Student Testimonials

“The Refugee and Immigrant Rights Litigation Clinic was unquestionably my most enjoyable and rewarding experience of law school.  In the course of the year-long clinic, I worked on successful asylum cases for refugees from several countries including Belarus, Iraq, and Togo.  My experiences in this clinic solidified my belief in the immensely positive impact that the law can have upon peoples' lives.  The Clinic allowed me to interact one-on-one with clients so that I developed an intimate understanding of their stories and struggles. My representation of clients at actual immigration court proceedings was an incomparable experience which gave me confidence and helped sharpen my trial advocacy skills. Indeed, my proudest moment of law school was witnessing the family of one of our clients break down in tears at the moment when the Immigration Judge announced that he would grant asylum. I highly recommend anyone with even a remote interest in international law, human rights law, public interest work, and of course, immigration and refugee law to apply to this clinic.”

“The SJU Immigrant and Refugee Rights Litigation Clinic was one of the most gratifying experiences I had in law school.  First and foremost, you have your own caseload and your own clients. Since the Clinic is for two semesters, you have time to cultivate a relationship with them while you work on their case. You share their hardships and successes with them, and you take pride in being able to make a difference in their lives.  It's what lawyering is all about. Second, none of these cases are easy.  Mario and Mark are preeminent in their field and, as such, tend to take the especially tough cases that dwell in the murky and unsettled areas of immigration law. Their "throw-you-into-the-fire" technique of teaching makes you learn quickly and think on your feet.  Also, you often have the chance to do real substantive work, like writing motions, memos and briefs, representing clients in immigration hearings, and even dabbling in federal practice. Third, it's a real pleasure to work under Mario's supervision.  As a teacher, he is open, patient and kind.  He takes as much time as he can to explain what needs to be done and to give you feedback.  And he always has a sense of humor. I learned a lot from him, not just about immigration law, but about how to be a good lawyer.  I couldn't recommend the Clinic more highly.”

“I participated in the Immigration Rights Litigation Clinic during my third year at St. John's, and it was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my law school career. I found it challenging because I was unfamiliar with immigration and refugee rights law but wanted to build the best cases I could for my clients, some of whom had experienced unimaginable things in their home country. With the help the professors and fellow students during roundtable discussions, I learned to develop my cases, research country conditions and immigration law, prepare court submissions, and appear before immigration judges. Besides from gaining these valuable trial advocacy skills, I found it incredibly rewarding to see my clients' cases through to the final hearing and share their relief and joy at being able stay in this country.”