Resume

CHARISA SMITH, ESQ.
Licensed to Practice Law in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.
E-mail: info@charisasmith.com.

EDUCATION
YALE LAW SCHOOL, NEW HAVEN, CT. J.D., February 2005.
Activities: “Women and Youth Supporting Each Other” Mentoring Program Director. “Rebellious Lawyering Conference” Director & Panel Coordinator/Moderator. Coalition for Faculty Diversity Co-founder. Hon. A. Leon Higginbotham Conference Planning Committee. Black Law Students Association Political Action Chair. Workers’ Rights Project. American Constitutional Society. Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization Board. Temporary Restraining Order Project. “Outlaws.”

HARVARD AND RADCLIFFE COLLEGES, CAMBRIDGE, MA. B.A., cum laude, History, 2000.
Honors: John Harvard and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Scholar. Radcliffe Travel Fellow. Harvard Community Service Fellow. Education for Action and Steiner Community Service Fund Grant Recipient. Spanish Language Citation. Harvard Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Race Relations. Harvard History Essay Prize.

Activities: Intern with Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. St. Mary's Women & Infants Center Counselor. JFK School of Government CIVICS Program Elementary School Teacher. Black Student Association Public Service Director. Harvard College Democrats Forum Chairperson. Harvard NAACP Charter Member. Intern with office of Assemblywoman Shirley K. Turner. Stuyvesant Avenue Peace Center summer camp creator / director.

PUBLICATIONS
Clairvoyant Cops. The Burns Institute Blog. February 21, 2010. http://www.burnsinstitute.org/article.php?id=180

Tackling New York’s Juvenile Justice Crisis. The Burns Institute Blog. December 21, 2009. http://www.burnsinstitute.org/article.php?id=166

Salvaging funds, lives: New York needs to approach juvenile justice very differently. The Albany Times Union. (Op-Editorial, Wednesday, January 7, 2009).

Don’t Wait Up—Issues in Juvenile Justice. 28 New Jersey Family Lawyer 144. (Spring 2008).

Juvenile Reentry in Richmond: Barriers, Cost Savings, and Giving Youth a Second Chance. (January 2008). A Report for JustChildren of the Legal Aid Justice Center, which was distributed widely among the youth-serving community in Richmond, VA.

Blending Colors from Life: Trenton’s Own Watercolorist, Tom Malloy. (Africa World Press / Red Sea Press, 2007); Winner of Honorable Mention at 2010 New York Book Festival. Biography of 95-year-old African-American master watercolorist Tom Malloy. Retraced Malloy’s intriguing experiences as a South Carolinian sharecropper, a New Jersey factory worker, a minister, and a civil rights activist. Explored Malloy’s emergence into the art world late in life. Researched book with a Radcliffe Travel Fellowship, a grant from The New Jersey Historical Commission, and funding from Trenton (NJ) Mayor Douglas Palmer’s Office and PSE&G.. Utilized extensive tape-recorded interviews to capture Malloy’s fascinating narrative style.

A New Approach is Needed to Change Young Offenders’ Lives. The Hampton Daily Press. (Op-Editorial, June 16, 2007).

Confidentiality Statutes of Child Protection Proceedings. (Written jointly with Michelle Garcia as part of the Yale Law School Legislative Advocacy Clinic). In the 2004 CT General Assembly session, a bill was introduced to open to the public all juvenile proceedings, including cases involving child abuse and neglect. While the bill was not approved, it would be re-introduced in the 2005 Session. To provide context for the discussion, two students at Yale Law School, under the supervision of CT Voices for Children’s Shelley Geballe and Ellen Scalettar, prepared background materials on other states' positions on this issue, including interviews with key stakeholders in states that have opened proceedings in whole, or in part. (November 2004). http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_197.html

Delinquents, Deprivations and Daring Reform: An Analysis of Modern American Juvenile Justice and its Mental Health Treatment Capabilities. (On file with author, 2004). Analysis of the mental health needs of the American juvenile delinquent community, the lack of appropriate services, and the legal infrastructure necessary to ensure rehabilitation. Examines 2 Connecticut programs as case studies and ultimately recommends national implementation of more therapeutic models of delinquent treatment combined with widespread, multifaceted legal reform.

