Category Archives: International law

Tulane’s new experiential learning director has immigration law expertise

Professor Laila Hlass, Tulane Law’s new director of experiential learning, said she found working with children through an immigration clinic the “most meaningful part of my law school experience.”

Professor Laila Hlass, an experienced clinical instructor and immigration law specialist, is Tulane Law’s new director of experiential learning.

Because the work proved so formative, most of her career since then has involved helping immigrants with legal needs and teaching law students to assist vulnerable populations.

A talented clinical instructor — she most recently was director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Boston University School of Law — Hlass joined the Tulane Law faculty in January. Already-growing interest in immigration law then exploded because of the Trump administration’s executive orders temporarily barring citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
She’s become a sought-after authority on immigration law while undertaking her new role as Tulane Law’s director of experiential learning.

“It’s a really important time for experiential education,” said Hlass, who’s also a professor of the practice.

Law firms, nonprofit agencies, clients increasingly expect new graduates to be practice-ready, and students are eager to put their classroom learning to work. In 2016, Tulane Law drew its array of skills-training offerings under a single umbrella with pro bono and public interest partnerships to better integrate opportunities for students to prepare for their careers. Associate Dean Stacy Seicshnaydre (L ’92), a former Civil Litigation Clinic director, heads the team.

“We want to expand the program to ensure that all students have opportunities that align with their areas of interest and to ensure that there’s enough academic rigor and support,” Hlass said.

She grew up in Long Beach, Mississippi, then attended Rice University in Houston. She received her JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, where she supervised students in a legal clinic working with asylum-seekers facing court hearings.
She also spent four years at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she assisted in supervising clinic students and pro bono attorneys representing immigrants in state and immigration courts, as well as teaching refugee law.

At that time, just a few years ago, Louisiana nonprofit groups had only a handful of attorneys handling immigration cases statewide, she said. The number of attorneys has multiplied, but still there aren’t enough attorneys to serve that population, she said.

“Professor Hlass brings a wonderful combination of academic credentials, immigration practice background, clinical teaching experience, national networks dedicated to experiential learning and deep ties to the New Orleans public interest community,” Seicshnaydre said. “I think we can expect that she will be a dynamic, productive and engaged director of experiential learning.”

From New Delhi to New Orleans: A journey with Bob Marley

By Divesh Kaul
(Divesh Kaul, a trained lawyer from India, has taught in Bhutan and India and worked in the nonprofit sector. He completed an LLM at Tulane Law School in 2016. Unwilling to put New Orleans behind him yet, he now is pursuing an SJD with a focus on international economic law. He hopes to work in that area and/or in human rights. Here’s why he wanted to continue at Tulane Law.)

Ooh, yeah! All right! We’re jammin’, I wanna jam it with you, and I hope you like jammin’, too.

After my long flight from India, this Bob Marley song playing in a taxi was first music I heard upon my arrival in New Orleans in July 2015.

Divesh Kaul (LLM '16) now is studying for a Tulane Law SJD.

Divesh Kaul (LLM ’16) now is studying for a Tulane Law SJD.

The Haitian driver, Victorien, was taking me to Tulane University, which would be my home for the next year. During the half-hour drive, Victorien shared his ordeals in Haiti, where he had been a police officer, and how happy he was to be living in New Orleans with his family. His eyes glimmered while he drove and joyfully described his experiences in New Orleans. Marley meanwhile sang in the background:

‘Cos every day we pay the price with a little sacrifice, jammin’ till the jam is through.

I stayed in Tulane’s student housing for a week while searching for an apartment. It was there that I met Fakrul, a graduate student from Bangladesh, who was also looking for an apartment to rent. Thanks to the law school’s orientation session for LLM students, I found my two other futures housemates, Nicholas from Bolivia and Zhang Chao from China. Four of us decided to move into an apartment that was a 15-minute walk from the campus. It turned out that the day we moved in, July 30, was the same day that Bob Marley & the Wailers had visited New Orleans in 1978 during the “Kaya Tour,” where they sang in a concert at The Warehouse:

Exodus! movement of Jah people … we’re leaving Babylon … are you satisfied with the life you’re living? we know where we’re going, we know where we’re from.

