Create Change – Fall 2021

Executive Director's message

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

Anna Wang - Photo by Christine Baker-Parrish

Fall is here and we’re finally back to campus! I am so excited to have spent the past few weeks interacting with students, faculty, alumni, and staff in person and look forward to welcoming our 2Ls and 3Ls this week. It’s been a long 18 months since the SLS community was together. Conditions have changed, new procedures are in place (e.g., masks are required even if faculty, students, and staff are fully vaccinated), and we’re all easing back into this the best we can. I know we will adjust and find our way to the new normal.

One change to note is that many of us, including the staff at the Levin Center, are working hybrid schedules. Please know that our team is “here” for students both in-person and virtually. We will not all be on campus 100% of the time but we remain 100% available. We look forward to meeting with our students and alumni online, outdoors, and indoors in accordance with the prevailing health guidance at the time.

In other news, our Fall quarter will look a little different than a typical year. Instead of a welcome reception with over 120 guests, we are going to organize a series of smaller gatherings so 1Ls and 2Ls can meet our 3L Public Interest Fellows. In addition, the Levin Center has postponed the Fall Public Service Awards reception until February 16, 2022 as we hope to hold it in person. Given the fact that we normally host over 170 guests at Brest Hall in the Munger Graduate Residence, we thought it safer to wait a few months and offer it in person rather than shift to a virtual event like last year.

In addition, we are planning all lunchtime events to be held virtually. We know everyone is tired of using Zoom but this enables students to still eat lunch and hear the content. The vast majority of our lunchtime events feature outside speakers (e.g., alumni who sit on our practice overview panels) or Levin Center staff sharing information about the 1L public interest job search, summer funding, or LRAP.

We will host community-building events in person during the afternoon or evening since those are focused more on getting to know one another (which is hard to do on Zoom). We welcomed the new 1Ls in person at Orientation in August and held our 1L Public Interest Mini-retreat outdoors near Meyer Green on Thursday, Sept. 9. See the photo collage below.

The Pro Bono Fair was this past Friday, September 17. New students gathered in Crocker Garden to meet the 2L and 3L student leaders of 22 pro bono projects. We are excited to connect students with some wonderful pro bono opportunities.

Last Monday, Sept. 13, we organized a panel of three faculty speaking about their public interest careers before entering academia. Professors Michelle Wilde Anderson, Elizabeth Reese, and David Sklansky each spoke about their experiences and shared advice with the new 1L students.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, we will hold an “Open House” so all students can drop by and visit the Levin Center staff on the third floor of Crown. It will be 1:15-2 pm. We cannot serve food, but we have prepared “goody bags” so students can pick up some snacks to take with them and enjoy later. I hope to see you there! Students can view all upcoming Levin Center events on the calendar here.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of speaking to members of the Classes of 1970 and 1971 who returned to campus to celebrate their 50th reunion. Members of the Class of 1970 also joined in the festivities since their 50th reunion last year was postponed due to COVID. I enjoyed telling them about the Levin Center and how we design programs to introduce students to public service, connect almost every student to one or more pro bono service projects, and advise students and graduates who wish to work in public service. Several alumni volunteered to join our Public Interest Alumni Mentor program so they can share their insight and experience with current students and other alumni. I also profiled three members of the Class of 1971 below. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about their incredible careers.

Finally, just last week, I was able to represent the Levin Center at the Transfer Student Orientation. It was great to welcome these new members of the Class of 2023 as we sat outdoors in Crocker Garden. It was a gorgeous day and really showcased our incredible Northern California weather. As we sat and chatted, it really did feel like normal again. I hope we can all savor moments like that on a regular basis this school year.


Three Alumni From the Class of 1971 Reflect on Their Public Service Over the Past 50 Years

The Class of 1971 recently celebrated its 50th reunion on September 9-11 with an in-person gathering on campus. We profiled three members of the class of 1971 who have worked in public service and asked them to share with us their proudest professional accomplishment, a favorite memory from SLS, and any advice for current 1L students.

* * *

Jenik Radon, JD ’71, right, receiving the Order of the Cross Terra Mariana, which was personally awarded by the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

Jenik Radon, JD ’71, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Stanford Law School’s public interest students for several decades now. He has directly supervised our law students with public interest international law interests as well as placed them through his extensive contacts in Bhutan, Estonia, Namibia, and other emerging countries.

Among his many accomplishments, Radon co-founded the Afghanistan Relief Committee in 1980 to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion and notes, “I can proudly say we sparked the US to take action to help Afghanistan restore its freedom.” Radon is now happy, and personally proud, to have been able to assist in helping a number of Afghans, who supported US and allied countries with their Afghan projects, reach safety during the rushed evacuation of American troops from Afghanistan.

