This piece originally appeared as a spotlight feature on Harvard Law School’ s Today homepage on May 22, 2018, written by Ian Spaho.
In recognition of their demonstrated excellence in representing clients and undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects, Amy Volz ’18 and Ha Ryong Jung (Michael) ’18 were named the 2018 recipients of the David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award at Harvard Law School. The award is named in honor of the late Clinical Professor David Grossman ’88, a public interest lawyer dedicated to providing high-quality legal services to low income communities.
Described by nominators as “the embodiment of Grossman’s tireless pro bono spirit,” Volz contributed thousands of hours of pro bono service to clients through the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), the International Human Rights Clinic, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).
At HLS, Volz co-founded the Immigration Response Initiative, a student group comprised of nearly 400 students. The Immigration Response Initiative focused on more than a dozen projects, including legal research for the American Civil Liberties Union; state and local advocacy for immigrant-friendly policies; and support for HIRC’s litigation efforts to stop the Muslim Ban. Volz wrote answers to frequently-asked-questions related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and helped organize DACA renewal clinics for members of the Harvard community. She also drafted portions of an amicus brief to stop President Trump’s Executive Order from cutting refugee admissions. She did all of this work pro bono without receiving any academic credit.
Volz also put together a noteworthy report detailing a range of issues, including detention, denial of parole or release from detention, criminalization of asylum seekers, and the expansion of expedited removal proceedings. The report became the basis for a request for a hearing before the Inter-American Commission and litigation before the Canadian courts.
“Amy is a consummate professional and clear communicator who is thoughtful about her role as well as her place on a team. She listens effectively but, at the same time, she is always prepared to offer her opinions and ideas,” wrote her nominators from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. “She is smart, enthusiastic, thoughtful, and totally reliable.”
Her commitment to social justice is also evident in her work with the International Human Rights Clinic, where she worked for two years. Throughout this time, she worked on a complicated lawsuit, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, which was litigated in U.S. federal court on behalf of the family members of Bolivian citizens who were killed by the Bolivian military in 2003. The suit brought claims against Boliva’s former president and minister of defense for their roles in orchestrating these killings. In April, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the families, awarding them $10 million.
“Volz was involved in all aspects of the litigation and her work was nothing short of outstanding. She developed a deep, detailed knowledge of a very intricate case, from the most minute factual details to larger strategic decisions, a testament to not only her intelligence but also her commitment,” her nominators wrote.
“Her ability to connect with people in such a meaningful way, combined with her deep understanding of the case and the evidence that we needed to provide at trial, helped us elicit the testimony that we needed to prove our case from multiple difficult witnesses,” said Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the International Human Rights Clinic Susan Farbstein, who also nominated Volz.
“I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of this award and grateful for the many opportunities I have had to get involved in clinical and SPO work at HLS,” said Volz. “Working with amazing mentors in the Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program and the International Human Rights Clinic has been the greatest gift of my time in law school. I am excited to carry on the lessons I have learned here as I begin my career.”
Ha Ryong Jung (Michael)
Ha Ryong Jung, a native of South Korea, was recognized for his unparalleled commitment to clinical education and the field of children’s rights. At HLS, he contributed more than 2,000 pro bono hours with the International Human Rights Clinic, Child Advocacy Clinic, and HLS Advocates for Human Rights. He also worked pro bono at the regional office of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Thailand, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Boston Juvenile Court, and Volunteer Lawyers Project.
“Jung has spent the better part of his lifetime building his capacity to promote the human rights of children, particularly the neediest children,” wrote his nominators in the Child Advocacy Program. They noted that his clinical and academic work were outstanding, showing a drive to learn, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to make connections.
In the Child Advocacy Clinic, Jung received special recognition for his important contributions to his placement organization and the quality of his participation and engagement in the clinic seminar. He worked on laws and policies affecting children and young people, including those undergoing removal proceedings and experiencing custody complications due to undocumented parents facing deportation. “His thoughtful and reflective contributions made him a beloved member of his fieldwork office and the class,” wrote his nominators.
Jung has taken his clinical experiences and infused them into other aspects of his law school life. He is the first student to complete the Harvard-wide Child Protection Certificate Program administered by the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Additionally, he re-ignited HLS’ student group Child & Youth Advocates, organizing events and skills-based training related to child welfare, education, and juvenile justice. He also created a student database to encourage networking among HLS students and graduates interested in the field of child advocacy.
One of his most impressive accomplishments, according to his nominators, was establishing the Child Advocacy Hub, which connects organizations working on children’s issues to law students interested in working remotely on short-term projects. Seeing an unmet need in the legal services community for additional help, and a desire on the part of HLS students to volunteer, Jung came up with the idea of matching the two groups. With this vision and his exceptional organizational and leadership skills, he reached out to stakeholders and launched the Hub in early 2018. “Jung’s efforts were driven by his ability to identify a problem and solve it, and also by his deep drive to ensure that the range of opportunities to gain skills and participate in child advocacy-oriented activities for current and future HLS students is as robust as possible,” wrote his nominators.
“Jung is truly a one-of-a-kind person and student, and he is undoubtedly going to make significant contributions to the field of children’s rights once he begins his career,” his nominators concluded.
Reflecting on his three years at HLS Jung said, “When I was notified about this award, my first reaction was one of puzzlement and amazement because I knew so many students who were deserving of an award, and I never considered myself to fit that definition. However, the feelings that followed were of immense gratitude and honor with the understanding that the individuals I deeply admire had recognized my work as contributing to the lives of children and trusted that my efforts will firmly persist. I feel blessed to have been a part of the International Human Rights Clinic and the Child Advocacy Clinic for most of my time in law school, and those experiences have undoubtedly taken me a step closer to becoming an effective advocate for children. This award is the greatest gift that I have received, and it will serve to be an immeasurably valuable source of support and encouragement for me as I continue my pursuit of helping to protect children and their rights.”