An apartment shared among four Tulane students from four different nationalities was no less than a culinary delight. The sharing was not limited to numerous collective meals. The Bolivian housemate became a fan of Bollywood films. My Chinese and Bangladeshi housemates enjoyed free haircuts given by me. Our umpteen household discussions ranged from cultural stereotypes to funny anecdotes, from theology to national issues and from quotidian matters to interdisciplinary discourses. Also, Zhang Chao issued us a travel advisory for his country when we learnt that wearing a green hat in China meant one’s wife was unfaithful!

Tulane Law LLM and international students for 2015-16 gather in the courtyard.

Tulane Law LLM and international students for 2015-16 gather in the courtyard.

I reached Tulane a month before the fall semester began, but as international students we already were busy. The orientation was intensive, but daily interactions with the LLM and exchange students from 39 different nationalities and the blossoming of numerous friendships made it the most enjoyable period. For every international student in our LLM batch, studying in an American law school was a new venture. Some had left their countries for the first time. Some never wrote an exam on computer before. Others came from a non-common law background.

Each one of us had apprehensions. Even so, we realized that each one of us had some strengths, too. The LLM students sat together in smaller congenial groups in study rooms, the students lounge, Tulane University’s LBC student center or elsewhere and had the longest discussions on law topics. In the process, we became each other’s strengths while we helped each other prevail over the academic barriers. During one such group discussion, James, one of my batch-mates from Zimbabwe, told me that 35 years earlier, in April 1980, when his country won independence, India’s then-Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, visited their country and participated in their independence celebrations. That year, 1980, was also the year Marley performed his last “Uprising Tour,” and he sang on the eve of Zimbabwean independence:

Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny … so arms in arms, with arms we will fight this little struggle ’cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.

Kaul traveled to New York City among other locations during his first year in New Orleans.

Kaul traveled to New York City among other locations during his first year in New Orleans.

The welcome lunch offered by Dean David Meyer and his wife, Professor Amy Gajda, at their residence was a great celebration of our new beginnings. I also fondly cherish Professor Herb Larson and his wife, Julianne, greeting and treating us a couple of times at their Edwardian house equipped with a magnificent piano and a large antique mahogany dining table.
The fall and spring sessions progressed at full steam, with LLM and JD students shoulder to shoulder marching across the corridors, rushing from one class to another, sneaking in to symposia and seminars, reading endless black legal letters in the library and making outlines, conversing in the student lounge filled with the aroma of dark roast coffee and working for law reviews.

Tulane Law LLMs got in the New Orleans spirit for Halloween.

Tulane Law LLMs got in the New Orleans spirit for Halloween.

Despite the strenuous schedule, never-ending readings and memorandums, students managed to balance law school with family, work and — most certainly — leisure. Some went together to watch the latest flick, others preferred a weekend drink at a bar. Students visited the legendary French Quarter, saw the Halloween parade and took part in celebrating New Year’s Eve. Law school and students’ associations also performed their sets of rituals, including organizing formal balls and pizza parties. The Mardi Gras parades in February were a centerpiece of the New Orleans experience. The celebrations coinciding with the 71st birth anniversary of Bob Marley were icing on the cake. One night, after experiencing the extensive parades in the French Quarter, we righteously grabbed some coke and rums at Café Negril on Frenchmen Street, where the live band sang:

You’re gonna lively up yourself and don’t be no drag, you lively up yourself and don’t say no … you rock so like you never did before … be alive today!

While we progressed in our graduate study in law, Tulane and New Orleans suitably embraced us with open arms and let us live like never before. I learnt a lot about America’s evolution through various civil and political struggles and how law contributed in them. The 14th Amendment and cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell v. Hodges have been some of the legal landmarks instrumental in America’s shaping. During a day tour to the Whitney Plantation Museum of Slavery, our tour guide quoted Marcus Garvey: “the man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.” Prejudice and suppression have prevailed in all nations and among all races, and slavery exists even today in many forms, the guide observed.

Bob Marley, too, was influenced by Garvey’s speech in Nova Scotia in October 1937 when he wrote the “Redemption Song”:

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds … won’t you help to sing, these songs of freedom.

