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Transnational Legal Clinic Details


Transnational Legal Clinic students make a worldwide impact. Students in the TLC prepare for future careers while gaining a deep understanding of the immigration system and its impacts on migrants and families.

Read on for details about the components of the course and the areas of law you’ll explore, and for video overviews from alumni and faculty.

At a Glance

Timing One semester course offered Fall and Spring
# of Credits 7 credits (may drop one credit in exchange for satisfying 35 hours of student’s pro bono requirement).
Pre-requisites None
Eligibility Open to 2L and 3L students.


Course Structure

The Transnational Legal Clinic combines seminars with direct representation of clients under the supervision of experienced faculty.

Skill-Building through Advocacy

Students enrolled provide direct representation to individuals seeking asylum and other forms of immigration relief. The Transnational Legal Clinic allows students to engage in human rights advocacy before regional and international human rights mechanisms. Working under faculty supervision, students develop core lawyering competencies, while working to achieve their clients’ goals through the use of a range of advocacy tools, such as litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, investigation and report writing, media advocacy, and community education and organizing in local, national and international arenas. Clinic work happens through seminars, case rounds, and weekly supervisory meetings, allowing students to integrate theory and practice and explore the role of the law in settings that cut across cultures, languages, borders, and legal systems.

TLC students are expected to critically reflect on the choices presented and choices made in the course of lawyering, as they develop their professional identity as a lawyer.

In-Depth Seminars

The Clinic meets in seminar twice weekly to provide training in fundamental lawyering competencies, including: client interviewing, case theory development, fact investigation, strategic planning, client counseling, negotiation, drafting legal pleadings, courtroom litigation, and non-litigation advocacy skills. Students participate in video-taped interviews, counseling, and negotiation sessions with their simulated and actual clients, and conduct non-litigation advocacy exercises before invited community members and experts in media and legislative advocacy. Students are also introduced to and asked to critically examine theories of human rights lawyering during the seminar. Through case rounds, students present developments, solicit and provide suggestions and feedback regarding specific legal, factual, ethical and strategic issues that arise during the course of their client representation. These sessions provide an invaluable opportunity for students to learn from each other.

Expert Mentorship

During weekly supervision sessions, students receive guidance and feedback from their faculty supervisor on all aspects of client representation and human rights advocacy, as they develop and implement their case theory and strategic case plan, advance their case(s) towards the achievement of their client(s) goals, confront various ethical and professional responsibility questions, and the variety of challenges lawyers face in course of client representation.


Areas of Immigration Practice

Areas of immigration practice in which students engage include:

Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Students have successfully represented individuals in cutting-edge legal claims, such as fear of persecution based on gender-identity and sexual orientation, female genital cutting, and domestic violence, as well as claims based on family identity, political opinion, and religion.

U and T Visa Representation

Students have successfully assisted in the representation of over 20 men subjected to forced labor through fraud and coercion in obtaining T visas available to victims of labor trafficking, and continue to represent individuals seeking relief in the form of a U visa, available to victims of particularly serious crimes where return to that client’s country of origin would cause significant hardship.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

In collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic, students have represented unaccompanied minors who have escaped situations of abuse, abandonment, and neglect in their homes and have arrived in the United States as arrived in the United States to seek safety, often in the care of a distant relative or close family friend.

International Human Rights Advocacy

Students working in teams and in close collaboration with partner and client organizations in developing and implementing strategies for utilizing the international and regional human rights mechanisms to address a range of human rights issues both in the United States and beyond our borders.


Faculty and Alumni on the Clinic Experience