Clinical Programs - Immigration Appellate Law and Advocacy Clinic

Participating in the Clinic

The Clinic ExperienceCornell Law School's Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic consists of classroom and practice components. Students learn the following in class:

  • Substantive immigration, asylum and CAT law
  • Immigration and appellate procedure
  • Advanced persuasive writing and research skills
  • Interviewing skills

In class, students will also discuss the issues that arise in their individual cases.

The practice component involves the representation of detained and non-detained aliens who have appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Supervised teams of two students are assigned to each appeal, and will write a brief and, in some cases, motions on behalf of the alien.

  • The students are responsible for maintaining communication with their client. This includes telephone interviews, letters responding to clients' questions, and, where possible, client visits.
  • Students may also need to conduct some investigation, such as locating and interviewing expert witnesses, obtaining affidavits from witnesses, and obtaining other information about current economic, social and political conditions in the client's home country.
  • The Clinic requires regular submission of drafts to the instructors and at least one in-class oral argument/case presentation.

Participant SelectionDuring each semester, we will announce the deadline to submit applications for the Clinic that takes place in the Spring semester.  Among other things, we consider the following factors in selecting students (in no particular order):

  • Fluency in other languages.
  • Interest and experience in working with immigrants or prisoners.
  • Prior clinical or immigration course work.
  • Legal writing and research experience and ability.
  • Ability to work well with others.
  • Whether the student will have another year in which he or she could take the clinic.