Boston University School of Law

May 21, 2010

BU Law students Elizabeth Rossi (’12) and Veronica Hu (’12) receive Mass Bar Foundation Fellowships

Boston University School of Law students Elizabeth Rossi ('12) and Veronica Hu ('12) are the recipients of Massachusetts Bar Foundation Fellowships for this summer. They are two of only six recipients of this year's fellowships.

Both students will be interning at the Greater Boston Legal Services this summer—Rossi in the BU Asylum and Human Rights Clinic and Hu in the Asian Outreach Unit.

Elizabeth Rossi ('12)

Rossi is considering a career as a public defender, specializing in the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Her experience is extensive: she was a law clerk for Legal Aid of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, in the Child Justice Unit; and for the women's rights organization AWOMI in Dakar, Senegal in 2008. She also was a legal intern with ACCION International and an immigration legal assistant with Lichtman, Trister & Ross. Since the winter, she’s been a research assistant to Prof. Susan Akram, researching legal issues related to Palestinian refugees; this internship will continue her work with Professors Akram and Judi Diamond.

“These experiences made me eager to learn about and work on social justice and human rights issues in my own community,” she said. Through this internship, Rossi will have the opportunity to work with clients, to develop her oral and written advocacy skills, and to provide legal services to marginalized immigrant populations in the Boston area. “I will be working on asylum, refugee and humanitarian-related cases primarily in the area of immigration,” she said. “These include asylum, withholding and Convention Against Torture claims in affirmative and defensive proceedings. I will do everything short of taking a case to court: interviewing, counseling, researching, preparing motions and pleadings, drafting memos and briefs, and possibly handling administrative interviews.”

A Baltimore native currently living in Somerville, Rossi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a degree in history and international political communication. After completing her 1L year at BU Law, she took a leave of absence to begin a Master’s Degree in law and diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She will be returning to BU Law this fall, with plans to concentrate in immigration and criminal law, and she plans to graduate from both BU Law and Tufts in 2012.

Veronica Hu ('12)

Hu is a Public Interest Scholar at BU Law who is also considering a public defender career. “I am interested in the integration of civil legal services and indigent criminal defense in order to address a client's legal needs more holistically,” she explained. “I am particularly interested in working with immigrant communities that face special barriers to legal access.” Hailing from Hacienda Heights, Calif., Hu graduated from Yale University in 2007 with a degree in ethics, politics and economics.

In her two years between college and law school, she taught at a rural high school in China, where many of her students were children of migrant workers. Through this experience, she observed the residents’ cultural distrust of the law as a means for righting injustices, a phenomenon rooted in historical government persecution.

“I wanted to continue my involvement with the Chinese community in the U.S. and to learn specifically about the legal needs of the Asian immigrant population in Boston,” said Hu, who speaks Mandarin. In the Asian Outreach Unit this summer, she will be staffing a weekly intake clinic in Chinatown, assisting in casework and legal research, and participating in legal education outreaches. “I am hoping to use my Mandarin to help clients feel more comfortable seeking out legal advice,” she said. “I am very grateful for the support of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and for the opportunity to work closely with experienced practitioners in legal services and to meet attorneys who have devoted their careers to this field.”

Established in 1996, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation Fellowships are available to law school students who are participating in a volunteer internship this summer with a non-profit organization in Massachusetts and who have demonstrated a commitment to public interest law. The Massachusetts Bar Foundation awards up to six stipends of $6,000 to each student in an effort to encourage careers in the law that further social justice, while contributing valuable legal support to organizations serving low-income clients.

Reported by Elina Troshina

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