In 1990, together with Estonian friends, Radon retook the US Embassy from Komsomol (the Soviet Youth League) in Soviet-occupied Estonia and was the first to raise the US flag in Estonia since the Soviet invasion in 1940 and helped Estonia restore its independence. For his work in Estonia, he was awarded the Order of the Cross Terra Mariana, which was personally awarded by the President of Estonia, and the Cross of Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

During 1999-2004, Radon represented the republic of Georgia and took on BP in a major energy project and forced BP to employ the world’s highest environmental pipeline construction standards. For his dedicated and vigorous representation, he received Georgia’s highest civilian award, the Order of Honor, and was made an honorary citizen.

In 2006, he drafted the Nepalese interim or peace constitution which restored peace after a bloody 10-year civil war, stipulated that one-third of the parliamentarians are women, and granted citizenship to millions of stateless residents of Indian heritage.

Radon shared, “Stanford instilled in me the optimistic perspective to always to look forward, to the future, and focus on what the law should be, not on what it is, as many of my Stanford professors said. More than nuts and bolts, SLS instilled in me a spirit of can do.” He has taken those lessons to heart and spent much of his professional career using the law for positive social change around the world.

He also credits SLS with enabling him to meet Heidi Duerbeck, ’72. He stated, “[She] became my best friend, my life partner, my wife and the mother of our daughter, Kaara.” Duerbeck passed away in 1999 and Radon endowed a memorial fund at SLS to support law students who share her commitment to public interest international law.

Radon concluded, “I would give students the same advice my father gave to me: Do what you like; otherwise you have two jobs, to get up in the morning and to do well. If you do what you like, you only have one job, to do well. So live your dreams. Never lose your youthful idealism, your dreams, and your energy, which will sustain you for a lifetime and support you in the inevitable tough times to come. You can make a difference so be the change!”

* * *

Marnie Ryan, JD ’71, far right in pink suit, with her Cambodian law school graduates

Margaret (“Marnie”) Ryan, JD ’71, shared, “At the age of 75, my proudest professional accomplishment is to be still standing and enjoying making a five-year plan for the two programs I run in Cambodia: the English Language Based Bachelor of Law at the Royal University of Law & Economics and the CLEW dorm for rural women law students.”

Ryan initially moved to Cambodia in 1995 thanks to Dede Donovan, JD ’70, who ran a USAID program in Cambodia and hired her to teach law for six months. But Ryan never left and is still there today, helping to train the next generation of Cambodian lawyers. When she first arrived in Cambodia, Ryan noticed that “there was a near total domination of the legal profession by foreign attorneys. This was all I needed to go into high gear. An anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle!”

Over the years, Ryan has built an enviable program. She pointed out that about 25% of her law students successfully earned scholarships to go overseas and earn LLM degrees from foreign institutions. Nearly everyone returned to practice in Cambodia.

She is particularly proud of an initiative she started shortly after 2006 to help women in extremely rural areas access a legal education. Ryan explained, “With the backing of four of our classmates, I started a dormitory for girls from very poor rural areas. This is really a joy and has become part of my life. It is in no sense a job. Poor rural girls did not use to go to law school. They have really distinguished themselves. We have graduated 60 girls and have another 40 in the pipeline.”

Ryan also wanted to highlight a younger alum: “Megan Karsh, JD ’09, came to work with me in 2010 and is fondly remembered by students and faculty. When she came it was touch and go as to how the programs could continue because we had no core funding. She has skills that I don’t and the survival of the programs is a credit to her.”

Ryan recalls one of her favorite SLS memories was a Christmas party in 1970 held at her home with her roommates, Barbara Fix, Betsy Leavy, Johnny Mitchell, and Denny Goldstein at their Richard Court residence. She noted, “It was fairly rowdy with the overflow crowd hanging out on the roof. Police came to the door which was answered by our esteemed professor William Baxter who calmly assured the police, ‘I am Professor Baxter of the Law School. Everything is under control.'”

Ryan advises students, “Have as much fun as you can now. If you attempt to confront the world as we find it, things could get rough.”

* * *

Rick West, JD ’71 (left) with then-Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) at the opening day ceremonies of the National Museum of the American Indian’s facility on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Both are Cheyenne peace chiefs. (September 21, 2004)

Rick West, JD ’71 was the first Native lawyer to become a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Based in their Washington, DC office, West explained, “It fulfilled my longtime aspiration to help secure the Constitutional and legal rights of contemporary Native communities and governments through representation before the United States Congress, federal executive departments, and federal, state, and tribal courts. The scope of representation was broad with respect to the tribes’ sovereign authority over their homelands, including civil and criminal jurisdiction, hunting and fishing rights, reserved water rights, and the practice of religious freedom among other prerogatives.”

