Associate Professor of Practice and Director, Immigration Law Clinic
The Immigration Clinic provides real-life lawyering experience representing clients in immigration proceedings. Students assist clients in immigration matters such as naturalization, adjustment of status, family-reunification, obtaining employment benefits, deportation defense, and petitions for asylum. Students represent noncitizen clients in matters at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and at the Executive Office of Immigration Review, including possible appearances before the Immigration Court.
The objective of this clinic course is to help students learn from their lawyering experiences how to handle immigration matters affecting low-and-moderate income persons. The lawyering skills students will use and develop include: problem-solving; legal analysis and reasoning; legal research; factual investigation; client interviewing and counseling; oral and written communication; negotiation; litigation; organization and management of legal work; cross-cultural lawyering; trauma-informed lawyering; and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
Typical Student Activities
- Client interviewing and counseling
- Case planning and implementation
- Legal research and drafting of briefs, motions, and other legal writing.
- Advocacy before administrative and judicial bodies.
- Serve as lead or co-counsel for clients.
- Serve as primary contact for clients, court, agencies, and others involved in clinic matters.
- Community-based engagement as dictated by local need, such as know-your-rights presentations and outreach.
Recent Clinic Victories and Updates
- In the past year, the ILC hosted 17 law students and provided over 5,000 hours of free legal service hours to the community. Of those law students, 94% say they are now more likely to engage in pro bono immigration work after graduation.
- The ILC served 59 clients in the past year.
- In the past year, the ILC provided counsel for 10 children fighting deportation, including 4 unaccompanied minors or children who are in removal proceedings without a parent.
- In the past year, the ILC represented 37 asylum seekers (18 before USCIS and 19 in removal proceedings).
- In the past year, the ILC obtained interim benefits for 26 out of 27 clients who were eligible for an interim benefit. Interim benefits are things such as permission to work, which allow our clients to gain more independence and stability.
- The ILC won four asylum cases for clients in the past year, meaning that these clients can safely build their lives in the U.S., with the option of becoming U.S. citizens after 5 years.
- Law students at the clinic volunteered at an Asylum Pro Se Workshop hosted by the Interfaith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) and the MICA Project.
- The ILC launched an innovative Client Support Project (CSP) in partnership with the practicum program at the Brown School to offer support to clients on issues beyond legal services. Recent services provided include PPE, food assistance, and health care referrals.
- The ILC joined the Immigrant Service Providers Network (ISPN) as an official member to build relationships with other service providers in the region who are ready and willing to assist our clients.
“My experience as a Student Attorney in the Immigration Law Clinic has been phenomenal. I applied for the Immigration Law Clinic because I am an immigrant myself. I was born and raised in Nigeria and I immigrated to Houston, Texas, at 14. Although I am fortunate to now be a U.S. citizen and I enjoyed a stress-free citizenship process, it has always been my goal to help others who are less fortunate with their immigration matters.
ILC has prepared me to be a better lawyer in many ways. First, I am a better listener. Second, my client interviewing skills, my time management, and writing have improved. Third, my emotional intelligence, attention to detail and problem-solving skills are stronger. In conclusion, ILC has given me real-world legal training that is transferable to all areas of my legal career.” Lola Awobokun
“Participating in the Immigration Law Clinic was an amazing opportunity! I gained real-world lawyering skills while simultaneously providing vital representation in immigration matters that are incredibly complex, stressful, and high-stakes. Not only do I feel like I’ve been able to make a tangible impact on people’s lives this semester, I feel like the ILC has given me a strong foundation to continue advocating on behalf of underserved immigrant-communities for the rest of my career.” Lillian Levy
“They have been very kind and always keep me informed of my case. From the first day I contacted [them], [they] have been very good.”
“They are professional and friendly people.”
“They always keep me informed of any process.”
“It was a team effort and the team was very well organized. My case was carefully documented with all necessary supporting documents. The team worked with me and guided me along the way. I was informed in every step. The information given to me was satisfactory. All questions and concerns were promptly answered.”
“The team was very kind and helpful throughout the whole process. The attorney is well experienced and orchestrates the team to act as a productive whole.”