Immigrant Family Legal Clinic Achievements

Our Achievements & Student Reflections

Deans and faculty from the UCLA School of Law and Graduate School of Education and Information Studies gathered at RFK Community Schools with school administrators, LAUSD Board President Mónica Garcia, long-time civil rights activist and friend of Robert F. Kennedy, Paul Schrade, and UCLA Alumna Alicia Miñana, to celebrate the clinic’s inauguration in May 2019.

Entrance to Immigrant Family Legal Clinic

From our opening in January 2019 to Fall 2020, we have provided over 100 individuals with one-on-one confidential legal consultations. Some examples of success stories resulting from these sessions include: 

--Assisting an RFK family file the necessary papers to change their court venue from Texas to California so they did not miss an upcoming hearing.

--Teaching an RFK student how to locate a loved one in immigration detention.

--Advocating for an RFK teacher in negotiations with her landlord to address legally required health and safety concerns in her apartment.

--Supporting RFK families to understand criminal proceedings and their immigration consequences for immigrant students.

Law students Emma Hulse and Yesenia Pulido in L.A. Superior Court with client and mother after a successful hearing for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
Law students Emma Hulse and Yesenia Pulido in L.A. Superior Court with client and mother after a successful hearing for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

Represented over 20 RFK individuals with immigration cases. So far, some of our accomplishments include:

--Obtained approved special visas for juveniles for 10 RFK immigrant students that put them on a path towards legal permanent residency (green cards) - 4 more visa applications are pending

--Won asylum for an RFK family – read about their story here.

--Obtained DACA renewal for a recent RFK graduate after helping him navigate what to do about a recent criminal conviction for a misdemeanor

--Obtained work authorization for 10 individuals while their immigration applications are pending.

Immigrant Family Legal Clinic students Lauren Kiesel, Emma Hulse, and Katharine Norris.
Clinic students Lauren Kiesel, Emma Hulse, and Katharine Norris in a newcomer presentation, Fall 2019.

Organized community education events in a wide range of forums, including professional development trainings for teachers, workshops for parents, and classroom sessions for newcomer students.

--Topics have included Immigration and Public Benefits, Workers' Rights, Housing, and Basics of U.S. Immigration Law.

--Materials from these events are available on our resources page.

--Since COVID19 shifted RFK to a remote environment we have partnered with Bet Tzedek to provide zoom town halls for RFK families on workers' rights and housing during COVID, and presented to teachers and administrators in RFK and other LAUSD schools on key services and programs available to immigrant families

Held two annual art drives in 2018 and 2019, organized by high school clinic interns from the UCLA Community School. The theme of the 2019 art drive was "community."

Clinic Students' Reflections

Lauren working with one of our young clients in the clinic’s office.
Lauren working with one of our young clients in the clinic’s office.

The Immigrant Family Legal Clinic was the most meaningful experience I had in law school. I would recommend the Clinic to anyone interested in learning about immigration law and making a difference in students and their families' lives.

-- Lauren Kiesel, Class of 2020

Kristen Dooley with fellow clinic students Josh Brown, Sebastian Spollman, and Gina Allen, as well as Fellow/Staff Attorney Ali O’Brien.
Kristen with fellow clinic students Josh Brown, Sebastian Spollman, and Gina Allen, as well as Fellow/Staff Attorney Ali O’Brien during a pre-clinic training in Tijuana, January 2020.

Participating in ImmFam was a great opportunity to engage very closely with students and their families, work with teachers on outreach projects, and see how a new legal clinic can become established in a collaborative way. I recommend the ImmFam clinic to anyone interested in seeing a unique model of legal services embedded within a community. I learned a lot about case management, trauma informed interviewing, negotiating real ethics concerns, and how legal work can empower clients if it is approached in a thoughtful way. These skills are applicable in any future work, even if it is not immigration related.

--Kristen Dooley, Class of 2021

Mary Lipscomb with clinic students at the clinic's inaugural celebration in May 2019.
Mary with clinic students at our inaugural celebration in May 2019, holding the certificate of commendation presented to the clinic by LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.

Participating in UCLA's Immigrant Family Legal Clinic was by far the most powerful part of my time in law school. I was able to contribute to three clients' successful asylum applications. I am extremely proud to have helped this incredible family secure a safer and more stable life in the United States, and participate fully in their community in Koreatown. The clinic was my first exposure to immigration law, and because of this rewarding work collaborating with my inspirational clients I am now pursuing a career practicing asylum law. The clinic provides life-saving services in an area of enormous need. At the same time the clinic is educating the next generation of advocates.

--Mary Lipscomb, Class of 2020

UCLA Law student Christina Avalos
UCLA Law student Christina Avalos.

This is one of the most unique clinics at UCLA Law, allowing students to engage in direct legal services, community outreach and education, and policy advocacy all in one semester. I truly enjoyed practicing various modes of advocacy with the clients, school staff, and community organizers. The IFLC is an ambitious model of what community-centered lawyering should look like and it has informed the way I hope to shape my own practice as an immigrants' rights attorney in the future. 

--Christina Avalos, Class of 2019, Current Skadden Fellow at CHIRLA

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