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Clinical Program Welcomes New Fellows in Farmworker Legal Aid and Tenants Advocacy

The Cornell Law Clinical Program welcomed two new fellows this fall: Reina Fostyk joined the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic and Yusong Jin, LL.M. ’22, is continuing work he began as a student with the Tenants Advocacy Practicum.

Reina Fostyk

Fostyk focused her law school studies at Michigan State University College of Law on immigration law and human rights, working in the Michigan State Immigration Clinic and then at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies in San Francisco. After graduating, she served as an Immigration Justice Campaign fellow in Ohio. In this role, she collaborated with national partners at the American Immigration Council to build a pro bono program — working with counsel at international law firms, local solo practitioners, and everything in between — to expand access to representation for noncitizens who were detained locally in Ohio. She then served as a law clerk for two federal judges in New Mexico before joining Cornell Law School in August 2022.

“I have spent most of my life in small cities, which fundamentally cannot exist without farms and farmworkers supplying food and serving as the cornerstone of local economies,” says Fostyk. “As I work with farmworkers with Professor Lyon and the clinic students, I am looking forward to learning more about the dynamics and needs of rural communities in Upstate New York. I am also excited to be collaborating with students and other legal service providers to connect children and youth farmworkers to legal services.”

“With her immigration law expertise and prior federal court work, Reina is a wonderful addition to the Farmworker Clinic, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to Cornell,” says Beth Lyon, clinical professor of law and founder and director of the clinic. “In just a few months she and the clinic students have done a great deal of outreach to connect with communities and advocates in the Mohawk Valley Region and determine how the clinic can support ongoing work. Reina is doing a great job already and I’m excited to see how we can contribute to access to justice for immigrant farmworkers through her leadership.”

Yusong Jin

Jin received his LL.M. degree from Cornell Law School in 2022, where he worked closely with both the Tenants Advocacy Practicum and Tenants Legal Hotline.

Jin has always been passionate about public service and dedicated to helping underprivileged people. During his undergraduate study in China, he visited some of the poorest mountain villages to provide legal counseling, advocate for government compensation for the demolition of local people’s houses and facilitate the settlement of a series of economic disputes. He was also an active participant in the Legal Aid Centre of Wuhan University (LACWU) and established a legal platform through which LACWU could provide legal assistance to residents in mountain areas.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jin worked as a legal intern in the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation where he drafted and reviewed contracts regarding the purchase of medical facilities, as well as aid and donation agreements. After arriving at Cornell Law for his LL.M., he worked as a student attorney in the Tenants Advocacy Practicum, handling housing justice cases. Now, as the Tenants Advocacy Fellow, Jin is supervising and assisting students in the practicum. In addition, Jin will provide legal assistance to local tenants. He is also collaborating with Eliza Hong ’24, a second-year law student in the Social Entrepreneurship class, on a chatbot project that aims to make the Tenants Legal Hotline more accessible to the community and assist with the ever-increasing number of hotline intakes.

In the coming year, Jin says he is “looking forward to providing detailed and reliable legal advice to tenants in need in Ithaca and the surrounding area. I will listen to, and learn from, those tenants, to better understand the structural inequality they are facing and look for ways to help them on a larger scale, following the path of Matthew Desmond, the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

William Niebel, who directs the Tenant Advocacy Practicum, says: “I truly enjoy working with Jin and will assist him in taking on a greater supervisory role and teaching responsibilities. He will no doubt have a very positive influence on the students.

Jin is the author of several published articles that discuss matters ranging from Chinese public policy during COVID-19, to the lives of everyday people in South America.

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