We at the Law School are very proud of our clinical programs. We have two umbrella clinics - the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. The Mandel Clinic essentially functions like a public interest law firm - there are different departments (we call them projects) and in each, faculty supervise students working on real cases. Students get real hands-on experience in meeting with clients, drafting documents, deposing witnesses, and arguing cases in court. In later posts we'll tell you more about the IJ Clinic and the other projects of the Mandel Clinic, but we wanted to tell you a bit about our newest project - the Immigrant Children's Advocacy Project (ICAP).
ICAP joined the Law School this past fall, and is headed by Maria Woltjen, who has worked in children's advocacy law since 1991. ICAP is a human service and policy advocacy program dedicated to advocating for the best interests of immigrant and refugee children who are alone in the United States. Law students and bilingual volunteers working for ICAP are trained to serve as friends of the child or Child Advocates. Their role is to figure out what brought the children to the United States and advocate on their behalf. The Advocates get to know the children, help sort out their story and help identify their eligibility for asylum or special protective visas. The Advocates help ensure the best interests of these most vulnerable children. Students working in the ICAP project are bilingual in languages including Spanish, Hindi, and Mandarin.
Stay tuned for spotlights on other clinical project soon!