Selected Poems in Various National and Statewide (NJ) Poetry Publications.

Author of www.charisasmith.com.

WORKS IN PROGRESS
Nothing About Us Without Us! Community-based Approaches to Justice System Advocacy. (Forthcoming, seeking publication).

Who’s at Home? An examination of the parental rights and challenges of individuals with mental disabilities. (Forthcoming, seeking publication).

Can’t w8 2 Press Send: A Critical Legal and Sociological Examination of the Implications of Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Multi-Media Communication by Children. (Forthcoming, seeking publication).

Show and Tell: An analysis of millennial pop culture through the lens of child maltreatment and interpersonal violence. (Forthcoming, seeking publication).

War Stories: The making of a woman. Multi-genre biography of 15 diverse women. (Forthcoming, seeking publication).

TEACHING INTERESTS
Primary, Law School: Community-based approaches to juvenile and criminal justice system advocacy (original concept, mixture of clinic and lecture, which involves community organizing and youth empowerment; collaboration between advocates, communities, and political officials; participatory action research; and holistic best practices like balanced and restorative justice, non-adversarial conflict resolution, and family group decision-making); Juvenile justice and education law and policy (clinical or lecture); Legislative advocacy (clinical or lecture); Community organizing (clinical or lecture).

Secondary, Law School: Mediation and conflict resolution (clinical or lecture); Land use (lecture); Criminal law (lecture).

Primary, Undergraduate: Sociology; Juvenile justice; Child maltreatment; Children’s interdisciplinary issues, law and policy; Political Science; African American studies; Law; Women’s studies; Special education law and policy; Legislative advocacy; Community organizing; Criminal justice; English composition and / or expository writing.

Secondary, Undergraduate: Mediation and conflict resolution; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and culture; Oral history and tradition; The Art of biography; Spanish language.

EXPERIENCE
ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN OF NY, INC. NY, NY. August 2010 – Present. Staff Attorney, Juvenile Justice Project, Probation Initiative. Providing legal representation to parents of youth on probation in educational matters throughout the five boroughs. Training professionals, families, and youth in education advocacy, juvenile justice, and empowerment. Working with city officials to remedy systemic challenges within the probation paradigm, and the education and juvenile justice systems. Authoring reports on those matters. Serving on appointed committees and task forces devoted to youth justice reform.

BROOKLYN COLLEGE, THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, CHILDREN AND YOUTH STUDIES PROGRAM AND AFRICANA STUDIES DEPARTMENT. August 2010 – Present. Adjunct Assistant Professor. Lecturing and facilitating dialogue by instructing a course entitled “Child Abuse and Neglect” and a course entitled "The Black Child and the Urban Education System." Helping students enhance their writing abilities and explore career paths. Conducting research on child maltreatment, education, juvenile justice, parenting challenges, pop culture, and public policy from a child and women’s advocacy perspective.

COOPERATION FOR A NON-VIOLENT FUTURE, INC. Trenton, NJ.; Mitchelville, MD. 1993 - Present. Current President, Former Program Consultant. Facilitating & planning workshops and media presentations on mediation and civic engagement. Working with Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer and at-risk youth regarding youth issues and historical preservation. Editing manuals for Conflict Resolution and Minority Youth Activity Leadership. Appearing on television/radio as a representative of the organization. Interviewing residents of low income areas for jobs.

COMMUNITY JUSTICE NETWORK FOR YOUTH (CJNY), W. HAYWOOD BURNS INSTITUTE. NY, NY. October 2009 – December 2010. Coordinator, New York Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System. Convening city-wide task force of juvenile justice advocates and community members. Working with governmental policy-makers, non-governmental experts, and communities on ongoing and new system reform. Empowering and organizing youth and communities through workshops and media campaigns. Working with sexually exploited and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. Legislative and executive branch policy advocacy. Creating workshop curricula, media releases, and other written materials. Presenting to governmental officials, advocates, and communities at local and national conferences, peer exchanges, and community meetings.

CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK. NY, NY. Fall 2008- Fall 2009. Director, Juvenile Justice Project. Coordinating NY Juvenile Justice Coalition, with 403 diverse members: Chairing Steering Cmte., chairing or staffing five Working Groups, expanding Coalition statewide, empowering families. Extensive media work, including press conferences, radio interviews and op editorials. Legislative and executive branch policy advocacy. Writing reports, policy papers, and juvenile justice – related correspondence. Facilitating workshops on the justice system, gangs, diverse advocacy issues, and homophobia. Creating and monitoring budget. Supervising Associate in facilitating youth leadership program, and in Coalition and policy work. Screening, hiring and supervising interns. Cultivating funders and assisting proposal – writing.

LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER, JUSTCHILDREN PROGRAM. Richmond, VA. Fall 2006-Fall 2008. Staff Attorney through Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Fellowship. Convened city-wide governmental task force on reenrollment of juvenile parolees. Helped juvenile clients obtain re-entry services and improved conditions of confinement. Advocated for sound local, state, and national youth policies. Liaisoned in English and Spanish with families, governmental agencies and courts, policy-makers, service providers, businesses, the media, and community organizations. Trained groups as large as 500 on juvenile justice issues. Developed op editorials, articles, reports, and resource materials on juvenile justice and educational topics. Participated in VA Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

NEW JERSEY SUPERIOR COURT. Trenton, NJ. Fall 2005-Summer 2006. Law Clerk to Hon. F. Lee Forrester. Helped generate judicial opinions on juvenile court cases. Attended trials and provided factual, evidentiary analyses. Mediated family law and small claims cases. Drafted court orders. Wrote correspondence and legal memoranda. Research and writing on developments in juvenile justice policy. Calculated child support obligations. Liaisoned with police, attorneys and the public. Helped judge respond to motions.

YALE LAW SCHOOL LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CLINIC. New Haven, CT. Spring 2003-Winter 2005. Clinic Co-director and Juvenile and Criminal Justice Subgroup Chair. Planned curriculum on legislative advocacy, lobbying ethics, and governmental issues. Supervised law student work and gave workshops on initiating legislative clinics. Assisted legislators and organizations (CT Voices for Children, Youth Rights Media, the CT Juvenile Justice Alliance, etc.) in passing and opposing bills through grassroots advocacy, community organizing, popular education, legislative testimony, and locating and preparing witnesses for hearings. Joined government and community working groups to create and implement legislation. Communicated with national organizations and visited various courts, incarceration facilities and lobbying conferences to inform youth advocacy work. Wrote research memos, reports, editorials, testimony, fact sheets, and letters for task forces, judges, policy organizations, and internal clinic use. Guest-taught Univ. of New Haven class.

PMBR & BAR/BRI BAR REVIEW COMPANIES. New Haven, CT. Fall 2001-Winter 2005. Head Student Representative & Student Representative, respectively. PMBR: Coordinated bar review course sales efforts of 4 law student representatives. Arranged and managed marketing displays. Communicated with regional and national personnel regarding sales goals and marketing strategies. PMBR & BAR/BRI: Enrolled law students in, and sold, bar review courses.

THE YOUTH LAW CENTER. Washington, D.C. Summer 2004. Legal Intern through Yale Law School’s Mary McCarthy Fellowship. Analyzed statutes in preparation for legislative drafting. Legislative drafting. Researched fiscal and implementation information for, and generated legal memos on, successful child welfare legislation. Created fact sheets on child welfare and juvenile justice policy. Scrutinized pending legislation and made analytical charts. Drafted testimony on a legislative proposal. Composed legal memo on potential education rights litigation. Attended Congressional hearings, D.C. Council mark-ups, and advocacy and community coalition meetings.

