Asylum Law Clinic

The Clinic provides Southwestern Law students with the opportunity to learn lawyering skills and provide high-quality legal assistance to a vulnerable and underserved population in a community-based learning environment.

Under the close supervision of an adjunct faculty member, students will offer legal advice and counsel to clients in the area of asylum law. Students will apply the research and writing skills learned in LAWS and build on those skills by researching country conditions and other evidence required in an asylum case. Clinic students will participate in a weekly course component alongside their casework to deepen their learning of asylum law. Students will complete their office hours, casework, and case supervision at the Center.

At the Center, students will hone their skills in interviewing, issue spotting, and counseling with potential clients. Once intakes are completed, law students will apply the facts to the law, assess possible legal options, develop case plans, draft documents, a legal brief in support of the asylum claim, briefing to address complex eligibility issues and exceptions, draft an exhibit index with annotations, and declarations, and provide legal counsel to clients during varying stages of legal proceedings to ensure a wide range of understanding of an asylum law case.

Simultaneously with their case assignments, they will be participating in a classroom component, which will prepare them for representation of their assigned cases. The students will also meet individually with their supervising attorney for case review and join as a group for discussions. Students may also have the opportunity to shadow Center attorneys at one of the four local Immigration Courts or the Los Angeles Asylum Office and to learn about immigration court processes including filings, hearings, and the merits hearing where the asylum case is presented in court.

One of the key ways the clinic will differ from a traditional externship at the Center is that the clinic students will be taught case management skills and be expected to be responsible for one or two cases under the supervision of an attorney.

Tess Feldman headshot"Our primary goals are to empower students and integrate trauma-informed community lawyering into their practice. By the end of the program, students will be ready to represent asylum seekers before immigration judges and asylum officers across the United States." 

- Tess Feldman, Los Angeles LGBT Center attorney and instructor for the Asylum Law Clinic.

About the Los Angeles LGBT Center: 

Since 1969, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today, the Center’s nearly 800 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society. Learn more at