Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic
Welcome to Cornell Law School's Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic. We are one of the only law school clinics in the country that focus exclusively on appellate immigration cases. Under the supervision of the clinic directors, law students represent immigrants in their appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). All of these immigrants seek to stay in the United States to escape persecution and torture in their home countries. Since the clinic’s founding in 2003, almost 100 law students have helped such immigrants. Clients of the clinic have included domestic violence victims, transgender individuals, child soldiers, political activists, and mentally challenged detainees. Many students continue to practice immigration law after graduation, either in non-governmental organizations or by taking asylum cases on a pro bono basis while working in private firms.
Clinic students work intensely during the spring semester, reviewing transcripts of hearings before an immigration judge, interviewing the client (often using interpreters), unearthing new facts about the client's case, researching domestic and international law and country conditions, developing a theory of the appeal, filing administrative motions and petitions, and writing an appellate brief. In doing so, students develop a deep understanding of the complex law governing immigration relief. Students also acquire practical skills, including advanced persuasive writing techniques and cross-cultural client communication.
Students often consider the Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic to be among their most meaningful law school experiences. Please use the links on the left to learn more about this clinic and its important work.