Humanity, nonetheless, has come a long way ahead from the “separate but equal” doctrine, segregation laws and colonialism. I have also learned that music has been one of the tools of liberation from suffering and poverty. In Kingston, Bob Marley found it through reggae. In New Orleans, Louis Armstrong found it through jazz.

Kaul and friends celebrated the conclusion of their LLM year with a cruise.

Kaul and friends celebrated the conclusion of their LLM year with a cruise.

No doubt my learnings at Tulane were more than academic. I discerned a portrayal of various national characters from my LLM batch-mates such as Italian enthusiasm, German compassion, Greek resilience, Irish wittiness, Chinese humility, Bolivian wisdom, Turkish generosity, Panamanian boldness, Nigerian calmness, Zimbabwean contentedness, Venezuelan perseverance, Albanian forthrightness and American openness. I must admit that I learnt the correct way to practice meditation through the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga only after attending Professor Keith Werhan’s “mindful lawyering” sessions. I realized that sometimes one needed an outsider’s perspective to understand the pros and cons of one’s national system and appreciate it better.

Just before my spring exams commenced, I also came to know that Bob Marley’s grandson, Nico Marley, who is a business student and football player at Tulane.

My Zimbabwean batch-mate, James, once mentioned a Zulu saying, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu,” meaning a person is a person because of people. That swiftly reminded me of an ancient Indian proverb with similar connotations, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” meaning the world is one family. Bob Marley justly summarized these ancient words of wisdom:

Me only have one ambition, y’know. I only have one thing I really like to see happen. I like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all.

A gulf sunset near Cuba.

Tulane truly has been a global village where our academic upbringing ensued with members of global community instilling in us precious values from all over the world. After spring exams, my LLM journey culminated with a seven-day cruise with my six batch-mates from New Orleans to the Caribbean, covering Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. 

International law student explores U.S., finds lifelong friendships

Tulane Law | Dennis Zhao (LLM '15)

Chinese student Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) moved to New Orleans to complete his LLM in Admiralty degree at Tulane Law. Photo courtesy of Dennis Zhao.

Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) had never taken an American-style road trip before starting Tulane Law’s LLM program.

In his native China, Zhao relied on public transport for daily travel, and venturing far outside his hometown was difficult without a vehicle, he said. He’d never thought to simply hop into a car and drive cross-country.

That changed on his birthday in October 2014, when six Tulane Law classmates showed up at his New Orleans apartment and told him they were taking a trip. Justus Langelittig (Germany), Enrique Rubio (Spain), Joaquin De Obarrio (Panama), Nathan Sarkas (South Africa), David Morales (Mexico) and Zhao then set out to explore the Deep South over fall break. With a rented van and several maps, they took highways through historic plantation towns, rolling hills and oak-covered landscapes through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Zhao discovered southern communities and culture that was “totally different from what I learned in books and movies when I was in China – another beautiful side of the United States,” he said.

And it led to lasting camaraderie with his Tulane Law classmates.

“I realized that we were six guys from six different countries,” Zhao said. “We shared stories and opinions on the road. We made jokes. This was the first time that I felt no concept of ‘foreigners’ in my mind. We established life-long, international friendships.”

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Throughout his time as a Tulane Law grad student, Zhao kept exploring (and photographing) sights in New Orleans and beyond: Lush landscapes and vibrant student life on Tulane’s campus. Sailing Lake Pontchartrain with Adjunct Professor Mike Butterworth (L ‘89). The Mississippi River’s bustling shipping industry. The unmatched energy of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans games – and Mardi Gras. Picturesque and historic architecture throughout the South. Thriving cities like New York and Washington, D.C.

Zhao even ventured to Alaska with classmate Joaquin de Obarrio (LLM ’15) during spring break.

After graduating, Zhao took one more road trip solo, visiting southern states he and his classmates weren’t able to reach: North Carolina, South Carolina and eastern Georgia.

And, although he and his friends are now spread across the world, Zhao said they still talk daily.

He credits Tulane for encouraging students to explore their surroundings, be open to other cultures and contribute to their communities.

“We opened our minds and hearts to share ideas and opinions. And we finally became a unique international family,” Zhao said. “I think this is the most important thing we got as LLMs.”

