UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

Boyd Briefs: December 11, 2015

From Dean Dan

Thank you to our students, faculty and staff for another terrific semester. This will be the last issue of Boyd Briefs until January when the spring semester begins.

Until then, I would like to highlight some of the exciting and innovative courses being offered at Boyd during the winter intersession.

Jan. 4-8
Nevada Civil Practice
Dennis Kennedy, Kelly Stout '10, and Sarah Harmon

Jan. 7-9 and 11-12
Mediation Essentials
David Doto and Selina Shultz

Jan. 11-15
Bankruptcy Litigation
Judge Gregg Zive

Jan. 11-15
Mediation Advocacy
Judge Valerie Cooke

Jan. 11-15
Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports
Keith Miller


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Fatma Marouf


Fatma Marouf teaches immigration and human rights law and co-directs the Immigration Clinic. Her research and advocacy has meant concrete progress toward solving a range of problems associated with the adjudication of immigration cases.

What's your most significant current project? One of the most important projects I'm working on right now is a report for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on alternatives to detention for LGBT asylum seekers. Over 400,000 people pass through immigration detention in the U.S. each year, many of whom are highly vulnerable. Transgender women, in particular, are at high risk of sexual assault, solitary confinement, and inadequate access to medical care. The report explores community-based alternatives to detention that focus on case management. These types of models are much less expensive than detention and have proved highly successful in other countries. In preparing the report, I've interviewed numerous organizations that work with LGBT asylum seekers around the U.S. in order to identify best practices in designing an alternative-to-detention program for this population.

How does your scholarship contribute to your teaching and service? My research and writing tend to be strongly connected to both my teaching and service. For example, two of my publications have addressed the treatment of mentally incompetent individuals in deportation proceedings (the most recent essay is being published online by the Cornell Law Review). I became deeply involved in this issue through an Immigration Clinic case that involved a client who had such severe mental illness he could not assist counsel. The students who represented him did extensive briefing, worked closely with expert witnesses, and handled a lengthy trial. They succeeded in winning protection under the Convention Against Torture, which is only granted in 2 percent of cases. Under a recent nationwide policy, the Department of Justice is now appointing "qualified representatives" to detained individuals who have been found mentally incompetent. I am proud to be involved in training hundreds of those representatives.

What recent reading has influenced you? One of the poems that influenced me most this year was "Home" by Warsan Shire. Describing the gut-wrenching decisions made by refugee parents, she writes: "You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land." That poem, along with the heartbreaking photos of a 3-year-old Syrian boy washed up on the Turkish coast and a 4-year-old girl raising her arms in surrender when a photographer pointed his camera at her shattered our notions of childhood. The vulnerability of these children reinforced for me the importance of the Clinic's work with unaccompanied minors through the justice AmeriCorps grant. I am incredibly proud of our attorneys, Katelyn Leese '14 and Alissa Cooley '14, for not only providing top-quality legal representation but also offering holistic, trauma-informed, and compassionate care.



Patrick Phippen



You taught high school by day while studying law by evening. How exactly did you maintain your sanity? Yes, I taught math and personal finance. Staying active has been important; running is cheaper than therapy. Regardless of what it is, it is crucial for law students to have an outlet. Some advice Don Castle (from Boyd's Information Technology staff) gave us during orientation has been crucial: stay grounded and remember your priorities. My amazing other half has been incredibly supportive throughout this ordeal, and we have accomplished a great deal together.

In this, your final semester, you've been a visiting student at George Washington Law School in Washington, D.C. Compare/contrast your Boyd/GW experience. D.C. is ground zero for the law. I have been taking full advantage of my front-row seat to history-in-the-making every day. GW Law has a phenomenal program that takes full advantage of its location. They have welcomed me fully as a guest, but Boyd will always be home.

Tell us about your work as a tax accountant prior to and during law school. Besides preparing tax returns and providing payroll and other business services, I represent taxpayers on audits, collections and appeals. My advocacy work was one of the motivating factors in my decision to attend law school. While in law school, I have also maintained my own tax business on the side.

What are your plans following graduation in just a few days? My spouse is pursuing a career in national security, so the D.C. metro area will be our permanent home. I plan to be barred in all three local jurisdictions (D.C., Virginia and Maryland), in addition to the U.S. Tax Court because it will make me much more versatile wherever I end up working.



Hillary Walsh '12

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Hillary Walsh '12

Hillary Gaston Walsh '12 is a human rights attorney specializing in immigration appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Due to her husband's job in the Air Force, Hillary hangs her shingle out wherever the military sends them, which is currently in South Korea.

Hillary's passion for defending human rights began in Uganda, where she volunteered at an orphanage and befriended street boys, some of whom were former child soldiers in the infamously brutal Lord's Resistance Army. At Boyd, this passion became focused through her work in the Immigration Clinic under the supervision of Professor Fatma Marouf. There, Hillary successfully represented child sex trafficking victims, clients seeking asylum, protection under the Convention Against Torture, and withholding of removal relief. Professor Marouf still generously mentors Hillary, and it was a career highlight for her when they recently obtained both a voluntary remand and attorney's fees on a Ninth Circuit appeal for their indigent, asylum-seeking client. Hillary has a high success rate before the Board of Immigration Appeals; she hopes this trend will continue with the two additional appeals she recently briefed to the Ninth Circuit, one being a disputed U.S. citizenship case that raises numerous issues of first impression. Her oral argument for this case will be in 2016.

Hillary also serves as a professional taxi driver, chef, and referee for her three daughters Ryan (2.5), Evie (2.5), and Lucy (9 months old). Hillary grew up in the middle of a 100-acre field in rural Kansas. She became the first person in her family to graduate from college when she earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Troy University in Alabama, which she paid for primarily through vocal scholarships and scholarships won by competing in the Miss Kansas pageant. She still sings, but now her repertoire includes hits like "Frère Jacques," "Twinkle, Twinkle," and, of course, PSY's "Gangnam Style."


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