The LGBT Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association has selected rising 3L Nikki Hatza as the 2019 recipient of the David M. Rosenblum Law Student Leader Award, conferred at their annual Summer Associates Reception at Ballard Spahr.
During her time at Temple Law School, Hatza has focused on LGBTQ+ issues in her academic, advocacy, and service work. As a Law and Public Policy Scholar, she wrote a white paper proposing policy changes to create more LGBTQ+ inclusive asylum practices. She presented this paper at the Intersection of Law and Public Policy: 2019 Update in April, and again at the Law and Society Association’s Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. in early June. As a Staff Editor for the Temple Law Review, Hatza wrote a comment, “This Bill is Killing Us: The Human Cost of FOSTA,” about the harmful impact of FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act on transgender sex workers in an effort to shine a light on the devastating effects of this law and advocate for its repeal.
Hatza is also the Student Coordinator for the Name Change Project. Through this project she worked to help transgender Philadelphians access free legal name changes in collaboration with the Mazzoni Center. This work involved training about 85 law students to provide trans-inclusive client services, coordinating the logistics of the project by matching students with clients, and supporting students in the process of drafting and filing legal name change petitions. Hatza is also the Vice President of Outlaw and helped organize fundraisers for Southerners On New Ground and Galaei’s Trans Equity Project. Through Outlaw, she also mentored two 1L students.
During her time at Temple, Hatza organized educational events for the school community around a number of LGBTQ+ rights issues, including parental rights for LGBTQ+ families, gender marker policy issues, transgender individuals in government, and the trans military ban. In addition to her service to Outlaw and her work as a Law and Public Policy Scholar, Hatza is the Co-President of the Student Public Interest Network (SPIN), an A.C.E. Counselor, and a member of the Faculty Hiring Committee.
Prior to law school, as a high school teacher on the Navajo Nation, Hatza advocated with and for queer and trans students to start a Gay-Straight Alliance. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Spain, she helped develop the first gender and sexuality course offered by the University of Cantabria, and taught classes on gender and sexual diversity. As the professional development manager at the Mazzoni Center, Hatza helped schools, hospitals, businesses, social services providers, and non-profits cultivate LGBTQ+-inclusive environments, policies, and services. She also organized the CLE track of the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (formerly Philadelphia Trans Health Conference), helping to grow the availability of trans-inclusive legal services and advance trans rights.