“Every international student has the same feeling: Tulane and NOLA are our home.”

Zhao is set to take the New York bar exam in February 2016 before returning to China.

Young grads grow global practices

Tulane Law is recognized across the globe for its international law programs – but what do international legal careers look like in practice? Below, two recent alums share their experiences helping nations rebuild and aiding immigrants navigating the U.S. legal system.

Kirsten Lavery (L ’13)

In just two years since earning her Tulane Law JD, Kirsten Lavery (L ’13) has made big strides – moving from New York to Washington, D.C., and from an international law firm to a global pro bono organization.

Tulane Law | Kirsten Lavery (L '13)

Kirsten Lavery (L ’13) helped organize a workshop to educate village leaders on South Sudan’s recent peace agreement. The meeting took place over three days in Uganda. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Lavery.

She’s counsel for the Public International Law & Policy Group, which provides legal aid to promote peace and political development in war-torn and post-conflict countries.

She manages the organization’s programs to support the peacemaking process in the Republic of South Sudan after a civil war that ended with an August peace agreement. Among her recent projects: Organizing a workshop to educate village leaders on the peace agreement’s provisions on reconciliation, justice and reparations so they can explain the changes to members of their communities.

“The peace agreement created lots of obligations related to transitional justice, which is the way a society heals after war,” Lavery said.

More than 70 chiefs from across South Sudan attended the workshop in Entebbe, Uganda and developed plans for their engagement in the transitional justice process.

She’s also worked on improving South Sudan’s documentation of human rights violations, such as killings, rapes and village burnings, so the government can prosecute those who’ve committed the crimes.

It’s hefty responsibility for a recent grad. But she’s gotten there with years of focus and persistence.

Tulane Law | Kirsten Lavery (L '13)

As a law student, Kirsten Lavery (L ’13) interned at the United Nations in Vienna. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Lavery.

With two brothers adopted from Romania and Russia, Lavery grew up with strong awareness of global issues. In college, she developed those interests by studying Spanish, government and international studies, taking economic development courses in Chile and participating in Model United Nations.

When she started Tulane Law School, she aimed to land a career in public international law, so she looked for diverse opportunities to develop her expertise.

Although she started in the Class of 2012, Lavery took one semester off to intern with the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna. She spent another with the UN’s New York branch, working in the Office of Legal Affairs and the Office of Human Resources Management’s Administrative Law Section.

Between internships, she completed a student exchange program in Amsterdam, which allowed her to live in The Hague. And she worked for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon while continuing law classes.

Recognizing the challenges of landing a spot in public international law as a new attorney, though, Lavery was careful to explore private practice as well. She clerked for two major firms in New York and planned to start her career there.

Kirsten Lavery (L '13) spoke with Tulane Law students about opportunities at the Public International Law & Policy Group.

Kirsten Lavery (L ’13) spoke with Tulane Law students about opportunities at the Public International Law & Policy Group during a recent visit to New Orleans.

She landed an associate position with Davis Polk & Wardwell, where she focused on international investigations and white
collar crime for nearly two years. Her firm experience was invaluable, she said, because it taught her to juggle a demanding, fast-paced practice. That training enabled her to hit the ground running at PILPG.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to develop my knowledge and skills in this field,” Lavery said. “I think the work is important and hope it’s making a different in South Sudan as well as our other locations.”

In October, she returned to Tulane Law to meet with students interested in public international law careers and encouraged them to apply for PILPG’s summer program and law fellows program.

Duncan Fulton (L ’12)

Early in his legal career, 2012 grad Duncan Fulton has found a foothold in a dynamic, specialized practice that’s also personally rewarding.

As an associate at Ware Immigration in Metairie, Fulton works on “everything from humanitarian political asylum to family-based immigration to securing work visas for businesses’ employees,” he said.

During law school, Dunc Fulton (L '12) sought immigration law opportunities that solidified his interest in the field: "I was able to find something I felt passionate about and enjoyed doing."

During law school, Dunc Fulton (L ’12) sought immigration law opportunities that solidified his interest in the field: “I was able to find something I felt passionate about and enjoyed doing.”

