Campbell Law’s Pro Bono Council launches Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project

Photo of a gavel lying on a book that says Immigration Law on the cover

RALEIGH – Campbell Law School is launching an Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (IRRP) in response to increasing questions and political tensions surrounding immigration issues.

Law students, under the supervision of a licensed immigration law attorney, work directly with local immigrant and refugee assistance organizations to help program participants better understand immigrant rights and navigate often complex immigration laws.

The mission of this project is to “allow students the opportunity to work with local immigrant and refugee assistance programs to foster a better understanding of laws and regulations impacting immigrants and refugees,” said third-year law student Jaquelinne Murillo Figueroa, who is co-directing the project along with second-year law student Alondra Bribiesca Mata.

The Trump Administration has made immigration its signature policy issue, and court cases involving related matters, reaching all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, regularly make the national news.   

“The current events surrounding immigration law make it imperative for aspiring attorneys to acquaint themselves with the issues surrounding this complex body of law,” Figueroa added. “Additionally, working with real clients provides an opportunity for students to engage in real-world experience with immigration law.

“The new project also seeks to engage with and serve the community in Raleigh in an impactful way so that we can further Campbell Law’s mission to ‘develop lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and, professional competence, who view the practice of law as a calling to serve others and to create a more just society.’”

The program is one of a dozen pro bono, student-fueled, community-facing programs at Campbell Law. Pro bono means the services the program provides are free of charge to recipients.

Professor Shawn E. Fields is the faculty advisor for the IRRP. He recently joined Campbell Law, where he specializes in Immigration Law, Criminal Procedure, and Trial Advocacy, after previously teaching at the University of San Diego School of Law.

“It’s really important that Campbell Law is starting this project, not just because of the politically sensitive environment we are in, but because of the real need for this,” Professor Fields said. “There are a number of great organizations in the Triangle that work on specific aspects of immigrant and refugee rights. But that patchwork of organizations exists because there is no central hub in the Triangle area even though there is a real need for it. There is a lack of refugee and immigrants rights attorneys in Raleigh specifically and in the Triangle region more broadly. As the only law school in Raleigh, it is important that we have a presence in that community.”

Professor Fields spent several years as a civil litigator in California, where he represented numerous asylum seekers in immigration courts in San Francisco and spent one year as the Country Director for a refugee rights legal aid nonprofit in rural Tanzania. His writings have been published or set for publication in several top law journals, including the Washington Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, and University of Richmond Law Review.

Those interested in contacting the project should contact  immigrationandrefugeerights.pbc@email.campbell.edu

ABOUT CAMPBELL LAW

Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law will celebrate 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.