Domestic Violence - Immigration Clinic

The DVIC is a collaboration between the law school and the Immigration Project, a nonprofit legal service organization that assists individuals seeking immigration relief in Champaign and throughout downstate Illinois.  DVIC students will work with lawyers from the Immigration Project to develop, investigate, and complete applications for U-visas, VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) self petitions, and asylum for adult and youth victims of domestic violence and related traumas.

The focus of student work includes:  1) working with clients seeking legal status to develop their narratives of violence and trauma; 2) analyzing how the facts and evidence in the client’s case fit into the legal requirements to establish immigration relief; 3) communicating the client’s case in writing and otherwise completing the relevant application.

Legal work may also include drafting cover letters and motions, writing legal briefs, helping clients prepare for interviews with USCIS, conducting research on country conditions, advocacy with local law enforcement and other agencies, and assisting family members with derivative visa applications.  There may be occasional opportunities to accompany Immigration Project attorneys to immigration hearings or to represent clients who may need an order of protection.

In addition to legal work, students participate in a two hour seminar, where weekly coursework focuses on three components: 1) the psychological impact of violence and trauma on victims, especially as that impact relates to victims' choices and behavior when pursuing legal relief; 2) professionalism and lawyering; and 3) cross cultural issues in both lawyering and in domestic violence cases.

Sequence and Prerequisites:  None.

Evaluation: This is a graded course. Students will be required to devote a minimum of 135 hours during the semester to their cases and course work. In addition to fulfilling the minimum hour requirement, students will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of their legal work, their course assignments, and their class participation.