He handles a mix of client interviews, legal research, drafting motions and briefs and arguing before immigration and federal courts. Because federal immigration law is constantly evolving, Fulton said, he’s often tackling novel issues that keep his assignments interesting.

And he can see the direct impact of his work.

“There’s always a client you’re helping at the end of the day,” he said.

Fulton started Tulane Law eager to explore immigration law. He’d majored in Spanish at Vanderbilt University, interned with an immigration attorney in Nashville and spent a year doing community development work in Ecuador.

By honing in on immigration opportunities during law school, he gained meaningful experience that set him up for a career in the field.

Tulane Law | Dunc Fulton (L '12)

In his immigration practice, Dunc Fulton (L ’12) represents both individual and business clients and handles all aspects of their cases, from initial client intake to appeals.

After his first year, Fulton interned for the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, a joint project of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Texas and American Immigration Lawyers Association to provide legal aid to political refugees and unaccompanied children on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I got to do a lot of great hands-on-the-ground work, on the front lines with people who had recently crossed the borders,” he said.

The following summer, he completed a fellowship with Immigrant Law Group, a private firm specializing in human rights and immigration law in Portland, Oregon. Those experiences were instrumental in teaching him immigration basics and developing his professional connections in a tightly-knit practice.

“I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of people around the country who connected me to others in the immigration community in the Southeast,” Fulton said.

After graduation, he clerked with the U.S. Immigration Court in Atlanta, then for U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Fulton said he wanted to stay in New Orleans after moving back – and, when his clerkship ended, he landed his position with Ware Immigration by contacting members of the local immigration bar.

“If I were to give advice to students looking in this field, I’d say it’s really important to show interest in the area but also to find a way to do internships and get experience early,” Fulton said. “So, start building up your resume and being assertive with networking. It’s the best way
to do it.”

Faculty summer adventures

Spent your summer tackling new work projects, stealing a few long-weekends and catching up on your reading list?

Your Tulane Law professors’ summers haven’t been so different from yours. Find out what they’re working on, where they’ve traveled and what must-read books they recommend before school starts back.

Professor Sally Richardson

Prof. Sally Richardson used her Gamm Scholar support to host the first annual Tulane Property Roundtable this spring, where she presented her popular paper "Reframing Ameliorative Waste."

With support as the Gamm Scholar, Prof. Sally Richardson hosted the first annual Tulane Property Roundtable this spring, where she presented her popular paper “Reframing Ameliorative Waste.”

Professor Sally Brown Richardson is one of Tulane Law’s rising-star scholars – and a student favorite in the classroom. This year, she was named the law school’s second
Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar
, an award that boosts early-career law professors. And the Class of 2015 voted her winner of the Felix Frankfurter Distinguished Teaching Award, the law school’s highest teaching honor.

Over the summer, Richardson filled
her “break” with projects and travel, while finding creative ideas to enjoy New Orleans.

Academic projects:
Richardson’s summer scholarship took her to the Association for Law, Property & Society annual meeting at University of Georgia School of Law, where she presented the first stages of her scholarship rethinking adverse possession. As the core of her research, she plans to survey recent good- and bad-faith property possession cases – which will require reading 2000 appellate decisions during the spring 2016 semester. She presented an early version of her paper at ALPS to get feedback on her methodology from property scholars nationwide.

In June, she traveled to Boston to present her research at the Junior Faculty Forum, a showcase sponsored by Harvard, Stanford and Yale law schools. This year’s conference featured 16 papers selected through national blind judging, and the presenters got feedback from senior scholars from the three sponsor schools, plus University of Pennsylvania and New York, Columbia and Boston universities.

Prof. Sally Richardson walked the Anderson Memorial Bridge, taking in scenic views of the Charles River and Harvard’s campus during the Junior Faculty Forum.

Richardson presented her paper “Reframing Ameliorative Waste,” which focuses on better legal solutions for disputes over alterations of rental property. She said she was delighted to get input from Henry Smith, a Harvard property law expert, and called the workshop “very inspiring and very intellectually rewarding.”

She’s also continuing thought-provoking research on modern couples’ privacy rights, such as whether spouses have a right to read each other’s texts and emails — a particular issue in community property states, where anything created during a marriage is co-owned.

