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Transnational Legal Clinic

Transnational Legal Clinic

Since the Clinic’s founding in 2006, students have represented individuals seeking asylum and other forms of immigration relief from across the globe and have worked alongside and on behalf of international human rights and community-based organizations before regional and international human rights mechanisms on a range of rights-based issues, particularly as they relate to migrants and internally-displaced persons.

Students on an immersion trip to Arizona.

About the Transnational Legal Clinic

Students in the Transnational Legal Clinic have the opportunity to develop lawyering skills, understand the U.S. immigration system and the role of the lawyer within it, and have a meaningful impact on the lives of their clients. Combining direct representation of clients and international human rights advocacy with in-depth seminars and expert mentorship, the Clinic provides a unique opportunity for hands-on learning.

Registration information and details for students

Direct Representation

A map highlighting the countries where Transnational Legal Clinic clients come from.

Students in the Clinic have successfully represented clients from countries as diverse as China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Mali, Guinea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Working in teams of two and under faculty supervision, students are responsible for all aspects of client representation, including interviewing, legal and factual research and analysis, case theory and narrative theory development, affidavit drafting, brief writing, negotiation, and preparation of fact and expert witnesses. Students then serve as lead counsel during trials, delivering opening and closing arguments, and conducting all direct and cross-examinations of their client and other witnesses.

Read More: Transnational Legal Clinic students ‘learn fast and work hard in a broken system’

Advocating for Migrants’ Rights


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Students collaborated with local and national human rights organizations in requesting hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where they presented testimony and extensive written documentation, using international human rights law to frame our partner organizations’ priority issues of concern regarding U.S. policies and practices for detaining immigrants.


United Nations Human Rights Council

In coordination and consultation with a national human rights non-profit law office and grassroots organizations in Haiti, Clinic students worked to translate a series of persistent rights violations and issues of concern into the international human rights framework for Haiti’s Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council. 

Advocating for Detained Immigrants in Pennsylvania

Working with partners such as the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (CAIR), HIAS Pennsylvania, Nationalities Service Center, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), students filed a complaint on behalf of noncitizen clients detained at the Pike County Correctional Facility in Hawley, PA who faced restricted access to legal counsel. Read the news story.

Other International Human Rights Projects

Students have visited Nepal, Haiti, Liberia, Ghana, and other destinations to gain hands-on experience and knowledge in the field of international human rights.


Clinic Faculty

Liz Bradley

Liz Bradley

Lecturer in Law, Transnational Legal Clinic  
Margaret Kopel

Maggie Kopel

Lecturer in Law, Transnational Legal Clinic  
Sarah Paoletti

Sarah Paoletti

Practice Professor of Law; Director, Transnational Legal Clinic  

Contact Us

The Transnational Legal Clinic receives clients from partner organizations; we do not have an open intake process.

People seeking legal representation for immigration matters should contact other local immigration legal services providers or the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Please also note, the Transnational Legal Clinic does not represent individuals in U.S. state or federal courts.

Transnational Legal Clinic

Tel: 215.898.8427

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Fax: 215.573.6783

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