The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic represents newly arrived unaccompanied children facing deportation, refugees fleeing human rights abuses, and other vulnerable immigrants in court and administrative proceedings. Students in IRC assume primary responsibility for building their cases, just as a lawyer would—through client interviewing and counseling, factual investigation, legal research and writing, working with expert witnesses, and conducting full hearings. Students may also participate in “Know-Your-Rights” visits at local jails/detention centers. IRC professors help students prepare for their cases through weekly class, simulation exercises, supervisory meetings, and mock hearings conducted in advance of real hearings. Students participating in the IRC are eligible for the Concentration in Litigation and Dispute Resolution or the Concentration in International Law.

Prerequisite Course

If you have not already done so, you must take Evidence during the first semester to satisfy the student practice rule.

Credits

The IRC carries 12 credits during an academic year, broken into three grades. Six graded credits are provided for the field component which covers both semesters; three graded credits are given for the fall “Core Lawyering Skills” seminar, and three graded credits are given for the spring ” Advanced Advocacy and Trial Theory” seminar.

Fall Classes

3 credits

In the Immigrants' Rights Clinic, students litigate cases on behalf of migrant clients, involving human rights abuses, child welfare, and release from detention. Students, working in pairs, assume the primary responsibility for multiple clients' complex cases, from start to finish. Students conduct client interviews, track down witnesses, speak with experts, develop documentary and testimonial evidence, write legal briefs, and ultimately conduct full hearings in court--in Boston's Immigration Court, as well as the Family and Probate Court. Students may also participate in "Know-Your-Rights" visits at local jails/detention centers. IRC professors prepare students for their cases through a weekly seminar class that integrates casework; weekly supervision meetings; and a mock hearing in the days before the real trial. Students will primarily work in clinic space at the BU Tower, and also have the opportunity to work at office space downtown at Greater Boston Legal Services. PRE-REQUISITE/CO-REQUISITE : If you have not already done so, you must take Evidence during the first semester to satisfy the student practice rule. NOTE: This clinic satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement, and will be counted towards the International as well as Litigation and Dispute Resolution Concentrations.

FALL 2016: LAW JD 859 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Laila Hlass
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 859 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Laila Hlass

3 credits

In the seminar portions of the Immigrants' Rights Clinic, the traditional law school classroom is flipped. Students take a leadership role in the weekly seminar through performing simulations, presenting case rounds issues, and participating in facilitated discussion. In additional to an "immigration law bootcamp" class focused on asylum law and representing migrant children, students will develop competencies with classes covering the following topics: Client interviewing and counseling; Oral advocacy, including preparing opening and closing statements, conducing direct examinations and cross examinations, evidentiary foundations, responding to and making objections; Case planning; Legal research; Language access and working with interpreters; Legal storytelling and developing a theory of the case; Affidavit writing; and Professional responsibility.

FALL 2016: LAW JD 882 A1 , Sep 7th to Dec 7th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Laila Hlass LAW 519

Spring Classes

3 credits

In the Immigrants' Rights Clinic, students litigate cases on behalf of migrant clients, involving human rights abuses, child welfare, and release from detention. Students, working in pairs, assume the primary responsibility for multiple clients' complex cases, from start to finish. Students conduct client interviews, track down witnesses, speak with experts, develop documentary and testimonial evidence, write legal briefs, and ultimately conduct full hearings in court--in Boston's Immigration Court, as well as the Family and Probate Court. Students may also participate in "Know-Your-Rights" visits at local jails/detention centers. IRC professors prepare students for their cases through a weekly seminar class that integrates casework; weekly supervision meetings; and a mock hearing in the days before the real trial. Students will primarily work in clinic space at the BU Tower, and also have the opportunity to work at office space downtown at Greater Boston Legal Services. PRE-REQUISITE/CO-REQUISITE : If you have not already done so, you must take Evidence during the first semester to satisfy the student practice rule. NOTE: This clinic satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement, and will be counted towards the International as well as Litigation and Dispute Resolution Concentrations.

FALL 2016: LAW JD 859 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Laila Hlass
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 859 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Laila Hlass

3 credits

Advanced Advocacy and Trial Theory In Advanced Advocacy and Trial Theory, students will further develop their Oral advocacy skills in class by participating in multiple mock hearings and portions of simulated trials. They will also learn about custody determinations and "crimmigration," the intersection of immigration and criminal law. Courses will focus on developing students' competencies in the following topics: Witness preparation, including working with lay and expert witnesses; Vicarious trauma (effects and prevention); Factual investigation; Cross-cultural lawyering and implicit bias; Legal advocacy and brief writing; Basic negotiation; Developing Professional roles and identities; and Law and organizing.

SPRG 2017: LAW JD 888 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Laila Hlass

What We Do

Students have achieved 56 successful outcomes for clients since January 2014.

Students in BU Law’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC) assume primary responsibility for building their cases—just as a lawyer would—which makes it all the more impressive when these student lawyers see their cases reach successful conclusions. Since January 2014, the IRC has recorded 56 successful outcomes; this includes obtaining lawful permanent residence, positive judgments in probate court, humanitarian and family Visa’s, work authorization, administrative closure, and positive court decisions such as a remand from the Board of Immigration Appeals and grant of a motion to reopen.

Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Student Helps Win Asylum for Survivor of Domestic Violence

Dena Birkenkamp (’15) successfully represented the client in her asylum hearing at the Boston Immigration Court. In an important victory, BU Law Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC) student Dena Birkenkamp (’15) recently won asylum for a survivor of severe and protracted domestic violence in Central America. Supervised by Clinical Fellow Sarah Sherman-Stokes, Birkenkamp has worked on the case since September 2013, first as a 2L clinic student, and returning this school year as a research assistant. Her work was rewarded in her successful representation at the client’s December 2014 asylum hearing before the Boston Immigration Court.

Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Secures Asylum for Political Dissident from the Democratic Republic of Congo

This summer, BU Law’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC) students won an important victory in securing asylum for a political dissident from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Students’ work on the case started in the summer of 2012, when the client, “Frank,” was referred to the IRC by a non-governmental organization in the Boston area. For over 15 years, the DRC has been under the control of a single family—one that has been particularly brutal in suppressing opposition. Frank was active in recruiting for an opposition party. He came to the US in 2011 to attend a conference on a visitor visa, and remained in the country, in fear of returning to the DRC. Shortly after attending the 2011 conference, the client presented himself to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), seeking asylum.

Refugee and Asylee Adjustment Toolkit

Published on behalf of the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), the “Refugee and Asylee Adjustment Toolkit” is a comprehensive resource for refugees and asylees applying for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, commonly known as a “green card,” before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The toolkit offers step-by-step guidance for practitioners, including relevant forms, statutory and regulatory authority, case law, recent developments, secondary resources, and practice tips. It was prepared by BU Law’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law. See full press release.

Faculty

The IRC is taught by:

For further information about the IRC, please contact either instructor.