After reaching that milestone, West spent nearly two decades serving as the founding director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He shared, “Having been raised in Oklahoma as a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, that appointment and position allowed me to return to a closely affiliated extension of my career as a Native rights attorney: namely, if I was devoted to protecting the legal rights and authorities of contemporary Native communities, a museum that recognized the power and authority of first-person Native voice in revising past and often erroneous historical narratives was only a short and valuable step away. The move also was not nearly so inexplicable as it might have seemed either, since my father was a widely recognized and acclaimed Native visual artist whose principal public venue was often a museum where he spent time with a young son in tow.”

West advises 1Ls, “Think and feel ‘big picture’ and be prospective, hopeful, and aspirational. I remember my Dad’s telling me early in life, in recounting Cheyenne history and experience. He said that we, indeed, had often been ‘victimized by the shadowlands of history,’ but that we should not respond as a ‘victim’: ‘It is self-defeating. Do something, and do it the best you can.'”

Among his many SLS memories, West says he’s thrilled he was able to share many of them with his wife. He had married Mary Beth, a member of the class of ’72, prior to his entering SLS. He noted, “She decided to ‘join me’ rather than endure the daily 3-4 hour commute back and forth to her job in the City. And the rest is her own distinguished history – primarily as a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State who held ambassadorial rank along the way.”

Summer Interns Share Their Experiences

In many cities this past summer, life wasn't quite back to normal yet. Thus, some of our law students worked remotely for the entire summer. Others went into the office from the first day of the summer. A few mentioned being able to go into the office by July. Read more about our students' Summer 2021 public interest internship experiences at a wide variety of nonprofits, governmental agencies, and legislative offices.

Daniel Ahrens, JD ’23

Daniel Ahrens, JD '23

  • U.S. DOJ, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Indian Resources Section

I spent my summer working at the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Indian Resources Section. I had the opportunity to contribute research on issues including Tribal water rights, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the land-into-trust process. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn how the United States understands its trust responsibility to Native Nations, particularly in litigation.

Sandra Allen Kang, JD ’22

Sandra Allen Kang, JD '22

  • Federal Public Defender's Office for the Central District of California

I interned at the Federal Public Defender's Office for the Central District of California (in Los Angeles). I specifically worked in the Capital Habeas Unit, which is a unit that represents prisoners on death row in their habeas cases. It was inspiring working with passionate and brilliant attorneys who are true experts in the field. I was constantly in a posture of learning the byzantine nuances of habeas law and loved it!

Sam Becker, JD ’22

Sam Becker, JD '22

  • Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

I spent my summer interning with the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, a small but mighty disability rights nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado. I spent the majority of my time working with their Immigration Detention Accountability Project by analyzing data, drafting briefs, and conducting research for impact litigation in solidarity with disabled individuals in immigration detention. Most importantly, I enjoyed learning from the incredibly passionate and radically liberating human beings who work at CREEC!

Tess Bissell ’23 and Bruce Easop ’22

  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Educational Opportunities Project

This summer we both interned with the Educational Opportunities Project (EOP) at the Lawyers’ Committee in Washington, D.C. The EOP team was preparing to file litigation challenging bills that ban the teaching of concepts involving race and gender, misleadingly described as anti-Critical Race Theory. We both had a chance to participate in the pre-filing investigation and development of the case - from analyzing potential legal claims to researching legislative history. It was exciting to be part of a novel case that seeks to advance racial justice and to do so with a fellow SLS intern!

Rhiannon Bronstein, JD ’22

Rhiannon Bronstein, JD '22

  • Alaska Public Defender Agency

I spent my summer interning at the Alaska Public Defender Agency in the town of Bethel, a rural community in western Alaska. I got a ton of hands-on experience working with clients and appearing in court, and by the end of the summer, I was handling a full misdemeanor caseload. I also had the opportunity to represent a client in a jury trial--and he was acquitted!

Maura Carey, JD ’23

Maura Carey, JD '23

  • Center for Democracy and Technology

I worked at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for civil liberties and equity in the online environment. As a member of the Free Expression team, I researched the intersection of Section 230 intermediary liability and civil rights laws and helped draft a set of comments that CDT submitted to the U.S. International Trade Commission on foreign digital censorship. My work focused on preserving the rights of users to speak freely online and ensuring that the internet remains open for creativity and expression.


Royce Chang, JD '23

  • Santa Clara County Counsel's Social Justice & Impact Litigation Team

I had an awesome 1L summer with the Social Justice & Impact Litigation Team at the Santa Clara County Counsel, where I primarily worked on consumer protection and environmental justice cases brought on behalf of the People of California. I learned a lot about local government and how the County advocates for the public good through affirmative litigation and its proactive approach to advice work. The office returned to in-person work in July, and I feel very lucky to have developed relationships with the other summer law clerks (including my Property TA, Taylor Chambers ‘22, and my classmate, Shayla Harris ‘23!), my wonderful supervisor, Zoé Friedland '17, and many other amazing attorneys at the County.

