Don't Kill The Lawyers

January 7th, 2010
I don't think I've ever seen a lawyer look as bad ass as Zachary Katznelson '95 does posing with a nearly shaved head and a black hoody in the November/December issue ("The Defenders").

The article, which discusses the experiences of Katznelson and other Brown alumni lawyers who represent Guantánamo detainees, is refreshing, but not just because it is proof that lawyers can be bad ass. I found the relationship that developed between Katznelson and his fifteen-year-old client, Mohammed el Gharani, both poignant and heartening. I teach English to tenth graders in a Dallas, Texas, high school and have a lot of difficulty imagining any of them in a situation as atrocious as being detained in prison without any rights whatsoever.

I am also an aspiring law student, and Katznelson's work reminds me why I want to be an attorney. Lawyers have a responsibility to serve all people from all walks of life, and as long as there are laws set up to dehumanize people based on their culture, religion, or color, the legal profession will be crucial to ensuring equal rights.

The fact that Katznelson and Gharani could not possibly be more different from each other but were nonetheless able to relate to each other through their religions, Judaism and Islam, shows that we should all be able to find a common ground with one another on the basis of our humanity. I greatly appreciate this BAM story and am eager to see the successes that these Brown alumni lawyers will share with their Guantánamo clients in the future.

Michael Ramos-Lynch '09

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Related Issue
January/February 2010