Suggested reading:
Richardson reads extensively on property, civil and comparative law at work, but for vacation, she picks up Victorian literature.

“If it’s a book set in the 1920s or 1930s with a female protagonist, I’m going to read it,” she said.

She scouts the New York Times bestsellers list for new books and recently finished “The Rules of Civility,” which she highly recommends.

“The last 50 pages or so were a bit depressing compared to the preceding 250 pages, but that’s typically what you get with this genre,” she joked.

Next up on her book list: “The Paris Wife” and “The Chaperone.”

Prof. Sally Richardson visited Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall to present “Reframing Ameliorative Waste” at the Junior Faculty Forum.

New Orleans summer coping strategies:
First, hit the pool.

“I’ve actually been swimming early almost every morning at the Reily Center, which I love – although I’m usually the youngest person there at that hour,” Richardson said.

Second, ride a bike. Richardson said she cycles through Audubon Park before swimming most mornings. For a simple, enjoyable route, she recommends riding down St. Charles (which is newly repaved and has ample bike lanes), looping around the park and then heading to Tulane’s campus.

Third, cool off with afternoon cocktails. Richardson recommends the city’s myriad free tasting events. Among her favorite places: Avenue Pub, where she recently sampled inventive ciders, including a pineapple-flavored version; St. James Cheese Company, where foodies can try wine-and-cheese pairings once a month; and Hopper’s Carte des Vins, which holds free Saturday afternoon wine tastings.

“Uptown offers so many options like these and is a wonderful part of town to explore,” she said. “I suggest students take advantage of these opportunities, get outside and go try something new.”

Professor Ann Lipton

The law school’s newest faculty member, Professor Ann Lipton has formidable business and securities law expertise.She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter before he retired, practiced as a securities litigator in New York for more than 11 years and taught at Duke Law School for two years before joining Tulane.

Professor Ann Lipton (pictured with Dean David Meyer) joins the Tulane Law faculty for the fall 2015 semester.

Prof. Ann Lipton (pictured with Dean David Meyer) joins the Tulane Law faculty for the fall 2015 semester.

Transitioning to New Orleans:
After moving to New Orleans in late May, Lipton has spent the bulk of her summer emptying boxes and getting settled – a process to which many incoming Tulane Law students can relate.

“I’ve been unpacking in small doses to make it more manageable, but I still have boxes everywhere despite being here for more than a month already,” she said.

She’s also learning to navigate narrow uptown streets. Lipton said New Orleans driving has been challenging, coming from the wide roads and extensive highways of Durham, North Carolina. After working exclusively in urban areas for the bulk of her career, she learned to drive in Manhattan just two years ago, in preparation for her Duke professorship.

“It’s been an adventure, but I’m finally learning my way around New Orleans,” Lipton said. “The training wheels are off now.”

Academic projects:
When she’s not unpacking and sorting, Lipton has been planning her first class, Business Enterprises, which she’s teaching this fall.

As part of her preparations, she’s picking the casebook by carefully reviewing — in just two months — more than 10 Business Enterprises textbooks and manuals available. She sees it as due diligence to check all the options.

Tulane Law | Prof. Ann Lipton

Prof. Ann Lipton prepares for her first Business Enterprises class at Tulane Law.

She also blogs weekly for Business Law Prof Blog, exploring cutting-edge corporate law and securities regulation developments. (Catch her posts on Saturdays here.)

Lipton she said she’s enjoying getting settled in the Tulane Law community. Weekly faculty lunch seminars have allowed her to discuss her ongoing research along with colleagues’ projects. And she got her first taste of campus life seeing “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane with Professor Catherine Hancock.

“The faculty here have all been very welcoming,” Lipton said. “Being at Tulane has been wonderful so far.”

New Orleans to-do list:
Lipton said she laments not yet getting to explore much of the city, but she knows where she wants to spend some time: “The zoo and aquarium are at the top of my list,” she said. “Absolutely not the insectarium, though!”

Professor Herb Larson

Tulane Law | Siena summer abroad program

Tulane Siena summer abroad students learn art and cultural property law at University of Siena Facoltà di Giurisprudenz.

As Tulane Law’s international legal programs director, Professor Herb Larson oversees all summer programs abroad. He also leads one of those programs, the Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage & the Arts, where students analyze the law of international art preservation, dealing and protection.

