Justice and Immigration Clinic Opens at California’s University of La Verne College of Law

ONTARIO, Calif.

The University of La Verne (ULV) College of Law has announced the opening of its Justice & Immigration Clinic (JIC). The second clinic to be housed on the law school’s Ontario, Calif. Campus, it follows the Summer 2007 opening of the Disability Rights Legal Center.

Both clinics allow students the opportunity to work on real cases for clients under the supervision of a practicing attorney.

Diane Uchimiya, the JIC’s clinical law professor, is the supervising attorney.  She is a specialist in immigration law who joined the College of Law in July 2005. Previously, she was a teaching fellow at the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center.

“The Justice and Immigration Clinic is specifically devoted to taking on asylum cases,” she said. “The clients who are referred to us will be applying for asylum in the immigration court. A grant of asylum allows an individual to remain in the United States lawfully because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries on account of the individual’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”

Jane Egly, ULV College of Law’s director of clinical programs, said the new center would benefit the students and the community.

“Our students gain the knowledge, experience and practical skills they need to grow as legal professionals, while asylum applicants receive pro bono legal assistance with the process to apply for permanent legal residency,” she said.

The law school also hopes the added clinic will attract prospective students to its campus.

“Clinical offerings consistently rank high among the factors prospective law students consider when they choose a law school,” said Alexis Thompson, ULV College of Law’s assistant dean of admissions. “In fact, clinical programs are right up there among other top factors, including a law school’s location and the reputation of its academic programs and curricula.”

In its inaugural semester, the Justice & Immigration Clinic has accepted three pro bono cases. Each case involves a Latin American who was a minor at the time he or she attempted to enter the United States, and was not accompanied by an adult family member. All three individuals have been released into the custody of family members who have a lawful immigration status and who have agreed to support the individuals throughout the immigration court proceedings. Hearings are scheduled in the Los Angeles Immigration Court in April.

Pairs of JIC law students will spend an average of 25 to 30 hours per week on their assigned cases, conducting interviews, investigating facts and doing other work to prepare and argue the case.

“The opening of the Justice and Immigration Clinic presents many opportunities for local professionals in the legal and medical field to get involved with pro bono work,” said Uchimiya. “We are currently seeking attorneys, mental health examiners, medical practitioners, and country condition experts to assist students in building their cases.”

For more information about the university’s legal clinics, call Egly, at 909-460-2042. For more information about admission to the law school, call the Admissions Office at 909-460-2001 or e-mail lawadm@ulv.edu. The university website address is http://law.ulv.edu/

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