pro bono service
Since its inception in the Fall of 2010, the Michigan State University College of Law’s Immigration Law Clinic has helped scores of immigrants from 47 different countries, including Kenya, Chad, Poland, Gabon, Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The free clinic, which is currently handling 90 open cases, helps victims of domestic violence, abandoned children, asylum seekers, refugees, legal permanent residents facing disability-based barriers to naturalization, and other immigrants who need help but cannot afford it.
Professors David and Veronica Thronson, who run the Immigration Clinic, said the clinic not only helps the immigrants, but also allows the students to gain real-life experience by engaging with and helping Michigan’s immigrant communities.
"It’s a great way for the students to learn and make a difference in the community," Professor Veronica Thronson said, noting that "many, if not most of our clients would not be represented if the Clinic did not represent them."
The Clinic has helped many families who otherwise could not have afforded legal representation or even filing fees. Among them, an Iraqi refugee family of five, three of whom were disabled. Thanks to the Clinic, the family was able to achieve lawful permanent resident status.
The Clinic, which is offered every semester, provides opportunities for students to experience the practice of law in a well-supervised and academically rigorous program. Students at the Clinic work on real cases, most of which are referred by social services agencies and legal services providers. They earn six credits by committing to an average of 20 hours of work to the Clinic, which includes two hours of classroom instruction per week. Despite the heavy requirements, there is a very high demand for enrollment among students. In fact, in the last semester, the Clinic was able to accept less than half the students who applied.
You can find out more about the MSU College of Law’s Immigration Law Clinic by visiting http://www.law.msu.edu/clinics/index.html, or by calling 517-336-8088.
Pictured (left to right) are: Ryan Sanson, Warda Ashraf Kalim, Professor Veronica Thronson, Reshma Sambare, and James Ko.
The MSU Immigration Clinic has helped people from all over the world. The pins on the map indicate home locations of the clients they have served.
Do you have a Pro Bono or Community Service story to share?
Submit it today to be included in our "A Lawyer Helps" story bank.