Center for Applied Legal Studies
CALS represents refugees seeking political asylum in the United States because of threatened persecution in their home countries. Students in CALS assume primary responsibility for the representation of these refugees, whose requests for asylum have already been rejected by the U.S. government.
Students work in pairs on at least one major case during the semester. The students interview the client; research the human rights record of the country of origin; develop documentary and testimonial records showing the client either suffered past persecution or will suffer future persecution if forced to return; locate and prepare witnesses; and represent the client at a hearing before an asylum officer or a federal immigration judge.
CALS’ professors and fellows help students prepare for their cases through weekly classes, simulation exercises, tutorial meetings, and mock hearings conducted a few days before real hearings are held. The teacher/student ratio is 4:1, ensuring extensive supervision in the preparation and execution of each case.