy and a French minor. He also earned an M.A. in Human Resources Management from the Catholic University of America. He has studied Francophone literature and culture in his hometown of New Orleans, as well as in Canada and France.

Eaujee Francisco

Eaujee Francisco

Prior to law school, Francisco worked as a human resources and payroll manager for Greenpeace, the largest independent environmental NGO in the world. After serving as a 1L Representative for the Student Bar Association, Wilson was chosen to serve on the Honor Board.

During the summer following his 1L year, Francisco interned for the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

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Students Invite The Hon. Theodore Chuang and U.S. Attorney Robert Hur to Speak About Their Legal Careers on Sept. 18

Join the UB School of Law’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association on Wednesday, Sept. 18, for a candid and open conversation with The Hon. Theodore Chuang, U.S. District Judge for the District of Maryland,and Robert Hur, U.S. Attorney for Maryland, as they discuss public service, leadership and the highlights and pitfalls they’ve encountered on their respective journeys to their current appointed positions.

The Hon. Theodore D. Chuang

The Hon. Theodore D. Chuang

Since 2014, The Hon. Theodore D. Chuang has served as a judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Judge Chuang began his career as a law clerk to The Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. After a few years with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Judge Chuang served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts, before entering into private practice at a prominent law firm in Washington, D.C.

Moving back to public service in 2007, Judge Chuang served in several capacities in the House of Representatives before serving in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Throughout his career, Judge Chuang has been active in professional and community organizations, including as an advisor to the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland.

U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur

U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur

Robert K. Hur has served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland since 2018. He oversees all criminal and civil investigations and actions brought on behalf of the United States in the District of Maryland. Hur clerked for The Hon. Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Hur worked for several years at an international law firm based in Washington, D.C., before entering public service with the criminal division of the Department of Justice. From 2007 until 2014, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland. In 2014, he rejoined his former firm as a partner in special matters and government investigations practice. Heeding the call of public service once more, Hur returned to the Department of Justice. Immediately prior to his current appointment, Hur served as principal associate deputy attorney general for the DOJ.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the 12th floor of the School of Law’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP is required. For additional information, contact shalom.choo@ubalt.edu.

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Summer Externship Reflections: Using Legal Research Skills to Support a Large Affordable-Housing Nonprofit

Prof. Neha Lall, director of externships at UB School of Law, asked her students to write essays about their summer externship experiences. Here is one of them, by 3L Christian Caicedo. He is concentrating his legal studies in environmental sustainability and affordable housing, with the intention of working in property development.

Originally from Miami, Fla., Caicedo earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with a certificate in Law and Societies, from Florida International University. He has been accepted into the University of Miami’s LL.M. program for Real Property Development for fall 2020.

The bar was on the floor — the bar for my expectations that is. My past work experiences in the legal world had not been a great fit. I had no way of knowing how much better it could be until my experience this past summer.

Christian Caicedo

Christian Caicedo

For 10 weeks, I was a legal extern for Enterprise Community Partners. Enterprise is a nonprofit affordable housing organization, one of the largest in the nation. They have invested billions of dollars into affordable and workforce housing around the country. I got to be a part of that impact.

I have always been interested in housing. My home city of Miami, Fla., is experiencing one of the worst affordable housing crises in the country. In fact, the semester before my externship began, I wrote a research paper into that affordable housing crisis and some of the solutions being implemented to reduce it. One of those solutions involved impact investing, in which Enterprise Community Partners is a leader. When the opportunity to extern with them arose, I knew I had to get involved.

I first applied to the externship after meeting one of the legal assistants at an internship/externship fair at the University of Maryland Law School. He was very responsive to all my questions. I really wanted to know everything that their externs do, and to be certain that I would have an opportunity to make an impact. It turns out that I worked with him almost every day! From that process, I reached out to the attorney who supervises the externs with my resume, other professional information, and a brief note about why Enterprise and its affordable housing mission was so important to me. I got the interview!

Upon starting my externship, I was a little nervous — but mostly excited to be there. All my previous experiences were with small firms (six people or less), so this was my first time in a large corporate environment. On our first day, all the different Enterprise interns met with the CEO and COO of the company to help us understand the importance of the impact we would have on so many people’s lives. I certainly appreciated this welcome and the chance to meet interns from other departments.