Kate Healy, JD ’23

Kate Healy, JD '23

  • Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, False Claims Division

I was lucky enough to spend my summer at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in the False Claims Division. Not only did I get the chance to work on the behalf of my home state, but I also had the opportunity to jump on cases related to pandemic-related fraud. I really enjoyed working with all the talented attorneys in the office and being given the room to explore a career in public service!

Chrissy Houle, JD ’23

Chrissy Houle, JD '23

  • U.S. State Department, Office of the Legal Advisor

I spent my summer interning with the State Department Office of the Legal Advisor at the U.S. Mission to Geneva. Despite the internship being fully remote, I was able to have a fulsome and rewarding experience. My time at State overlapped with the 47th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where I directly participated on behalf of the U.S. government in negotiations surrounding a resolution on the right to education for women and girls. I also had the opportunity to work on legal issues with regard to state obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and individual complaint mechanisms that involved high level diplomacy with several other nations. Being able to work directly with State Department lawyers, as well as lawyers from other countries, provided fascinating insights into how U.S. law and foreign policy interacts with the international system.

Jenny Jiao, JD ’23

Jenny Jiao, JD '23

  • San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

I spent the summer working at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in their felony unit. I had the incredible opportunity to work with a wide range of clients, write various pre-trial and in limine motions, and conduct preliminary hearings where I cross-examined police officers! I felt inspired everyday by both the attorneys and clients I got to work with.

Jared Milfred, JD ’23

Jared Milfred, JD '23

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Office of the General Counsel

I worked as a summer law clerk and Peggy Browning Fellow at the labor union AFSCME. I helped lawyers in the Office of the General Counsel with legal research for an active organizing campaign, wrote a memo to assist with an amicus brief, and researched potential executive and regulatory actions that could promote union density and organizing among nursing home workers. I had a wonderful time working with the extremely kind and talented lawyers in the office, and it was a privilege to assist with a labor union’s legal work, especially at an exciting time for the labor movement in the United States.

Mohit Mookim, JD ’23

Mohit Mookim, JD '23

  • Sustainable Economies Law Center

I was grateful to intern at the Sustainable Economies Law Center based in Oakland, which cultivates a new legal landscape enabling the collective ownership of land, housing, food, work, and energy by BIPOC and low income communities. I helped provide transactional legal support to affordable housing cooperatives in California, which involved securities compliance work, drafting an SEC no-action letter, and preparing a memo for HUD to approve resident ownership. Also, I researched foundation law and laws governing retirement accounts to identify rules and practices that would allow more resources to flow to such alternative economic structures.

Marni Morse, JD '23

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Chair Charlotte Burrows

I worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Chair Burrows, this summer. Given the moment, much of the work centered on COVID, reentry, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections for workers. I also had the opportunity to delve into my particular area of interest of gender equity and economic justice with work around pay equity, sexual harassment, and caregiver discrimination. It was great to experience what legal and policy work for a government agency is like and to work closely with law students from other schools.

Coley Navarro, JD ’23

Coley Navarro, JD '23

  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas

I spent the summer in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth, TX. As an intern, I evaluated the constitutionality of searches and seizures, helped interview witnesses, prepared proposed jury instructions, wrote pre- and post-trial motions, and assisted in three jury trials. This internship was an amazing experience with fulfilling work and a great team! With only two interns, there was no shortage of opportunities to get involved in every phase of a federal criminal prosecution.


Jack Weller, JD '23

  • U.S. Congressman Mondaire Jones

I worked as a summer law clerk in the office of Congressman Mondaire Jones, helping with his House Judiciary Committee portfolio. Specifically, I helped craft and research policies on voting rights protection and court reform, two of the issues I am most passionate about. Overall, I loved being back in DC and working in the democracy reform space.

Amir Wright, JD ’23

Amir Wright, JD '23

  • U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

I spent my summer at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee working in Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's office. My work focused largely on Supreme Court oversight, dark-money investigations, political corruption, and antitrust issues. The majority of my time was spent on a long-term investigation involving potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I also had the opportunity to work on confirmation hearings for Article III judges. When we moved to working in-person in July, I was attending hearings on a regular basis. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I look forward to returning to Washington next summer.

About Create Change

Standing (L to R): Shafaq Khan, Chelsea Jones, and Anna Wang; Seated (L to R): Mike Winn, Diane Chin, and Titi Liu. Photo by Max Rosenblum.

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
Assistant Director, Public Interest Career Development Program: Shafaq Khan
Program Manager: Chelsea Jones

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