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Advancing Fred Korematsu’s Legacy through Impact Litigation, Amicus Advocacy, and Clinical Training

Monday, January 28, 2019

Noon – 12:50 p.m.

Sullivan Hall, Room C5

Soup Lunch Provided 

The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality works to advance the legacy of Fred Korematsu. A key component of the Center is its Civil Rights Clinic. In celebration of Korematsu Day (January 30, 2019), the panelists will discuss the Clinic’s involvement in cases ranging from the death penalty and racial disparity, discrimination in the jury selection process, juvenile life without parole, administration of psychotropic medication to Alaska Native foster children, ethnic studies, the Muslim travel ban, rescission of DACA, the Census citizenship question, the transgender military ban, and others. Work on these cases creates opportunities for students to develop skills while working on pressing matters affecting diverse populations.

Speakers include:


 Jessica Levin joined the Korematsu Center in December 2013 as a staff attorney. Jessica began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Marlin J. Appelwick in the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One. She then worked at Gordon Tilden Thomas & Cordell, LLP, where she practiced in a wide range of civil matters. She returned to Division One to clerk for the Honorable James R. Verellen after traveling around the world for three months. She has volunteered for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project as a pro bono attorney in the Immigrant Families Advocacy Project, and she is a board member of two local non-profit organizations. Jessica graduated magna cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where she served as the editor in chief of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice.


 Melissa Lee is a Staff Attorney with the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law where she works on civil rights and race equity issues, and supervises students in the Civil Rights Clinic. Melissa received her J.D. from New York University, and B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from Seattle University, summa cum laude. Prior to joining the Korematsu Center, she worked for 12 years in civil legal services, most recently as the Directing Attorney for the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services from 2011-2016. In her work, she has focused on high impact litigation, research, and policy work related to race equity, the health and safety of people in institutions and foster care, sentencing reform, reentry, and fair treatment in employment for agricultural workers. She has experience litigating in federal and state courts, at both the trial and appellate court levels.


 Evanie Parr is a 3L at Seattle University School of Law and participated in the Civil Rights Clinic at the Korematsu Center in Fall 2018. In the clinic, she helped research and write an amicus brief in support of a death penalty appeal to the Louisiana State Supreme Court. Prior to law school, Evanie served in AmeriCorps VISTA and then worked as Development Coordinator at Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project. During law school, she has interned at Solid Ground, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, and the American Civil Liberties Association. Evanie plans to clerk for Chief Justice Fairhurst at the Washington State Supreme Court after graduation.


 Robert S. Chang is a Professor of Law and the founding Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law. He and the Center have received numerous recognitions for their work, including most recently the 2018 M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. He is the author of Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State (1999) and the co-editor of an original collection of articles, Minority Relations: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation (with Greg Robinson, 2017), as well as numerous law review articles in the area of race and interethnic relations. He served as co-counsel representing high school students in Tucson who challenged the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that was used to terminate the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District. That case, after several years and a positive ruling at the Ninth Circuit, went to trial in summer 2017, with a final judgment and permanent injunction issued Dec. 27, 2017, finding that the statute had been enacted and enforced in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments. He is also serving as co-counsel in two cases in Alaska challenging the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and forced psychotropic medication of Native Alaskan foster children.

Social Justice Monday is an organized, weekly series hosted by the Access to Justice Institute in partnership with students, student organizations, and other departments across the law school. If you are interested in organizing a Social Justice Monday for the 2019-2020 academic year, please contact Abby Goldy at

Join us at ConnectSU for information on ATJI and other upcoming events.


phone (206) 398-4173  |  fax (206) 398-4077  | 

Director: Cindy Yeung: Room 324

Associate Director: Abby Goldy: Room 323

Moderate Means Program Attorney: Clay Wilson: Room 321