Summer travel adventures:
Larson spent June overseeing and teaching in picturesque Siena, Italy, where Tulane’s summer abroad program explores legal mechanisms for protecting “cultural property” – a broad term encompassing a civilization’s art, architecture and antiquities.

He said it’s a relatively new field focused on two principles: “Cultural property is worth protecting, not only because of its beauty, but also because it’s intrinsically linked to the identity of the people who created it.”

Modern art and cultural property scholarship focuses on preserving objects from a spectrum of threats, including wars, environmental disasters, looting, pollution and degradation over time.

The Siena program, which Larson calls “the best of its kind in the world,” explores the complex, evolving field from competing viewpoints of different stakeholders, such as collectors, museum curators, art dealers, archaeologists and governments. The program is open to law students and graduate students studying art, archaeology, art history and anthropology, plus practicing attorneys.

Larson re-established Tulane’s Italian summer abroad program after a two-year hiatus following Hurricane Katrina. Recognizing international growth in the field, he refocused the program on art and cultural property law.

Tulane Law | Siena summer abroad program

Prof. Herb Larson directs Tulane’s summer abroad program in Siena – a picturesque, 16th-century town surrounded by historic walls and gates.

This summer, he taught a course on the black art market and co-directed the program with Patty Gerstenblith of DePaul University College of Law, who is President Obama’s appointed chair of the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee.

“Being in Siena is like living in a museum,” Larson said. “I couldn’t pick a better place to study cultural property, because in Siena, you can see the magical effect of how people can live in the 21st Century in a way that’s compatible with their cultural heritage.”

Tulane Law | Siena summer abroad program

Students gather outside the Palazzo Publico before touring the Museo Civico and Pinacoteca Nazionale museums and Siena’s Duomo.

The program’s idyllic setting also provided memorable study breaks: Sampling gelato at Piazza del Campo’s bustling cafes; listening to classical music and Italian opera at free concerts; and taking weekend excursions across Tuscany.

Larson said he hadn’t taught the entire Siena program in year, but it didn’t take much convincing to get him back. “If you make me go to Tuscany to be surrounded by art, eat wonderful Italian food and drink wine in a beautiful setting for the month of June, I’ll do it,” he said.

Larson also spent a week vacationing in Portugal with his wife, on a trip designed by Portuguese native Maria Landry, Tulane Law’s assistant director for international and graduate programs.

Academic projects:
Back in New Orleans, Larson has carried on his cultural property scholarship, working on a position paper for The Antiquities Coalition that advocates creating a private right of action to prosecute art theft under the National Stolen Property Act.

Empowering civil litigants to sue and recover for stolen art would bolster the fight against cultural property theft by shifting some of the prosecution burden from already-overloaded law enforcement, he explained.

Siena program students explore Tuscany's best sights, food and culture on weekend trips to surrounding towns.

Siena program students explore Tuscany’s best sights, food and culture on weekend trips to surrounding towns.

Suggested reading:
Larson’s recommendation continues the stolen-art theme: “The Lady in Gold,” a nonfiction account of a woman’s fight to recover paintings stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II, including a Gustav Klimt portrait of her aunt. The story was adapted into a movie, “The Woman in Gold,” starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.

“It’s a great read for any law student, because the lawyer is actually the hero in the end,” Larson said.

Student summer work reflections: Part one

How did you spend your summer? We’re highlighting six Tulane Law students who gained valuable work experience in environmental and energy, maritime, international and sports law. In our first installment, learn what students in their 3L year did on the job, how they landed these opportunities and what their post-summer plans hold.

Gillian Saltz (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Gillian Saltz sported a hard hat while touring a Valero refinery during her internship. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Saltz.)

Gillian Saltz (L ’15)

Exploring in-house oil & gas law: Gillian Saltz interned at Valero Energy Corp., a top 10 Fortune 500 company, working alongside in-house counsel at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

Her internship exposed her to the variety of legal issues faced by energy companies. “I helped draft contracts, completed research projects for litigation, regulatory and labor and employment lawyers, and learned more about the actual business side of operating refineries,” Saltz said.