Throughout the internship, that positive environment remained. Everyone there works hard, but the importance of our mission is motivating and uplifting. As far as my own impact, the work that I did had a direct one. Most of what I did was legal research and memo writing, which was a welcome surprise from my previous experiences. Honestly, I had become so accustomed to the previous experiences that were all about last-minute items that I finished my first memo way too fast.

This was my first learning opportunity among many that summer. Once I slowed myself down and focused on creating long-term projects, I could see how important my role really was. For example, one of the assignments I worked on potentially saved the company a tremendous amount of money in tax dollars. Another assignment helped advise a fellow employee who was working abroad. My work directly impacted our mission.

This experience changed my career expectations. The working environment is supportive and positive and motivates you to come to work every day. I had not experienced that before. I enjoy doing legal research, and this externship helped me broaden my skills extensively. During my first year at law school, I wasn’t sure if an externship was for me, but now I would recommend it to anyone. Enterprise empowered me to do things I never expected and changed the direction of my career, and I never would have known if I didn’t give it a shot.

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UB School of Law’s Bronfein Family Law Clinic Takes on Issue of Family Separation

This post, by Shanta Trivedi, clinical teaching fellow in the Bronfein Family Law Clinic, recently appeared in a blog series on Social Justice in Legal Clinics produced by the Clinical Legal Education Association. It offers a glimpse into the difficult work of helping migrant families stay together in a challenging legal environment.

In May 2019, UB School of Law’s Bronfein Family Law Clinic (“UB FLC”) and the ACLU of Arizona jointly filed an amicus brief in the Arizona Supreme Court in support of Juan P., a Mexican father fighting to get his son out of foster care in the United States and back to his family in Mexico where he belongs.

Shanta Trivedi

Shanta Trivedi

The UB FLC represents indigent clients in custody, visitation, divorce and other family law proceedings and engages in litigation regarding important family law issues. It also partners with community organizations to tackle larger systemic issues through advocacy, education and legislative work. The fundamental, constitutionally protected liberty interest in the care, custody and control of one’s children is a core principle of the UB FLC’s work and the community it serves.

Juan P’s case was particularly compelling because it presented significant and timely issues of child custody and child welfare law that have broad implications for many children and parents, particularly during the ongoing family separation crisis at the southern border.

Juan P’s son, S.P., was born in the United States. When S.P. was only a year old, Juan P. was deported and S.P. returned to Mexico with his father to live with his father and siblings. The following year, S.P. came to the United States to visit his mother in California. Juan P. had daily contact with S.P. for several weeks until S.P.’s mother abruptly ceased contact. Despite repeated attempts to contact the mother and find out his son’s whereabouts, Juan P. was unable to locate them.

Unbeknownst to Juan P., S.P.’s mother had moved to Arizona and had been embroiled in child welfare proceedings, where she had been found an unfit parent. S.P. was placed in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (“DCS”) and ultimately with a foster family.

Juan P. only learned that his son was in foster care the next year and immediately contacted DCS to seek his son’s return to Mexico. Shockingly, instead of returning the child as required by law, DCS filed a motion to terminate Juan P.’s parental rights. That motion was ultimately dismissed without a hearing, but the Arizona Court of Appeals twice denied reunification based on concerns that S.P. had bonded with his foster family and reunification with his biological family might cause him harm.

Juan P., through his attorneys at the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate (“OPA”), filed a petition for review in the Arizona Supreme Court. UB FLC students Nathan Adams, Nell Fultz and Henry Lloyd, under the supervision of Clinical Teaching Fellow Shanta Trivedi and Clinic Writing Instructor and Assistant Professor Cheri Levin, researched and drafted a supporting amicus brief in conjunction with the ACLU of Arizona.

The brief argued that, under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, Juan P. had a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody and control of his son. The brief asserted that the state had no compelling interest in interfering with the parent-child relationship unless the parent was deemed unfit. In this case, the lower court had explicitly found Juan P. to be fit on more than one occasion. Thus, the state was unconstitutionally infringing on Juan P.’s fundamental right to parent his son.

The brief also argued that overall, the child welfare system disproportionately affects children of color and that this case was just one example of a larger systemic problem. Prejudice against minorities pervades the child welfare system, impacting which children are removed and which families are reunified. While this bias is often implicit, in this case it was overt and unapologetic.

