LAW 978

Afghan Legal Support Mini-Clinic

This course offers students an opportunity to provide legal assistance to Afghans paroled into the United States who have resettled in Los Angeles.  The course will be one-unit of ungraded credit. The goals of the course are twofold: (1) to provide law students with an intense immersion in asylum law, as well as the skills involved in conducting trauma-informed legal screenings and consultations; and (2) to provide urgently-needed immigration screenings for Afghan parolees in our community to help connect them with longer-term legal support and representation.  

Students will spend the first week receiving training in the potential immigration relief available to Afghan parolees, with a particularly focus on asylum law.  The second week will involve individual in-depth consultations with Afghan parolees, which law students will conduct individually or in pairs, with interpreters as needed.  These consultations will require law students to conduct lengthy (half-day) interviews regarding the individual client’s history and family, in order to identify potential immigration remedies and gather sufficient facts to determine the viability and strength of an asylum claim.  Supervising attorneys will be available throughout these sessions to check-in and discuss potential additional lines of questions or areas in need of further research.  At the conclusion of the interview, law students will be required to write detailed interview memos.   

This mini-clinic will work in partnership with Human Rights First and other groups serving the Afghan community.  The week of consultations will provide a bridge between the large number of parolees in need of assistance and the range of legal service providers (firms, organizations, and individuals) available to take on pro bono cases.  Specifically, Human Rights First will refer to the clinic individuals in need of in-depth screenings to determine the viability of asylum and/or other immigration options.  The mini-clinic’s referral memos will then assist in efforts to place cases with pro bono counsel.  

NOTE: The course schedule will require attendance at three half-day trainings on Wednesday 1/5, Thursday 1/6, and Friday 1/7.  It will then require participation in three half-day consultations the following week, with additional time spent preparing and following up on each consultation.  There will also be a mandatory debrief the evening of Friday 1/14.  

NOTE: There may be an option to provide full representation to a small number of Afghan asylum-seekers in the spring semester for additional credit.

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