Alumna Named Death Penalty Clinic Fellow
August 21, 2007 – Columbia Law School alumna Kate Weisburd ’05 has been named the first Death Penalty Clinic Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law-Boalt Hall, the clinic’s director, Elisabeth Semel, announced.
Weisburd arrives at the clinic after a two-year stint clerking in Sacramento for U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ’58, another Columbia Law School graduate.
Before she enrolled at Columbia Law School, Weisburd worked at the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights as a capital defense investigator. While at the Center, Weisburd led a group of investigators who, along with a team of Alabama attorneys, secured the acquittal of Gary Wayne Drinkard, who had been on death row for more than five years. Weisburd’s team presented evidence that Drinkard was at home the night of the crime; her work was noted in a 2001 story in The Village Voice.
While at Columbia Law School, Weisburd was an editor of ``A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual,’’ a handbook of legal rights and procedures designed for use by people in prison and produced by Columbia Human Rights Law Review.
She also interned with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (Criminal Justice Section), the Brennan Center for Justice, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.
Weisburd earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University. While at Brown, she won a scholarship to investigate conditions of confinement at the Rhode Island Training School, a juvenile correction facility.
Boalt Hall’s Death Penalty Clinic opened in 2001. Its mission is to help students develop outstanding legal skills and to serve clients facing capital punishment. ``These complex cases teach students about law, courts, and the justice system, and prepare them to enter the profession with a commitment to fundamental rights,’’ the clinic’s Web site says. The focus of the clinic's work is representing men and women in capital post-conviction proceedings in Alabama and California.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School graduates have provided leadership worldwide in a remarkably broad range of fields – government, diplomacy, the judiciary, business, non-profit, advocacy, entertainment, academia, science and the arts.
Led by Dean David Schizer, Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law. The Law School offers J.D., J.S.D. and LL.M. degree programs to a diverse student body.