CFJC Access to Justice Grant

    Project: Research project

    Project Details

    Description

    The CFJC’s Immigration Law Project has an established record of providing the highest quality legal services. The ILP’s immigration attorneys have a combined twenty plus years of experience representing clients and educating law students about best practices and zealous advocacy on behalf of noncitizens. ILP’s immigration attorneys work with second and third-year Northwestern law students; social work staff, one of whom is also trained as a lawyer; and a bilingual legal assistant and paralegal. Upon screening and accepting a case, this legal team supports clients with everything from legal representation in a removal hearing to applying for health benefits.

    The ILP is situated within a leading law school and university. ILP clients have access to lawyers and practitioners with expertise in juvenile justice, international human rights, criminal defense, and civil rights. Access to these experts enables the ILP to represent clients involved in multiple legal systems or with more complicated cases. The ILP also benefits from its ties to the greater Northwestern University community that includes political scientists, sociologists, doctors, and psychologists. Humanitarian relief has grown more complicated. Social scientists and medical experts now play a key role in most requests for humanitarian relief. The ILP can leverage its ties to the Northwestern University community to provide stronger support for its cases and gain better results for its clients. Finally, the ILP can also access a large Northwestern Law alumni network to represent clients appealing a denial to the Board of Immigration Appeals, allowing the ILP to stay with cases beyond the trial level.

    The ILP has several systems in place to make the most of these resources and ensure high-quality legal services:

    • Conflicts of interest: The Bluhm Legal Clinic has strict procedures in place for assessing possible conflicts of interest. First, prior to working with a new client or case, the attorney or legal assistant performs the conflict search in the Clinic’s Clio Legal Software database. Second, the attorney or legal assistant emails the completed conflict search results to the Clinic’s Legal Practice Administrator. The Legal Practice Administrator then reviews the conflict check with the Clinic’s Associate Dean and subsequently notifies the attorney and/or legal assistant of the conflict search results. Additionally, at the start of each semester, the Immigration Clinic screens students for possible conflicts of interest and educates students about the rules governing conflicts.

    • Docketing: The Clinic uses a variety of outside vendors for docketing, process serving, and messenger services.

    • Confidentiality: The Bluhm Legal Clinic has several procedures in place to protect client confidentiality, including, but not limited to:
    o All staff, students, interns, and volunteers must sign a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning work at the clinic.
    o Clinic staff members carefully review client confidentiality protocols with law and social work students each semester.
    o The Clinic maintains a subscription to the Clio Legal Software database (“Clio”) for storing client and case information.
    o The Immigration Law Clinic stores electronic client files on Microsoft SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform utilized by ILP staff and students. SharePoint enables staff to control student access to case files.
    o The Clinic requires all staff and students to use an “nlaw.edu” email for clinic business.
    o The Clinic prohi
    StatusActive
    Effective start/end date1/1/206/30/20

    Funding

    • Resurrection Project (CFJC-NORTH001)
    • Illinois Department of Human Services (CFJC-NORTH001)

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