Faculty Post: Discussing Domestic Violence

by Jennifer Howard, Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence Institute

A woman steals her roommate’s food and an altercation ensues. When asked to clean up his trash, a brother consistently berates his sister, to the point she is afraid to come out of her room. Shelter mates “fight” over time in the bathroom and one continually stares down the other, causing fear. To force her partner to move out of the doorway and let her leave their apartment, a woman throws a remote control, knocking her partner in the eye.   A mother stabs a father’s arm with a fork to stop him from chasing after their teenage daughter. Each of these scenarios involves the use of violence within the context of a special relationship and each of them might constitute grounds for a restraining order in Massachusetts.   But should they?

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Faculty Post: Farewell to “No Child Left Behind,” Hello to….??

by Professor Mary O’Connell

In January of 2002, President George W. Bush signed a statute his administration optimistically dubbed “No Child Left Behind”(NCLB). In fact, the statute was a re-authorization of the more mundanely named “Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)”, a key pillar of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program. Johnson, who was raised in very modest circumstances, famously declared a “War on Poverty” ; the ESEA, which flowed federal funds to public schools with high concentrations of poor children, was one of Johnson’s legislative centerpieces.

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Faculty Post: Real Lawyering from Day One — How Does Northeastern’s Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC) Program Jump Start Your Professional Development?

by Susan Maze-Rothstein, Teaching Professor

A warm welcome to our incoming Class of 2018! Read on to learn a little more about what’s in store for your 1L year…

To compete in today’s rapidly evolving legal profession, law students need to know, more than ever before, how to get practice-ready and fast. The profession can no longer accommodate graduates who need their first five years of practice to really learn how to be a lawyer. In coming to NUSL, you have picked perhaps the most interesting time to go to law school because the law school business model of lecture courses is changing as it must. You are entering the ground floor of the future of lawyering. Welcome!

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Faculty Post: the Legal Advocacy for Victims Project

by Jennifer Howard, Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence Institute

It’s a cold, late November night, when a NUSL 1L student first meets Paul, in the basement community room of a local transitional housing program. After a long day of classes and a rush hour ride to the event, the 1L carefully opens the interview with gentle questions in an effort to establish rapport with Paul. Through the course of the 90 minute consultation, the 1L gains Paul’s trust and listens intently as Paul describes childhood sexual abuse and the domino effect it has had on his life, as he sits now, profoundly depressed, unemployed and essentially homeless. A lack of support and an unwillingness by Paul’s family to validate his experiences have no doubt led him to take advantage of the chance to sit down with a NUSL law student to explore legal options. Welcome to the Legal Advocacy for Victims (LAV) project of the Domestic Violence Institute (DVI) at NUSL.

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Faculty Post: Lessons From a Law School Clinic

by Jennifer Howard

As officers of the court, fluent in the language, creators of, or at least participants in, its local practices, lawyers sometimes forget that many would-be litigants enter the courthouse with much trepidation and misinformation. While law school on the whole seeks to prepare students for their role as knowledgeable problem solvers, clinics provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about how to use that knowledge to help real people, with real problems. Explaining the legal system is one of an attorney’s most important tasks.

The Domestic Violence Institute at Northeastern University School of Law currently offers students two opportunities to learn to advocate for survivors of domestic violence: one through the Legal Assistance to Victims Project, a new community lawyering project aimed at connecting survivors to legal services at those places they first turn to for help; the other, through the Domestic Violence Clinic, founded in 1991. While both programs strive to educate students about the unique challenges faced by survivors navigating the legal system; it is the Clinic that delivers the chance to advocate in court on their behalf. The experience of direct, in-court advocacy provides soon to be lawyers many important lessons.

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Faculty Post: The Law & Morality

by Professor David M. Phillips

Mills v. Wyman, an 1825 Massachusetts case, which is featured in one of the more popular first year casebooks, raises the question of the relationship between law and morality. Incurring various expenses, Daniel Mills cared for a 25 year old sick sailor, Levi Wyman, who then died. His father, Seth Wyman, wrote to Mills promising to pay for those expenses, but then reneged on the promise. Mills brought suit, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a lower court holding that no action lay. Consideration is required to hold liable a promisor, and according to the court, Mills had given no consideration in return for Wyman’s promise; consideration could not consist of past action. Despite their respective holdings, the lower court had termed Wyman’s conduct “a strong example of particular injustice,” and the Supreme Judicial Court stated that Wyman had a “moral obligation” to fulfill the promise. But, to the court, a violation of a “moral duty” was not equivalent to a violation of a legal one. Continue reading