Thursday, April 13, 2017

HNMCP Facilitates “Diversity Days @ HLS”: Admitted Students Engage with Identity and Lawyering

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The Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) is leading and facilitating a new dialogue series with admitted students as part of “Diversity Days @ HLS”. Diversity Days is a collaboration between HLS Admissions and the Dean of Students Office. The purpose of the program is to offer a robust weekend of learning to students admitted to Harvard Law School who are also a part of historically underrepresented groups, allies, and those interested in serving communities traditionally lacking legal resources and representation. Professor Bob Bordone and HNMCP were invited to lead dialogue sessions for these prospective students to discuss questions of identity and social change in small groups.

“HNMCP was delighted to be invited to have current students in our program facilitate important conversations around diversity and legal reform,”  Bordone said. “We are excited about ways that the incoming class can help us promote robust political exchange on the HLS campus and beyond.”

The first of these sessions was in March, as the first group of admitted students spent the weekend learning about HLS and legal profession as a whole. HNMCP Clinical Fellow Adriel Borshansky invited the forty-eight admitted students present to enter into conversation with their peers. For nearly an hour, the participants engaged with each other and discussed their identities, hopes, and fears as they relate to lawyering at this moment in time. The facilitators were all current HNMCP students who have either taken The Lawyer as Facilitator (LAF) workshop or done facilitation work in the clinic itself. These students are also on the Facilitation Corps for the Harvard Community Dialogue series.

Emily Joung ’18 was one of the student facilitators. Joung has taken LAF, has been a clinic student with HNMCP, and is currently on the Harvard Community Dialogue Facilitation Corps. Reflecting on her experience, Joung said, “I was struck by the incredible diversity of experiences these accepted students were bringing with them, and hearing them talk with such passion about what they want to accomplish at HLS and as future lawyers made me feel proud and privileged to be a student here.”

On April 22nd, HNMCP will lead a second “Diversity Days” dialogue session for admitted students, again focusing on identity and the role of lawyers in creating a more just society.

Building off of their broader initiative on political dialogue and facilitation, the clinic hopes to bring depth to the conversations that these admitted students have during their visits to Harvard Law School.