The clinics at NYLS give students an invaluable opportunity to develop practical legal skills while learning to advance fairness and equity in the law.

Immigration Law and Litigation Clinic



In this project based course students will be trained to screen and represent juveniles before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (the administrative immigration court).

The Clinic

The New York immigration court has a special docket where only children’s cases are adjudicated. These children may secure counsel but no free counsel is provided at government expense. This project will require students to master the art of interviewing juveniles and/or their custodians quickly at the court pro bono rooms. Students will be given training in working with translators and juveniles. Working with faculty, the students will make an assessment of the juvenile’s eligibility for potential relief from removal (deportation). Students will educate juveniles who wish to continue pro se on aspects of the immigration court procedure and strategy. If we identify juveniles who may be eligible for relief, students will prepare detailed summaries of the basic eligibility issues and then work to recruit pro bono counsel through the Safe Passage Project. Students will observe court proceedings and participate in a court watch database. Students may also be required to attend and/or observe family court proceedings concerning the care and custody of juveniles. Students will draft research memoranda and sample briefs in support of special immigrant juvenile petitions and family court proceedings and asylum claims. There will be substantial coordination with other non-profit organizations. Students also assist pro bono attorneys working with the Project.

Students must be available to attend the Juvenile Immigration Docket once to twice a month on Friday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional class meetings and trainings will use free Friday mornings at times to be set with the instructors. Evening students who can attend court are encouraged to consult with the faculty about participation.

Links and Logistics

Professors Lenni Benson and Claire Thomas
Full Year Course
Fall 2 Credits/Spring 2 Credits– Graded
Recommended prerequisite: Immigration and Nationality Law. and or Family Law
Course Description: Immigration Law and Litigation Clinic
To Apply to this Clinic, please visit the OCEL Application Information Page