About the International Human Rights Law Clinic
The International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) offers student attorneys the opportunity to represent non-U.S. citizens and organizations working to defend the human rights of non-U.S. citizens in a broad range of settings, including regional and international bodies, U.S. federal and state courts, and immigration court.
The IHRLC provides representation in predominantly three broad areas: (1) Refugee and resettlement applications to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on behalf of vulnerable individuals abroad; (2) asylum cases on behalf of individuals in the U.S. seeking protection based on persecution because of political opinion, gender-based violence, and/or sexual orientation; and (3) children and families seeking refuge in the U.S. from Central America.
Student attorneys also represent organizational clients on projects and international human rights cases to influence U.S. and international law and policy. The IHRLC docket strives to be responsive to current human rights needs. Additionally, IHRLC faculty solicit input from incoming clinic students, and consult with current students when vacancies in the docket arise.
The matters handled by the IHRLC allow students to develop core lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and trial advocacy, while cultivating complementary skills in the areas of policy and legislative advocacy, community organizing, and strategic communication.
The IHRLC features a seminar that meets once each week for two hours, followed by one hour of case rounds, for a total of three hours of class each week. Student attorney teams meet at least once a week with their direct faculty supervisor to discuss their matters. The course focuses on lawyering skills, ethical issues, and preparation for the practice of law. Teaching methods are experiential and student-focused including extensive use of simulation and role-playing exercises. Additionally, we devote class time to issues of the role of attorneys in social change and non-traditional lawyering. Summer reading and orientation (typically the Thursday and Friday before classes begin) are required parts of the curriculum.