UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic
UNROW's story began in 2000 when five Texas trial lawyers - Walter Umphrey, Harold Nix, Wayne Reaud, John O'Quinn, and John Eddie Williams (UNROW) - made gifts totaling $2 million to Washington College of Law. Over the past 10 years, that gift has supported student participation in human rights litigation through participation in the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic.
Founded by WCL Emeritus Professor Michael Tigar, UNROW propounds a philosophy focused on providing great autonomy to WCL's student attorneys in proposing and preparing new cases, determining litigation strategy, drafting motions, arguing in court, and traveling internationally, if necessary, to support their clients and cases. The UNROW Clinic has exceptional experience with federal court and international litigation that involves multiple plaintiffs and factual complexities.
The UNROW Clinic has represented a diverse range of individuals who suffered egregious human rights violations, including the indigenous peoples of Chagos Archipelago (usually before the European Court), who were forcibly removed from their islands in the Indian Ocean in the late 1960s and 1970s to build a U.S. Naval Base. Currently UNROW is in proceedings in federal court to enforce a judgment of over $7 million in a case against an American involved in torturing abroad. UNROW is also currently working on pursuing justice for American citizens denied their rights by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. In addition, UNROW recently joined together with Amnesty International and has undertaken an extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) project to search for potential cases involving human rights abuses.
UNROW combines its resources with those of the larger WCL legal community and crafts unique legal arguments and theories that seek to categorically change application of the law to protect and promote human rights. The combination of support from the academic community and the school's mission to promulgate a fair and just body of human rights law create the perfect platform by which UNROW can operate.