Create Change – Fall 2020

Executive Director's message

Be the change you wish to see in the world . . . – Gandhi

Anna Wang - Photo by Christine Baker-Parrish

The world has changed quite a bit since the last issue of Create Change was published back in January 2020. We had an unexpected pause in publishing the e-newsletter due to the disruption caused by the pandemic and subsequent heavier-than-normal workload. Faculty, students, and staff had to abruptly leave campus in mid-March after the shelter-in-place order was instituted. Many of us haven’t seen each other in person since then. Even while we taught, studied, and worked remotely, the SLS community tried to remain connected via virtual events, Slack messages, and Zoom calls. The Levin Center staff even made a brief video greeting for our students at the end of March when we realized we wouldn’t be returning to campus for Spring quarter.

What we anticipated to be a brief absence from the law school stretched longer and we had to figure out how to move forward while sheltering at home. Amidst efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections and slow down the raging pandemic (particularly in communities of color where infection rates are disproportionately higher), our nation also had to reckon with how anti-Black racism continues to prey upon Black Americans. Combined with police officers’ ability to wield deadly force, this has led to the murders of Black Americans doing routine tasks like watching TV while eating ice cream on the sofa in their home, sleeping in their home, walking in their neighborhood, or shopping at Walmart. It does not feel like we are making much progress on either front. Yet we cannot lose faith. We must continue to relentlessly pursue justice and ensure that we have a robust pipeline of future leaders to carry the torch.

Earlier this week, six months after the shelter-in-place order was issued, students returned to campus while wildfires raged close by. Underneath a smoky sky, students jumped right into on-line classes. Once the air quality improves, many faculty plan to host outdoor small group meetings. Needless to say, this is not a typical beginning to the school year.

Yet I hope that we can share positive, inspiring news to help remind our community of what is going right. In this issue, readers can learn more about our re-imagined Fall Public Service Awards honoring two outstanding public interest attorneys, Amanda Alexander of the Detroit Justice Center and Katrina Eiland, JD ’10, of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; an update on our Pro Bono Program and two new projects for 2020-2021; the addition of our newest colleague, Chelsea Jones, to the Levin Center team; and the new Stanford Center for Racial Justice that our own Diane Chin will help lead as its acting director. We also share details of efforts to memorialize Professor Barbara Babcock, a beloved faculty member who broke barriers while pursuing an incredible public interest career and inspired generations of criminal defense lawyers.

2020 has presented far too many unexpected challenges. I truly hope the last few months of 2020 end on a higher note for all of us.


Fall Public Service Awards Shifted to Virtual Format

Create Change - Fall 2020 2

We are thrilled to announce that Amanda Alexander of the Detroit Justice Center will receive our 2020 National Public Service Award and Katrina Eiland, JD ’10, of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project has been named our 2020 Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recipient.

Alexander, the founding Executive Director of the Detroit Justice Center, is a racial justice lawyer and historian who works alongside community-based movements to end mass incarceration and build thriving and inclusive cities. Originally from Michigan, she has worked at the intersection of racial justice and community development in Detroit, New York, and South Africa for more than 15 years. Alexander received her JD from Yale Law School, her PhD in international history from Columbia University, and her BA from Harvard College. Previously she has worked with the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, the Bronx Defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa. As an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she assisted with litigation challenging stop-and-frisk policing. As a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, Alexander conducted research on land, housing, and inclusive cities in South Africa. She will participate in several events during the week of October 26.

Katrina Eiland

Eiland is a Managing Attorney with the Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) based in the San Francisco office. She litigates cases and engages in advocacy to protect the civil rights of immigrant communities, including challenges to the Trump administration’s unlawful termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and immigration enforcement abuses by federal and local law enforcement agencies. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles. Following a clerkship with the Honorable Keith P. Ellison of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Eiland was first a Civil Rights Fellow and then associate at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, where she litigated complex wage and hour, employment discrimination, disability access, and voting rights cases. She received the ACLU of Southern California’s 2014 Voting Rights Award for her work representing Latino residents in the City of Anaheim under the California Voting Rights Act. Prior to joining the ACLU, Eiland was also an associate at Outten & Golden LLP where she represented employees in wage and hour and discrimination class actions, including cases on behalf of DACA recipients unfairly denied employment. In 2017, she was selected as a “Rising Star for Northern California” by Super Lawyers. She will participate in several events during the week of October 12.

Due to COVID-9 restrictions, we cannot host our typical formal awards dinner nor schedule multiple events for students on campus. However, both recipients will be participating in virtual events. We have scheduled keynote addresses plus live Q&A sessions for each award recipient. They will also hold office hours to meet with individual students as well as meet with affinity groups.

More details will be sent directly to current students.

SLS Offers Robust Pro Bono Program and Launches Two New Projects

The Levin Center’s Pro Bono Program began the year by hosting the Pro Bono Fair on Thursday, September 10 from 4-5 pm. Mike Winn, Director of the Pro Bono and Externship programs, and Chelsea Jones, Program Manager, planned the virtual event so incoming 1L students, 2L transfer students, and advanced degree students could meet with project leaders and learn more about each project before applying for positions.

Winn commented, “We had robust attendance and great interactions between students. Eighteen of our 20 projects hosted Zoom rooms to recruit students.” He explained that the remaining two projects don’t recruit members as they share opportunities with the entire law school–Stanford Law COVID Pro Bono Project and the Election Law Project. The other 18 projects recruited 160 students total. Applications were due Monday, Sept. 14 and Winn reports that about 90% of the 1L class applied for project placements.

