The William & Mary Law School J.D. Class of 2021 helped to spur the Clinic to new growth in only its second year. Students from the Class of 2021 overcame obstacles to provide more people with representation than the Clinic has had before. In the 2020-21 Academic Year, the Clinic doubled the number of cases accepted for representation from the previous year, and increased the number of students enrolled each semester. The Class of 2021 helped the Clinic to reach an incredible milestone: since opening, the Immigration Clinic staff and students have provided over $1.4 million dollars of pro bono legal services.
While the COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of challenges, Clinic students met those challenges head-on.
Over the course of the year, students enrolled in Immigration Clinic I represented immigrants in Hampton Roads on a variety of immigration matters, including affirmative and defensive asylum, U Visas, DACA, and Removal of Conditions on Lawful Permanent Residency. They also screened many more immigrants for potential relief. In their casework, students spent hours preparing and conducting interviews, drafting affidavits and motions, and researching country conditions. In addition to their case work, students wrote blog posts to educate the public about immigration law and the Clinic’s work.
Students in Immigration Clinic II spent hundreds of hours preparing a family for their trial in immigration court. The students wrote briefs, prepared the evidentiary filing, and prepared the clients and witnesses for direct and cross-examination. Although the hearing was postponed at the last minute due to COVID-related matters at the Court, the students’ determination never wavered.
“The Class of 2021 is truly unforgettable,” said Professor Stacy Kern-Scheerer, Director of the Immigration Clinic. “They have been relentless in their dedication and commitment to sharpening their advocacy skills and providing the highest caliber representation to their Clinic clients. This class of students will be sorely missed, but we have so much confidence in them as move forward and become advocates for justice in their careers.”
Special thanks to the Class of 2021 for their dedication to the rights of immigrants in Hampton Roads. We are appreciative for your work for our community and for your dedication as the next generation of advocates.