Tulane Immigrants’ Rights Law Clinic

Students in the Immigrants’ Rights Law Clinic represent detainees, migrant workers, children and other immigrants with critical legal needs working through the U.S. Immigration system. Working alongside licensed attorneys, students work on behalf of clients and community groups in a variety of settings—immigration agencies and courts, state and federal courts, as well as workshops in detention centers and/or community centers.


A Great Need

The Immigrants’ Rights Law Clinic seeks to address the rapidly growing crisis in access to justice for detainees in the region by building a pipeline of immigrant defenders and public-service minded government attorneys, developing pro bono capacity in the private bar, and changing the culture of institutional players in the region through strategic litigation, advocacy and reporting. Students will learn the substantive immigration and federal practice law, as well as ethics and professionalism, as they develop lawyering skills including: critical interviewing, investigating facts, researching and analyzing relevant law, case planning, developing a theory of the case, creative problem-solving, strategic decision-making, collaborating, legal storytelling, critical lawyering and consequences of bias in legal systems, legal writing, oral advocacy, and motion practice.

Critical Challenges in Louisiana

Access to justice challenges create an urgent opportunity to fill the leadership vacuum for immigrant advocacy regionally, where there are growing immigrant populations and a concentration of detention centers, yet representation levels and outcomes remain some of the lowest nationally. Louisiana now detains more immigrants than any other state, save Texas; immigrants are held in a dozen different jails and prisons, in rural areas, hours from most immigration attorneys and defense groups.

“In many ways, Louisiana is ground zero for the access to justice crisis for immigrants across the country. Our new clinic will not only serve urgent community need, but it will be a training ground for the next generation of immigration attorneys.” – Tulane Law School Dean David Meyer

“Tulane students will be on the front lines of advocating on behalf of local immigrant communities. Louisiana has become a detention epicenter for immigrants—with thousands of people held in remote locations and forced to represent themselves, often in life or death cases. We are also seeing hundreds of children in the greater New Orleans region unable to secure pro bono immigration legal assistance.” –Laila Hlass, Director of Experiential Learning

Impact on Students

Golare Dabiri Tanha

"This practicum has been the most practical and worthwhile learning experience so far in law school for me.  This practicum gave me the opportunity to deal with a real client, hear his story, and tell his story for someone else by ways in which I had never done before (legal story-telling, evidence gathering, filling out forms, etc).  Finally, through this practicum I think I have come to know my strengths, faced my fears, and felt the gratifying emotion of compassion and understanding for others."
 – Golare Dabiri Tanha


Erin Morrissey

"This course has been challenging and enlightening, and it has helped me to develop both professionally and personally more than any other experience in my law school career."
– Erin Morrissey



Nate Hall

"Stepping out of the classroom and assuming the responsibility of representing, interviewing, and counseling my client has been one of my proudest achievements as a student at Tulane Law."
– Nate Hall




Your Impact

The Immigrants’ Rights Law Clinic is set to begin operations in Summer 2020. Your gift would allow the clinic to leverage its distinctive assets to train future immigrant defenders and government attorneys, and build capacity and infrastructure for indigent immigrant defense and advocacy.