There are two new projects this academic year, launched by students. The Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Pro Bono Project and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Law Project are excited to establish themselves and create new opportunities for SLS students.

A.D. Lewis, JD ’21; Bruce Easop, JD ’22; and Frances Tinney, JD ’22; the co-founders of the Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Pro Bono Project stated, “Trans, nonbinary, intersex, and gender diverse people face pervasive discrimination and violence. We created this project to support legal service providers who serve these communities. This quarter, we will collaborate with community partners to develop resources to streamline name and gender marker changes in California, conduct research to support incarcerated trans folks, and pursue other projects that are responsive to emergent needs. We’re really excited about developing and using legal skills to help trans and gender diverse individuals survive and thrive.”

The co-founders of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Law Project—Justin Garfinkle, JD ’22; David Liou, JD ’22; Tyler McClure, JD ’22; and Guillarme Julian, JD’22—noted, “Stanford Law is well regarded for its pro bono program, and we felt that a new project addressing the needs of small businesses would serve as a strong complement to the existing slate of projects. In particular, many under-resourced organizations owned by underrepresented groups often lack advice on contractual matters directly affecting their day to day existence—issues that have only been more recently magnified by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on our own experiences working on pro bono initiatives with small businesses, we founded the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Law Project with the goal of providing students interested in business-law the opportunity to gain practical experience while contributing meaningfully back to the community. We are extremely excited to begin working with our partner organization Start Small Think Big, and we look forward to helping under-resourced small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area navigate complex legal questions and the associated financial, strategic, and operational challenges facing these organizations.”

Chelsea Jones Joins Levin Center Team as New Program Manager

Chelsea Jones

We are delighted to share that Chelsea Jones joined the Levin Center team as our new Program Manager in late February 2020 (just weeks before the shelter-in-place order was implemented). This followed Jodie Carian’s move to the Law School’s Program Group last December.

Jones graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UCLA. She later received a Master’s Degree in Education, with a focus on Educational Counseling, from USC. In between, Jones worked at various schools at USC, supporting and developing programs, and working with Engineering and Public Policy graduate students as well as at one nonprofit that works with underrepresented communities seeking higher education. She most recently has been the Diversity, Outreach and STEM Programs Coordinator for Stanford’s Pre-Collegiate Studies. We are grateful that Jones will bring all of her skills and experiences to supporting our law school students through Levin Center programming.

Jones shares, “I feel extremely fortunate to have joined the Levin Center when I did. No one could have predicted how challenging 2020 was going to be, so, to be a part of a team that supports and encourages students who want to be leaders in overcoming the systemic issues that this year has highlighted is an honor. I am looking forward to continuing to give students the space to learn and be challenged through our Levin Center programs and working with them as they navigate how to best use their skills and education in communities throughout the Bay Area and around the world.”

SLS Mourns the Loss of Professor Barbara Babcock

Remembrance: Barbara Allen Babcock

The Stanford community mourns the loss of Barbara Babcock, Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita, who passed away on April 18, 2020. The first woman appointed to the faculty in 1972 and a four-time Hurlburt Award winner for Excellent in Teaching, Professor Babcock was a much-loved member of the faculty and community. She was a trailblazer at Stanford Law School and in the legal profession, fondly remembered by so many with whom she crossed paths. Known to laugh easily and love teaching, Professor Babcock touched the lives of decades of SLS students and the broader community. There is more information honoring her here.

In honor of her career and commitment to criminal defense, the Law School has established The Barbara Babcock Fund in Criminal Justice, which will support post-graduate work in criminal defense.

In addition, the Law School is collecting memories, stories, photos with descriptions, and anecdotes that include Professor Babcock. Please submit them on-line. We may share your story and/or photo along with those from other SLS community members on the SLS website and through social media.

Diane Chin Named Acting Director of new Racial Justice Center

Diane Chin

Over the past year, our Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law, Diane T. Chin, returning to her civil rights roots, has focused on developing and launching SLS’ new diversity pipeline project, the Law Scholars Institute, with Associate Dean Faye Deal. She has also worked closely with Professor Rick Banks to co-found the new Stanford Center for Racial Justice.

While the Law Scholars Institute was slated to host its first cohort on campus for a two week residency in June, the program had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Fortunately, plans for the new Center for Racial Justice continued to move forward and the Center was officially launched in July, with Banks as Faculty Director. Chin will continue her work with the Center as its Acting Director, supporting research efforts, helping develop its core programs and systems, and assisting with hiring staff. She continues to serve as associate dean but has stepped back from some Levin Center duties, and reduced her student advising role.

The Center’s research will focus on issues related to equitable reforms in criminal justice and policing; education, children, and families; and economic recovery. Banks and Chin will create new policy labs, engage law students and undergraduates in research, and design core programs to increase diversity in the legal profession and the capacity of law students and lawyers to challenge entrenched racism.

About Create Change

2020 Levin Center Staff Photo
(L-to-R): Mike Winn, Anna Wang, Diane T. Chin, Titi Liu, Chelsea Jones, and Shafaq Khan. Photo by Joe Neto

Create Change is designed and produced quarterly by the staff of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law. Unless specifically noted, all articles are written by staff:

Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law: Diane T. Chin
Executive Director: Anna Wang
Director, International Public Interest Initiatives: Titi Liu
Director, Pro Bono and Externship Programs: Mike Winn
Public Interest Counselor: Shafaq Khan
Program Manager: Chelsea Jones

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