Immigrant Rights Clinic

From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Defending Human Rights

The Immigrant Rights Clinic engages law students in direct representation of immigrants before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeals. Our representation focuses on deportation defense, federal litigation on immigration detention and affirmative filings for survivors of crimes and abuse.

Clients include asylum-seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries, permanent residents facing deportation due to a criminal conviction, unaccompanied children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent, and undocumented individuals with substantial ties to the United States. Our clinic recognizes the importance of providing trauma-informed services in these cases and values interdisciplinary collaboration with social workers, psychologists and health care professionals.

Skills Development

student with U visas bookAs a student in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, you will typically work in pairs and have direct responsibility for your cases.

You will:

  • interview clients and witnesses
  • prepare detailed declarations
  • write motions and complex legal briefs
  • develop factual evidence to support clients’ claims
  • appear and argue in court (if you have at least 45 credits)

Merits hearings in immigration court are similar to trials, providing you the opportunity to take testimony, defend clients during cross-examination, work with expert witnesses and make oral arguments. Administrative and federal appeals give you additional experience writing legal briefs.

In addition to providing individual representation, you have the opportunity to undertake policy and advocacy projects around immigrant rights at the local, state and national levels. Such projects may include drafting legislation, writing reports, preparing training materials, collaborating with community organizations in developing strategies for a particular campaign, amicus briefing or participating in impact litigation. These projects are designed to help you explore various ways to engage in social justice work and develop transferrable skills that are applicable to a wide range of careers post-graduation.

Course Information

Students provide direct representation to immigrants in removal proceedings; gaining substantial litigation skills; including preparing for direct and cross-examination; working with expert witnesses; writing complex legal briefs; and arguing in court. Students also have the opportunity to engage in policy and advocacy projects.

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
• Professional Responsibility -- completed, or concurrently enrolled. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic.

Recommended Courses:
• Immigration Law -- completed or concurrently enrolled

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
Four (4) hours credit in the Fall and Spring
Counts towards oral skills requirement

Terms available:
Fall and Spring

Evaluation:
Graded

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Faculty:
Prof. Fatma Marouf

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Application

Student applications for the Immigrant Rights Clinic are available online:

No Howdy registration. As part of the application, students will be required to upload pdfs of their current resume, transcript and a brief statement explaining why they want to participate in this clinic. Students are encouraged to apply to clinics by the deadline listed on the course schedule. Students who apply by that deadline will be notified of their application status before the end of the semester. Applications received after that time will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Students who are admitted to the clinic will be enrolled and notified by the Clinical Program Office.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.

Questions about the clinics or the application process can be answered by emailing experiential@law.tamu.edu.