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St. Thomas Law and Catholic Legal Services Host Pro Se Asylum Clinic

By December 22, 2015College of Law, STU News

On Friday December 18, St. Thomas Law co-hosted a Pro Se Asylum Clinic with Catholic Legal Services. The clinic and event, spearheaded by St. Thomas Law professor Lauren Gilbert, helped 16 Central American young women and men, most of them still teenagers, with their asylum applications. These asylum-seekers would not have had legal assistance otherwise. Eleven applications were completed that day and given to the applicants to be sent out, with several other children identified as eligible for additional relief.

The attorneys and staff from Catholic Legal Services provided a meaningful experience and excellent supervision to our student volunteers and provided them with an inspiring and effective mini-course in assisting asylum seekers with their applications. Our law students worked directly with asylum-seekers putting together their applications in teams with more experienced students and attorneys.

“Special thanks go to Professor Gilbert for undertaking this labor of love and organizing,” stated law school Associate Dean Cece Dykas. “It was her dedication and commitment that made this possible. It was quite an undertaking. It truly is the season of giving.”

In speaking of the event, Professor Gilbert stated that it was another example of why St. Thomas Law and Catholic Legal Services are both such special places.

“The lawyers and staff of Catholic Legal Services, as always, provided an inspiring example of what it means to be committed advocates and effective attorneys while our students, many of them immigrants themselves, demonstrated great empathy for the young people they served that day while honing their legal skills in interviewing, counseling, storytelling, developing winnable asylum claims and identifying other possible forms of relief.”

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