Ontario, Calif., March 17, 2008 – Following the Summer 2007 opening of its in-house clinic, the Disability Rights Legal Center, the University of La Verne (ULV) College of Law announces the opening of its Justice & Immigration Clinic (JIC), the second clinic to be housed on the law school’s Ontario, Calif. campus. Both clinics allow students the opportunity to work on real cases for clients under the supervision of a practicing attorney.

“The Justice and Immigration Clinic is specifically devoted to taking on asylum cases,” said Professor Diane Uchimiya, the JIC’s Clinical Law Professor and Supervising Attorney. “The clients who are referred to us will be applying for asylum in the immigration court. A grant of asylum allows an individual to remain in the United States lawfully because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries on account of the individual’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”

According to Professor Jane Egly, ULV College of Law’s director of clinical programs, the new immigration clinic is a win-win. “Our Justice and Immigration Clinic benefits both our law students and the community. Our students gain the knowledge, experience and practical skills they need to grow as legal professionals while asylum applicants receive pro bono legal assistance with the process to apply for permanent legal residency.”

The law school also hopes the added clinic will attract prospective students to its campus.

“Clinical offerings consistently rank high among the factors prospective law students consider when they choose a law school,” said Alexis Thompson, ULV College of Law’s assistant dean of admissions. “In fact, clinical programs are right up there among other top factors, including a law school’s location and the reputation of its academic programs and curricula.”

In its inaugural semester, the Justice & Immigration Clinic has accepted three pro bono cases. Each case involves a Latin American who was a minor at the time he or she attempted to enter the United States, and was not accompanied by an adult family member. All three individuals have been released into the custody of family members who have a lawful immigration status and who have agreed to support the individuals throughout the immigration court proceedings.  The cases are scheduled to be heard in the Los Angeles Immigration Court in April.

To prepare for the hearings, the JIC’s law students will work in pairs, spending an average of 25-30 hours per week on their assigned cases. Over the course of the semester, each pair of students will:

  • Conduct client interviews
  • Investigate facts
  • Prepare a case plan, legal strategy and evidence chart
  • Draft affidavits
  • Prepare an asylum application
  • Prepare the applicant’s document submission
  • Write a trial brief
  • Prepare opening and closing arguments
  • Prepare and conduct direct and cross-examinations
  • Prepare witnesses to testify
  • Conduct weekly status meetings
  • Evaluate options and make decisions
  • Conduct a complete moot of a hearing or asylum interview, and
  • Maintain a case file

“The opening of the Justice and Immigration Clinic presents many opportunities for local professionals in the legal and medical field to get involved with pro bono work,” said Uchimiya. “We are currently seeking attorneys, mental health examiners, medical practitioners, and country condition experts to assist students in building their cases.”

For more information about the University of La Verne College of Law’s legal clinics, please contact the law school’s Director of Clinical Programs, Professor Jane Egly, at (909) 460-2042. For more information about admission to the law school, call the Admissions Office at (909) 460-2001 or e-mail lawadm@laverne.edu.

About Professor Diane Uchimiya
A specialist in immigration law, Professor Uchimiya joined the College of Law in July 2005. Prior to her post at ULV, she was a teaching fellow at the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center. While there, she co-taught the clinical class and served as the attorney of record and advisor to student interns representing clients in immigration and asylum matters. Before entering teaching, she worked as an immigration lawyer in Virginia, where she coauthored “The Right to Counsel in Immigration Matters” with Malea Kiblan. Professor Uchimiya is a member of the California and Washington D.C. bar associations as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

About the University of La Verne College of Law
Located in Ontario, Calif., the University of La Verne College of Law serves over four million people as the only ABA-approved law school in Inland Southern California and an additional 2.2 million people in San Gabriel Valley and Eastern Los Angeles County. For more information about the College of Law, please call (909) 460-2001 or visit the Web at http://law.laverne.edu.

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The University of La Verne College of Law was provisionally approved by the American Bar Association on February 13, 2006.

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