As our students return to RWU Law for the fall semester, here’s a glimpse at the summer experiences of two of our students.
Melanie Shapiro ’12 spent her summer in Washington, D.C. at the Hudson Institute, “a nonpartisan policy research organization,” where she worked alongside Michael J. Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Institute. Melanie’s “inside the Beltway” stint included focus on the national stage for work she has done in Rhode Island to close sex trade loopholes. She attended congressional briefings to oppose the Smith/Maloney bill, which supports the passage of "Safe Harbor Laws," that "don't treat children in prostitution as victims," which, as a result, decriminalizes prostitution for minors, according to Melanie. She has observed that this type of law interferes with the ability of the police to remove victims from brothels and give them needed support. Melanie had the opportunity to actually meet top figures in the trafficking area that she had previously spoken to when she worked for RI Citizens Against Trafficking. She also helped draft a portion of the Foreign Prison Conditions Improvement Act of 2010, authorizing the Secretary of State to deny visas to foreign government officials who do not make efforts to implement minimum humanitarian standards in their prisons. Finally, Melanie proposed a new bill that will create a post in the Global Women’s Issues Office in the State Department, to track and report upon countries' efforts to prevent, prosecute, and raise public awareness about the existence and danger of honor-based crimes, particularly honor killings. Mr. Horowitz liked the idea and is in the planning stages of an initiative against honor killings. Great job, Melanie!
Kathryn Sylvia ’12 worked with partner Linn Freedman (who is a member of the School of Law Board of Directors) in the Providence office of one of the region’s top law firms, Nixon Peabody. Kathryn co-authored several articles with Linn on recent developments in health care privacy laws. Kathryn wrote about the Dodd-Frank Act’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is intended to enhance both the privacy of consumers, as well as helping their pocketbooks by regulating providers of consumer financial products. She also co-authored an article on the recent SCOTUS decision in City of Ontario v. Quon, which held that a government employer has the right to audit and read text messages sent and received on an employer owned and issued pager. The healthcare industry saw changes to patient privacy in the adoption of criteria for electronic health records (EHR), and Kathryn prepared a report “CMS issues proposed regulations that outline criteria for certification of EHR technology” and “HHS announces final rule on meaningful use of EHRs.” This chance to hone her research, writing, and analytical abilities on cutting edge issues, while under the watchful eye of one of the region’s top lawyers, was invaluable. Great work, Kathryn!
Linn Freedman and Kathryn Sylvia