COOPER LEVENSON APRIL NIEDELMAN & WAGENHEIM, P.A. Cherry Hill, NJ. Summer 2003. Summer Associate. Generated extensive legal memos on land use, environmental, and real estate development cases. Critically reviewed contracts for attorneys and created closing binders. Researched NJ and PA public policies on natural resource damage; urban, shoreline, and Pinelands development; solid waste facility citing; and environmental contamination. Attended and documented meetings with clients, surveyors, architects and consultants, and formally circulated minutes.

“CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS Y ACCION SOCIAL PANAMEÑO,” Panama. Summers 2002 and 2003. Project Assistant through Schell International Human Rights Fellowship. Created multimedia report on the nature, needs, and land access of rural women’s organizations. Advised Panama’s Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights’ activities as part of United Nations initiative and helped organize and mobilize Panamanian youth. Researched World Bank and other international efforts affecting Panamanian agrarians. Facilitated rural women’s workshops on property rights and entitlement code reforms and helped mobilize rural women. Attended seminars and composed summaries on law enforcement, women’s legal rights, domestic violence law, and educational reform. Oral and written translation.

COVENANT HOUSE YOUTH ADVOCACY CENTER, Newark, NJ. Summer 2002. Legal Intern. Represented homeless and indigent youth in immigration, public benefits, juvenile justice, criminal, insurance and inheritance matters. Generated legal memos and conducted intakes for new residents. Corresponded with national legislators regarding a private bill to benefit kidnapped immigrant children. Liaisoned with state police and various courts regarding youth eligible for cleared warrants and community programs. Translated legal documents. Communicated with foreign governments to gain information leading to naturalization of immigrant foster children.

“LA FUNDACIÓN MUJER-IGLESIA” & “NIÑOS DEL CAMINO,” Dominican Republic. 2000-2001. Project Assistant through Harvard’s Michael Rockefeller Fellowship. Developed La Fundación (“The Woman and Church Foundation”) curriculum on women’s legal awareness, domestic violence, health education, environmentalism, and microenterprise. Taught, mobilized, and organized rural women. Conducted interviews and program analyses to evaluate courses on political participation. Assisted mobile health clinic. Facilitated community forums. Spoke on Santiago television and radio about international politics, cultural exchange, and human rights. Oral and written translation. Assisted Niños (“Children of the Street”) staff in counseling homeless boys and locating residential services. Attended meetings with Dominican government representatives. Created individualized curricula in math, reading, and social awareness. Translated Dominican publications on child commercial sexual exploitation and homelessness for international audiences.

NATIONAL OFFICE OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY. Washington, D.C. Summers 1998 and 1999. Intern. Received Director's Internship from Harvard's JFK School of Government. Supported policy counselors in Senate Labor, Health and Human Resources Committee and on Senate floor. Coordinated and supervised all intern community service programs and activities. Researched health and human resources issues. Assisted in speech-writing and briefings of Kennedy office chief policy counselors. Assisted in planning and staffing press conferences and panels with White House. Represented Kennedy office at press conferences and panels. Generated constituent letters, legislative memos and reports for Senator Kennedy and staff.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
RICHMOND ORGANIZATION FOR SEXUAL MINORITY YOUTH (ROSMY). Richmond, VA. Summer 2007-Fall 2008. Facilitator, Selected as Volunteer of the Year.

SIGNIFICANT APPOINTMENTS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Member, the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Committee of the NYS Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG). Member, the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) – Advisory Board of the Youth Justice Leadership Institute, Human Rights Committee, Family Engagement Working Group, Platform Committee.

SKILLS AND INTERESTS
Fluent in Spanish. Trained mediator, certified by the NJ Administrative Office of the Courts. Owner of ZenConnect, small business. Enjoys mentoring, writing, singing, travel, and dance. Zen Buddhist student.