Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

October 27, 2008
Southwestern's New Immigration Clinic to Begin in January

Southwestern has established a new Immigration Law Clinic to provide legal representation to underserved immigrants in the community. The Clinic will begin operating in January, and law students who participate will represent low-income children and adults in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) (clients under the age of 21), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and U visa cases. To learn more about these types of cases, click here.

Professor Andrea Ramos, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic, will supervise the students and teach the one semester, five-unit clinic course. "Professor Ramos is the perfect combination of lawyer and educator to lead the new clinic," Dean Garth said. "Southwestern is very fortunate to have lured her away from Public Counsel."

Clinic students will have the opportunity to represent clients in their cases from beginning to end. They will learn many facets of professional responsibility such as client confidentiality, responsiveness to client demands and accountability for their work. During the case intake stage, they will conduct in-depth interviews of the potential clients and learn effective techniques for interviewing and counseling. Once representation begins, students will apply the facts to the law and assess possible legal options. They will participate in case strategy discussions and prepare their case for filing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as sharpen their writing skills and learn the importance of attention to detail in completing immigration applications.

By working with real clients in real cases, students will learn to appreciate the value of public service and the importance of access to justice for low-income clients and underserved communities," said Professor Ramos, who recently join Southwestern's faculty to serve as the Clinic's director.

The classroom component will focus on substantive and procedural law, professional responsibility and development of advocacy skills; classroom sessions will meet on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Upper division students in good academic standing are eligible for the Immigration Clinic, which does not require prerequisite courses, but does recommend Immigration Law; Evidence; Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiating; and Professional Responsibility prior to or concurrent with enrollment. Students interested in participating must submit an Immigration Law Clinic application and resume to Professor Ramos. Fluency in a relevant language other than English is preferred, but not required. Students must be willing to travel to local social service agencies and high schools to meet the community outreach requirement. Selection will not be based on academic rank, but enrollment will be limited to four students for the initial spring semester. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday November 10 and are available in the Clinic (W408) or online.