DCS had placed S.P. with a foster family who did not speak Spanish and repeatedly violated court orders requiring the child to receive Spanish lessons so that he could better communicate with his father and siblings in Mexico. Worse, DCS had made disparaging remarks about Mexico on the record in arguing why S.P. should remain with his foster family. The brief asked the court not to sanction such open and hostile discrimination.

While the petition was ultimately denied, the students gained legal research and drafting experience and had a wonderful experience collaborating with a community partner. Most importantly, they learned a larger lesson: Family separation isn’t just happening at the border. Legal systems within this country separate families every day. And Juan P., like the thousands of other parents separated from their children, is continuing his fight.

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UB Establishes Law School Scholarship in Memory of Katrina Dennis, J.D. ’04, Member of USM Board of Regents

The University of Baltimore community is mourning the loss of Katrina J. Dennis, a 2004 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and a member of the University of Maryland Board of Regents. Dennis died on Aug. 30 following a battle with cancer.

Katrina Dennis

Katrina Dennis

A scholarship has been established in Dennis’ name through the University of Baltimore Foundation to benefit UB School of Law students. Donations are being accepted here.

“Katrina Dennis was a distinguished graduate of our law school,” said UB President Kurt L. Schmoke. “She served as a member of the Board of Regents and was active in many programs designed to inspire young people throughout the state. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.”

Dennis, a partner in the Baltimore office of the law firm Saul Ewing LLP, had served on a number of boards and commissions. Gov. Larry Hogan appointed her to the Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission in 2015 and to the Board of Regents in 2017. She also was appointed by former Gov. Martin O’Malley to the Board of Directors of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Dennis spoke at each of the UB School of Law’s 2018 and 2019 commencement ceremonies on behalf of the Board of Regents.

According to her USM biography, Dennis was named a 2017 Distinguished Woman by the Girls Scouts of Central Maryland, a “Rising Star” in Maryland by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2013 to present, and was selected as a 2016 Fellow to the Legal Council on Legal Diversity.

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Celebrate Constitution Day Sept. 17 with Prof. Wehle Book Talk and Panel Discussion at UB School of Law

Prof. Kim Wehle’s book, How to Read the Constitution–and Why, has gotten a lot of Americans talking about the relevancy of this document in today’s political landscape. What does the Second Amendment really say about gun ownership? How can we justify capital punishment when the Eighth Amendment specifically prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”? What can we do about gerrymandering?

how to read the constitution and whyOn Constitution Day, Sept. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m., Wehle and three colleagues will discuss the themes in the book and address such questions, including whether the way government operates in the modern era might be threatening the very system of checks and balances established in the Constitution, and thus weakening our democracy.

Panelists are former U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards; Prof. Jennifer Daskal, of American University’s Washington College of Law, and Prof. Michael Higginbotham, Dean Joseph Curtis Professor at UB School of Law. Dean Ron Weich will moderate the discussion, which will take place in the 12th floor reading room. The public is invited.

 

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Explore the Fascinating Trademark Case of The Slants with Front Man Simon Tam, Sept. 20 at UB School of Law

On Friday, Sept. 20, the UB School of Law and Womble Bond Dickinson LLP will present an evening of discussion and acoustic music with Simon Tam, front man of The Slants, an Asian-American dance-rock band founded to challenge racial stereotypes and named to defang a derogatory epithet. Ironically, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to trademark the band’s name, declaring it a disparaging term for people of Asian-American descent. The resulting lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court, which Tam and the band won in a unanimous free-speech decision.

Simon Tam

Simon Tam

“Slanted Justice: Free Speech and Trademark Law at the Supreme Court” will begin at 5 p.m. on the 12th floor of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center, home of the UB School of Law, 1401 N. Charles St. The event is free and open to the public, but an online RSVP is requested. Tam will perform live, recount his experiences and discuss the complex interplay between discrimination and free speech.

Tam, a musician, social-justice advocate and music-business commentator, formed The Slants in 2006, noting that the name was “a way of seizing control of a racial slur, turning it on its head and draining its venom.” At his attorney’s recommendation, he filed an application to register the band’s trademark with the USPTO. But the agency ruled that the name was disparaging to persons of Asian descent. Despite Tam’s gathering of evidence to the contrary, including support from the Asian American community, the USPTO stood its ground. Tam filed a lawsuit, which he initially lost in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but won in 2015. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in his favor in Matal v. Tam.

Tam continues to perform and advocate, and he is a frequent commentator on issues related to artistic freedom. The Slants remain active, and this year Tam published his memoir, Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court.

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