“They also took us to see a refinery, probably the highlight of my summer, especially since I got to keep my hard hat.”

Saltz also saw first-hand what it’s like to work in a major corporation. “They had a huge intern symposium for all their interns across the company, many of whom were engineer undergrads, where the CEO and many vice presidents came to talk to us about professional development, joining the workforce, and the future of Valero. It was a pretty extensive event spanning three days,” she said.

After her experience at Valero, Saltz plans to specialize in oil and gas law. “There are a lot of opportunities for growth, and it is a fascinating area of law,” she said. She also hopes to return to in-house practice later in her career.

At Tulane, Saltz works as a student attorney in the Civil Litigation Clinic and is senior articles editor of the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law. She’s a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Janet Kearney (L ’15)

Janet Kearney (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Janet Kearney toured the Northern Irish coastline on a weekend trip during her summer at the U.S. Consulate in Belfast. (Photo courtesy of Janet Kearney.)

Mastering international diplomacy: Janet Kearney interned for the U.S. Consulate in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an operation with five American Foreign Service officers and 20 locally-hired staff where she was able to work closely with officials.

“I was able to perform a range of tasks because the internship though the Department of State is not solely legal,” Kearney said.

Her work included legal, historical and policy research and writing, plus compiling daily news summaries. “I did a little bit of everything, from filing and helping organize events to detailed research and writing projects and meetings with the consul general and government officials. The writing projects focused primarily on issues specific to Northern Ireland, like their unique shared governance institutions and the legacy of the Troubles,” she said.

“I really had a wonderful time there; the work was interesting and varied, and everyone was so friendly. Plus Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited,” she said. She also explored the region, attending a charity event uniting children from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds to play sports together, traveling to the Northern Ireland coast and adventuring in Dublin.

Kearney landed her job through the U.S. Department of State’s student internship program, which hires students each semester. She is senior research editor for the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law and former president of the Law Women’s Association. Before law school, she worked as a legislative aide for Jefferson Parish while earning her B.A. at LSU.

Jonathan Jordan (L ’15)

Jonathan Jordan (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Jonathan Jordan interned with the Washington Wizards, handling the NBA draft preparation, execution, and aftermath.

Shooting hoops with the NBA: Jonathan Jordan, a former high school basketball coach and college hoops player, interned with the Washington Wizards in Basketball Operations. He landed the position by seizing an opportunity to meet the Wizards president at an NBA All-Star Game event in New Orleans.

“Last year, I worked for Stephen Howard, who does color commentary for ESPN College Basketball and is a studio analyst for the Pelicans,” said Jordan, who found that position through Tulane’s Career Resources Interactive System. “I also worked for a former NBA player researching intellectual property rights through the Tulane-NBRPA program that Professor (Gabe) Feldman started. These internships gave me the opportunity to attend the Legends Brunch during the NBA All-Star Game. At the brunch, I saw Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, and I had to introduce myself because I am from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. After the brief conversation, he told me to send him my resume. I then had a phone interview with his executive assistant, and I landed my dream internship.”

While working for the Wizards, Jordan was instrumental in helping team officials evaluate prospective players before the NBA draft. “In preparation for the NBA draft, the Wizards, like all teams, had workouts. I was responsible for researching and compiling college and overseas statistics of all the prospects,” he said. “I also helped create the binders that Mr. Grunfeld and the rest of the front office used on Draft Night.”

Draft day proved to be the busiest, Jordan said. “On the day of the draft, I configured and disassembled the Wizards’ ‘war room.’ Basically, I set up all of the different draft boards they maintained throughout the draft, which you might see on TV when they show the team’s war room after a selection is made.”

But the work didn’t end there. “After the draft was over, I was responsible for continuously updating the depth chart boards when signings were announced for all 30 teams,” he said. “Lastly, after free agency calmed down in August, I updated the Wizards’ list of agent contact information. I was calling and speaking to agents, some being lawyers, to make sure the Wizards had their proper phone numbers and emails for the future.”

Jordan also completed the sports law track at the Great Lakes Sports & Entertainment Law Academy during the summer. He is a member of the Sports Law Society and The Sports Lawyer’s Journal and plans to earn a Tulane sports law certificate.