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Rene Hertzog: Participant in the International Justice Clinic at Fordham University School of Law, New York, NY [By Heather Jung] The Guantanamo Bay detention camp has made headlines across the world since the U.S. government began detaining people suspected to be al-Qaeda or Taliban operatives in 2002. The camp has been widely criticized in recent years due to allegations of torture and for its detainment of prisoners who have not received trials.

Through the International Justice Clinic at

active member of the Student Hurricane

In the future, Hertzog would like to work in the

Fordham University School of Law, students

Network (SHN), an organization of law

public-service arena, most likely in criminal

such as 3L Rene Hertzog are getting the chance

students formed in response to Hurricane

law. Upon graduating in May, she will begin

to help some of these political detainees. The

Katrina. Hertzog and other law students

working at a mid-sized firm in Manhattan doing

clinic is currently defending four men detained

spent their spring break last week doing

some general litigation work.

at the Cuban-based naval base.

relief work. This was Hertzog’s third trip to New Orleans with the SHN.

“I do not yet know what I will specialize in at the firm [since] the first year we do

“Our primary goal is to get our clients a meaningful opportunity to challenge our

“Last March, I was working on voting rights

a little bit of everything. But one of the

government’s allegations against them

prior to the city’s mayoral election,” Hertzog

firm’s specialty areas is insurance-recovery

and/or to be transferred back to their home

said. “In January, I was involved in criminal-

litigation,” Hertzog said. “The firm-mostly

countries upon a finding that they do not

defense work, and [last week], I [was]

branches outside of NYC-has been active

pose a threat to the United States,” Hertzog

working with the Gert Town Revival Initiative,

in representing Gulf Coast policyholders in

said. “As with almost all of the men detained

a project aiming to create a database of

their claims in the aftermath of Hurricanes

at Guantanamo Bay, they have been deprived

parcels of land in the Gert Town community.”

Katrina and Rita. I hope to get a broad range of experiences. I also hope to remain active

of this right, one of the most fundamental in our legal system.” According to Hertzog, the clinic’s secondary goal is to change the view of America as a

As well as engaging in humanitarian work,

in other areas of the law by engaging in pro

Hertzog is an editor for the Fordham Urban

bono work.”

Law Journal, which is dedicated to legal issues affecting or related to urban areas.

“violator” of human rights to a view of the nation as “an advocate and leader.” “Right now, the conditions of confinement at Guantanamo Bay are rapidly worsening as more and more men are housed in extraordinarily restrictive isolation for no clear reason; they are not accused of acting out, and some of them have been cleared for release. The isolation of these housing units is so intense that some detainees’ mental and physical health is deteriorating rapidly,” Hertzog said. In addition to being involved with the International Justice Clinic, Hertzog is an

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Q. What do you do for fun? A. I like to travel, run, bake, go to the ocean, participate in book clubs and theater. Q. What CD is in your CD player right now? A. A mix a friend made for me for my birthday; Iron & Wine, The Creek Drank the Cradle; and Love, Forever Changes. (I have a three-disc changer.) Q. What is the last magazine you read? A. Time Out. (NYC’s guide to arts and entertainment.)

During the summer following her first year at law school, Hertzog interned at the New York State Office of the Attorney General in the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, which investigates complaints about healthcare services and products manufacturing. She also interned at the New York City Department of Investigation in 2005. The second internship introduced Hertzog to criminal law, a field she has become very interested in pursuing.

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“My internships, clinic work, and experiences

“I wanted to take affirmative steps and

to use creative ideas in litigation strategy,

with student groups have helped me identify

become more active in community issues,

advising clients, or helping to develop policy

how I would like to use my law degree,”

whether the community is on a local or more

and legislation.

Hertzog said.

national level,” Hertzog said. “For example,

According to Hertzog, she has always had the idea that she might become a lawyer. She decided to go to law school for a new challenge after working full-time for seven years doing software quality assurance for a publishing company; she began working for the publishing company after completing two undergraduate degrees-in history and English-at the University of Vermont in 1997.

remembering the debacle of the 2000

Hertzog encourages others to learn more

election, during the 2004 election, my first

about the situation at Guantanamo, as there

year of law school, I traveled to Philadelphia

are several pieces of legislation moving

and volunteered to be a poll watcher with a

through Congress right now that will

nonpartisan group of lawyers, law students,

“restore the rights of those being held in U.S.

etc., called Election Protection. We provided

detention sites” if passed.

general information to PA voters about their voting rights and helped guard against issues

On the Net

of disenfranchisement and intimidation.” Fordham University School of Law

She said that one of the things that prompted

Hertzog’s favorite aspect of law is the vast

her to study law “was a reaction to many of

amount of information there is to learn.

the policies of our current administration.”

Having completed almost three years

Guantanamo Bay

While many people complain about policies

of school, she feels that she has barely

www.nsgtmo.navy.mil

and various aspects of law they do not

scratched the surface of all there is to know.

agree with, few take proactive steps toward

She has also enjoyed the problem solving

Student Hurricane Network

correcting those problems.

that comes with being a lawyer-the chance

www.studenthurricanenetwork.org

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law.fordham.edu


Rene Hertzog: Participant in the International Justice Clinic