IJC Bond Hearing

L:R: Tess Foley ’18, Professor Hemanth Gundavaram, Alicia Cook ’18 and Connie Tran ’12. 

5.21.18 — Northeastern University School of Law’s new Immigrant Justice Clinic (IJC) has achieved its first victory. Students Tess Foley ’18 and Alicia Cook ’18 secured the release of their client from an immigration detention center.

“The students did an amazing job with a very tough case, securing a $2,500 bond for their client, which is extremely low in a case like this,” said Professor Hemanth Gundavaram, co-director of the IJC. “The client will be able to pursue her case without being behind bars and, most importantly, can enter a drug treatment program, which she is very motivated to do.”

The case was brought to the IJC by Connie Tran ’12, a staff attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services. When Tran heard about the launch of the clinic, she approached her former professor, IJC co-director Rachel Rosenbloom, to ask whether the clinic could take on this case. The client, who has been in the US for many years and has two US-citizen children, was in criminal court on a minor charge. The criminal court judge was willing to release her to enter a drug treatment facility, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picked her up at the courthouse. When that happened, the clinic stepped in.

“The students rose to the task of standing up against the government’s detention of the client,” Tran said. “After weeks of meticulous preparation, investigation and planning, they grabbed the attention of the immigration judge and everyone in the room when they told the client’s emotional story of trauma and loss.”

“The opportunity to work on a bond case was an incredibly rewarding experience,” said Cook. “This case allowed us to hone our advocacy skills by appearing in court multiple times, but also enabled us to see the important difference that representation can have in a client’s life.” Foley added that “winning the bond for our client truly served as the highlight of our work in the clinic.”

The students did not stop there, however. In providing holistic representation, Foley and Cook contacted numerous organizations and individuals and secured the $2,500 bond amount for the client.

“This is a perfect example of the twin goals of the clinic in serving both the experiential education and public service missions of the school,” said Gundavaram. “The students received incredible experience interviewing the client in detention, researching her case, writing the motion and arguing in immigration court. At the time, we were able to represent and help a valuable and vulnerable member of our community get her freedom back.”

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students an unparalleled full year of practical legal work. All students participate in four, full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 900 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.