Immigrant Justice Clinic

The Immigrant Justice Clinic (formerly the Immigration Law Clinic) provides law students an opportunity to gain practical hands on experience working on a broad range of issues impacting immigrant communities including detention, deportation and access to benefits. Students will provide legal support to grassroots organizations including direct representation of individuals and working on related projects. Through this community-based representation model, students will develop transferable skills such as interviewing, strategizing, oral presentations, and document drafting.

The Immigration Law Clinic has changed its name to the Immigrant Justice Clinic to reflect its foundational insight that the community is best served when lawyers help empower marginalized individuals and groups to advocate for themselves. This is a full-year clinic offered for 10 credits (5 credits/semester) and students will receive separate letter grades at the end of the year for the clinic work and seminar. The clinic is open to day and evening students in their last two (2) years of law school and Accelerated JD students in their last year.

Consistent with the concept of immigrant justice, the work that students will perform will center the needs and advocacy aspirations of immigrant communities and help to translate a complex system of laws and procedures for legibility by a lay audience. Concretely, this means that students in the clinic will work on projects and materials that help immigrant communities understand their rights, access litigation strategies and obtain critical information on themselves from government agencies without risking deportation. Each student team will work on an existing individual representation case and an existing or new project. The cases include applications for Temporary Protected Status, asylum, lawful permanent residence, and citizenship. The projects will include preparing and delivering know your rights materials in a “train the trainer” model, providing key information to communities on the inner workings of ICE and various immigration procedures, and preparing toolkits for communities seeking to advocate for immigration reform.

The clinic includes a two-hour per week seminar. The class will focus on building students’ skills in client/community relationship building, collaboration, oral and written advocacy and presentations. The class will also provide students with background on various community organizations including their histories, theories of change and current work. Finally, the class will provide students with an understanding of the ways in which immigration laws impact communities on the ground. In the supervision meetings that occur outside of class, students will be given a guided path towards completing their case or project. Primarily in these meetings but also in class, students will be given an opportunity to engage in critical reflection of their performance, explore the ethical implications of their work, and develop an individual professional identity.

Time commitment: The seminar for the clinic takes place on Wednesdays, 4-6pm. Each student will also need to set aside an hour a week for supervision with the clinic professor, days and times to be determined. The professional work in the Immigration Clinic requires a minimum of 13 hours per week outside of class and supervision meetings. This does require daytime hours as court and client meetings typically occur between 9:00am-6:00pm. Please speak with Professor Shah if you have questions about the time commitment. In the fall semester, there will be one all-day boot camp to introduce student to key legal concepts that you will use throughout the year. Date and time for the boot camp to be determined.

Pre/co-requisites and Language Ability: Preference for students who have taken or are currently enrolled in Immigration Law and Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure. Students are also strongly advised to take a Trial Practice course as trial skills are extremely helpful in the clinic. Students must have completed or be currently enrolled in Evidence. Fluency in relevant languages other than English (particularly Spanish and Portuguese) is preferred.

Grading: Students are evaluated mid-year to assess progress and set goals. Students will receive separate letter grades at the end of the year for the seminar portion of the clinic and for the casework. If you have any questions contact Professor Ragini Shah.