Writing as a Tool for Advocacy and Change in the Immigrant and Non-Citizens Rights Clinic

Clinical Professors and Supervising Attorneys: Ramzi Kassem, Alizabeth Newman, Diala Shamas, and Nermeen Arastu

The work in the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic spans a variety of different substantive practice areas and uses a combination of social justice lawyering tools to achieve results for clients and communities. Through this multi-pronged approach, INRC students are tasked with writing for a variety of audiences including courts, agencies, tribunals, and public media and with distinct purposes. For example, our students submit their written work product to the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, throughout state and federal court systems, to international tribunals, and/or to local or national press. Further, since our work spans litigation, public advocacy, community education, and organizing, written work product in INRC may require formal legal advocacy in a brief or memoranda, or a more creative approach to public persuasion through an op-ed piece or a specific request of a public official. Thus, through the course of our yearlong program, INRC students will draft legal briefs and motions, witness affidavits, requests to government lawyers for discretionary action, op-eds and press releases, investigative pieces, advocacy letters, and educational materials. Students practice analyzing writing for legal content, structure, style, and word selection. They become adept at reflecting upon and critically reviewing their own work as well as giving constructive feedback to colleagues and workshopping written drafts with their teams or in class.