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
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
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.
continued on back
“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
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
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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
While many people complain about policies
of school, she feels that she has barely
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
Published on Dec 27, 2012
Rene Hertzog Was The Student Of The International Justice Clinic Who Help Political Detainees. Her Primary Goal Is To Get Clients A Chance T...