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Clinical Education at UT Law

Real Cases. Real Experience.

Immigration Clinic

Student Experience

Fall 2013 clinic students

“From working with detainees and asylum seekers to helping applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and victims of domestic violence, the Immigration Clinic better prepared me for the real world and made me a more qualified professional. My clinical experience introduced me to some of my best law school friends and to Barbara and Denise, both truly inspiring advocates and wonderful professors. I will always cherish my time at the clinic as one of my favorite parts of law school.”
—Alejandra Avila, ’14

“When I signed up for the immigration clinic, I had no idea that I would find my calling there. I was remembering thinking on the drive back from our hearing with our client that if I won the lottery, all I would do is free asylum work. I can't believe that I did win the lottery (in the form of grant money!) and that I will get to do this kind of work right out of law school.”
—Adriana Corral, ’13

Clinic alums Amelia Ruiz Fischer, Justin Tullius, and Elise Harriger.

“Without exaggeration, the Immigration Clinic has transformed my law school career and changed my life. Working directly with underserved and vulnerable people who desperately needed our help both filled me with purpose and reminded me why I went to law school in the first place. Practically speaking, the Immigration Clinic provided me with so much lawyering experience and taught me skills (how to write legal and court documents well and persuasively, how to analyze complex legal issues and craft creative legal arguments, how to stand up in a courtroom and fight for my client) that are crucial to every aspect of any future legal career. And working with Barbara Hines and Denise Gilman, the co-directors (and immigration law legends), has been an honor and privilege. The Clinic requires a lot of your dedication, time, and hard work, but I can say with no hesitation whatsoever that taking the Immigration Clinic was the best decision of my law school career and one of the best decisions of my life.”
—Amelia Ruiz Fischer, ’12

“Joining the immigration clinic gave me the sense that I had come to law school for the right reasons. For the first time, I felt like not only was I making a difference in the lives of real people, but I was collaborating and learning from others who would remain my colleagues and friends for the rest of my life.”
—Alissa Parsley, ’12

Professors Barbara Hines and Denise Gilman with clinic students Stephanie Taylor, Ruth Rosenthal and Frances Cuevas-Hansen at Texas Law Fellowships awards

“When I began the Immigration Clinic, I had a strong inclination toward practicing immigration law. Helping people realize their dream of remaining in the U.S. was more rewarding than I could have imagined. I also had to face the harsh reality that, regardless of the outcome of each case, I had to remain as professional and objective to the client as possible. My experience in the Clinic challenged my core beliefs regarding my purpose as an attorney. Yet, when I finished my third semester in the Clinic I was certain that I wanted to practice immigration law.”
—Keneshia Washington, ’10

“The Immigration Clinic places students at the epicenter of the fight for human rights in the U.S.. Part of the Clinic's work is done at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a prison for immigrant women run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Many of the women at Hutto are asylum seekers who have suffered severe domestic violence and untold brutality in their home countries. Rather than offering a safe haven for these women, the US government locks them up in a former medium security prison. The Clinic gives students the opportunity to face injustice like this head-on. I have become a better lawyer and a better human being because of my time at the Clinic.”
—Stephanie Taylor, ’10

Clinic students Elise Harriger, Cristina Rodriguez and Emily Meador and their client after merits hearing

“Taking the Immigration Clinic has been one of the most rewarding and formative experiences I have had during my time in law school. I have enjoyed the opportunity to represent multiple clients in the courtroom, hone my writing skills, learn about federal litigation, and meet and hear the stories of immigrants from all over the world. The skills and perspective I have gained through the Immigration Clinic experience have helped to prepare me for my work upon graduation and for the legal profession more generally. Additionally, I have met people and professionals through the clinic with whom I will remain friends for many years to come. ”
—Elise Harriger, ’08

“While most Immigration Clinic students visit detention centers and directly interview and advise immigrants regarding their rights and options for release, we never feel that we are unprepared for our duties. Professor Hines and Professor Gilman hold biweekly classes that teach students the essentials of immigration law as it applies to detainees and other immigrants. Outside of class, they spend one-on-one time with students each week to answer complex questions and provide guidance on our caseload. For me, the best moments in the Immigration Clinic are those that you spend at an immigration detention facility waiting for your client to be released. When you see your client walking out of prison, saved from deportation, you know that it was all worth it.”
—Matt Pizzo, ’08

“I participated in the Immigration Clinic for two semesters and would highly recommend the clinic to anyone interested in getting court experience and in working with clients. For me, taking the Immigration Clinic has changed the trajectory of my career path. I loved the experience so much that I pursued a career in immigration law and received an Equal Justice Works fellowship to continue this work for two years following graduation. In my time with the clinic, I handled two asylum cases from beginning to end. I met repeatedly with my clients, developed a case strategy, went to court several times leading up the final hearing, and represented my clients in court in both of their final hearings. When my clients received asylum, I felt proud and fulfilled. My law school experience is a positive one in huge part due to my participation in this amazing clinic.” ”
—Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, ’08

“The UT Immigration Clinic is a great place to gain litigation experience. Over the course of the semester, my team of student attorneys handled a client's asylum case from start to finish. We met and interviewed the client at Hutto just days after she was detained, assessed her asylum claim and wrote her application, took affidavits from witnesses, compiled documentation and evidence, wrote a brief to support her claim, and at the end of the semester, took her case to trial before an immigration judge.”
—Elizabeth Wagoner, ’07

“The Immigration Clinic is a place where you make good friends while doing good work. I can't think of a better way to have launched my law career than to have started as a Fellow with the UT Immigration Clinic. At the Clinic you learn how to practice immigration law with some of the best immigration lawyers in the country. The Immigration Clinic not only teaches superb practice skills, it also teaches ethical and compassionate lawyering. ”
—Frances Valdez, ’05, Clinical Fellow, ’05-’07

“The clinic changed my life. When I went to law school I wanted to do policy work for a human rights organization. The clinic gave me an opportunity to have clients and make a difference in someone's life. I learned that was something I enjoyed doing and for the first time thought about being a practicing lawyer. When I started my first job out of law school, I had experience in immigration court and was able to take cases and build on my knowledge from the clinic. Clinical programs are the best way to learn how to practice law and UT's immigration clinic gives students the opportunity to do so while working with Barbara Hines, one of the country's leading immigration attorneys.”
—Erica Schommer, ’03