April 25, 2012

Catholic Charities of Atlanta and AJMLS Announce Plans to Launch State’s First Immigration Law Clinic


Catholic Charities of Atlanta (CCA) and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) today announced a partnership to open Georgia’s first Immigration Law Clinic to provide CCA clients with legal counsel and representation and offer second-and third-year law students real-world experience under the direction of licensed attorneys.

Key facts about the new Immigration Law Clinic:

•The clinic will open Fall 2012 at the CCA offices, 2305 Parklake Dr. NE Bldg. 9, Suite 150 Atlanta, GA, 30345;
•Services will include assistance with benefits filings, various petitions, on-site counsel at detention facilities;
•CCA serves clients who are victims of domestic violence, abused immigrant children, trafficking victims, asylum, family-based adjustment and naturalization cases. All are at or below the poverty level;
•CCA meets with 1,500 new clients and 4,800 detainees each year. There are 750 open/active cases; and
•The clinic is the first clinic of any kind for AJMLS.

“The new Immigration Clinic in partnership with Catholic Charities demonstrates our commitment to the community and preparing our students to practice law,” said Richardson Lynn, Dean and Professor of Law at AJMLS. “We are honored to work along with Catholic Charities as it serves the rapidly growing immigrant community.”

The clinic will offer CCA clients assistance with filings for immigration benefits based on family eligibility, violence against women petitions, crime victim petitions and temporary protective status. The clinic will also serve detainees at immigration detention facilities.

“Our partnership with AJMLS marks the first Immigration Clinic in the state of Georgia,” said Jennifer Bensman, Program Director of Immigration Legal Services at CCA. “We are looking forward to working with students and preparing them to interact directly with clients. It is my hope that after the completion of the Immigration Law Clinic, John Marshall students will continue to seek pro bono opportunities.”

Students will gain real-world legal experience in an academic environment, while providing assistance to CCA clients. Students will develop skills in problem-solving, client interviewing, collaborating and cross-cultural awareness, and they will also meet with detainees at immigration detention facilities.

“Students who possess a strong interest in immigration affairs are ideal candidates for the Immigration Law Clinic,” said Renata Turner, Clinic Director and Associate Professor at AJMLS. “As the school’s first clinic, we are excited to introduce students to real-world cases as a part of their legal education.”