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The Bread and Life: Immigration Clinic is a two-semester, four-credits a semester clinic offered for the fall and spring semesters. It is open to students who have completed their first year of law school (24 credits), including courses in Civil Procedure and Legal Writing. Although not prerequisites, courses in Immigration Law and Lawyering Skills, including the Interviewing and Counseling Seminar, are recommended.

Students participating in the Clinic must attend a two-hour, weekly seminar class in which they learn and develop important professional skills, including:

  • Client-centered interviewing
  • Counseling
  • Cross-cultural lawyering
  • Community organizing
  • Non-litigation approaches to problem-solving in the immigration context
  • Public advocacy
  • Case theory and strategy in immigration cases
  • Fact investigation
  • Legal Research

During seminar roundtable discussions, students present client cases; identify complex legal, factual or strategy issues; share ideas and alternative solutions; and learn how to work together and problem-solve as a team.

In addition to the seminar class, students spend eight hours each week (on Friday's) with clients at St. John's Bread and Life (SJBL) in Brooklyn. They also spend five hours each week doing office work and research at Catholic Mitigration Services' office in Brooklyn. 

Students receive a letter grade for Clinic participation based on their professional responsibility in relationship to their clients, including their ability to:

  • Take ownership and responsibility for their cases
  • Work with clients
  • Identify clients’ needs
  • Strategize about how to best meet client needs
  • Make appropriate community referrals

The grade also turns on the student’s:

  • Research skills
  • Case preparation, including investigation and analysis of facts
  • Decision-making and case-management skills, including setting goals and checking progress
  • Advocacy and writing skills, including the ability to effectively integrate facts and legal arguments and to incorporate comments and revisions into redrafts
  • Adherence to both internal and external deadlines and office procedures
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other students, agency personnel and Professor Villiers