Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth Externship - Spring 2018
Cristina Romero, TBA (2 graded academic and 3 ungraded clinical credits)
The Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth Externship will teach students the complexities of immigration law as they practice under the close supervision of expert attorneys. Your goal will be to obtain immigration status for Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth. You will interview clients, determine if they are eligible to remain in the United States legally, appear as their lawyer in immigration court, represent children in family court, draft memorandum of law, affidavits and file applications for legal status. You will be working with several clients during the semester.
Students will be placed at the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit where they will learn zealous advocacy through direct representation of children. The Legal Aid Society’s coordinated and comprehensive approach to representation means that students are likely to be exposed to other areas of law and practices by working with lawyers in other divisions. The Juvenile Rights Practice’s client-directed approach provides the framework that ensures the client’s wishes prevail throughout representation. Collaboration with Juvenile Rights likewise ensures access to important services such as education and counseling. Students will work with The Criminal Defense Practice to avoid convictions that result in their client’s deportation. Students may also work with the appellate units in these practice areas, if necessary. Students are encouraged to attend all hearings and develop relationships with other professionals whenever possible. Through direct client representation, the externship will build essential lawyering skills in the following areas:
Explore adolescent development and effects of trauma;
Determine goals of representation;
Service collateral needs: e.g., counseling, education, healthcare and tax.
Formulate the theory of the case;
Zealous oral advocacy and courtroom demeanor;
Effective legal writing versus narrative drafting.
Interviewing and Communication Skills:
Develop rapport, gain trust and foster open dialogue with clients;
Active listening to gather relevant facts;
Confidentiality and the attorney-client relationship;
Questioning techniques: e.g., open-ended, leading and yes-no.
Relationship Building with Clients:
Manage client expectations and maintain boundaries;
Consistent contact and appraisal of case status with client;
Identify client needs and implement creative solutions.
Multi System Advocacy and Ethical Considerations:
Reconcile tensions between the federal regulatory state and state common law;
Negotiate issues arising out of the criminal court and delinquency matters;
Utilize international norms and treaties to promote the rights of the child;
Recognize ethical issues when they arise and apply relevant rules to reach an appropriate resolution.
The externship will provide 3 ungraded clinical credits. The externship will consist of 15 hours per week at The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit under the supervision of Tina Romero and other attorneys in the Youth Project. Any hours spent at court will count towards the fieldwork requirements. Enrollment is limited to eight students.
The seminar will explore the intersection of immigration law, family law and criminal law. It will analyze the ethical challenges representing unaccompanied minors present and deconstruct the U.S. government’s immigration policies and their impact on communities.
Working under the supervision of two attorneys, up to 8 externs will provide legal services to these children, including representing them at hearings in family court and immigration court.
To apply, please email your resume and a cover letter or statement of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org and MLEVY@Law.Columbia.EDU by Noon on October 30, 2017.