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Immigration law impacts tens of millions of people in the United States and around the world.  Some immigration lawyers represent people attempting to obtain visas, avoid deportation, or gain lawful permanent residence, while others work for the federal government.  Immigration law also intersects with international law, and one of the only ways to practice international law in the United States is within the immigration context.

Immigration Law Career Path Resources

Immigration Law Faculty

Immigration Law Path View

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  • Core Course

    Immigration Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    The objective of the course is to provide the student with a general knowledge of immigration laws and procedures in the United States. Focus is on the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the specific procedures established for the processing of affirmative applications for status, as well as defending against removal. The course covers the constitutional authority of the federal government to legislate and regulate immigration, nonimmigrant and immigrant visas (including family and employment based), grounds of inadmissibility and deportability, and defenses against removal. It also touches on asylum law and issues impacting those present without documentation. The course is practice oriented, with theory grounding and contextualizing aspects of the course, as relevant.

  • Recommended Course

    Human Trafficking Law and Policy

    2 Credit (Elective)

    The course surveys relevant international laws, the convention and protocol, as well as U.S. laws and procedures governing human trafficking, and compares those to the European Union approach. Students review an array of civil and criminal cases, and the domestic legislative history to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and its reauthorization acts to understand how human trafficking laws and regulations have evolved since first promulgated in 2000. Students will gain a broad understanding of factors that drive trafficking, the routes used by traffickers, and the means by which law enforcement officers find victims and prosecutors make cases against traffickers. Finally, through use of a simulation, students will learn how to prepare a T-visa application for a victim of human trafficking in the United States.

  • Recommended Course

    Immigration Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Students in this clinical component will work in law offices or agencies that provide representation to aliens involved in proceedings before the INS or in court cases originating from such proceedings. Students will spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours per week in the field, assisting attorneys who are specialists in immigration law. Students will submit weekly journals, describing and reflecting on their experiences in the field, and will meet in a series of seminars with the course instructor and/or the Clinical Director to explore the relationship between the principles covered in the substantive class and the students' fieldwork. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Recommended Course

    Crimmigration

    2 Credit (Elective)

    This course addresses the historical and contemporary relationship between criminal and immigration law. Intended for students interested in practicing Immigration or Criminal Law, the course will explore how various pleas, sentences, and convictions impact foreign nationals. The course covers criminal grounds of deportability and inadmissibility, categorization of crimes under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), types of immigration relief available to foreign nationals with criminal history, and postconviction relief for foreign nationals in criminal court. The course is practice oriented. Students should come away with an understanding of how criminal attorneys should handle cases involving noncitizens. It also will provide a toolbox for immigration attorneys for advising criminal defense attorneys in criminal proceedings, for practice before the immigration courts, and for seeking postconviction relief in criminal court.

  • Recommended Course

    Business Immigration Law

    Credit (Elective)

    The world of immigration in practice can be divided into family, court, and business immigration. Business immigration addresses both temporary and long-term solutions for individuals who need permission to remain in the United States where the purpose is related to an employment opportunity, one's professional accomplishments, or investment opportunities. Business Immigration will offer detailed information regarding business immigration law and practice, with a focus on current practice and procedures in the administrative law system of the federal agencies regulating immigration. During each class, students will put their knowledge into practice by working through increasingly complex problems designed to orient them around business immigration issues and problems. Additionally, students will be assigned a short research project of immigration requirements of other countries which serve as the basis of a discussion of US immigration in the context of a global market. Students should come away with a working knowledge of representing employers and employees in Business Immigration law.

  • Recommended Course

    Refugee and Asylum Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    The course will survey the relevant international laws and conventions governing refugees and asylum seekers, but the focus will be building the skills necessary to bring an asylum case in the United States. Each class will take students through one element of the complex categories available to asylum seekers (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group) and review the points at which asylum law in the United States has intersected with politics in recent years (national security, international relations, immigration). Each class also will contain an exercise designed to prepare students to be practice-ready in preparing an asylum claim. Students should come away with understanding of the asylum law and process and be sufficiently prepared to bring an asylum claim.

    Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirements.

  • Recommended Course

    Administrative Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    This course is designed for students interested in regulatory law and those who seek additional coverage of pertinent constitutional law topics. Coverage includes the sources and nature of agency authority, agency rule making and adjudication, and judicial review of agency action. Constitutional issues addressed include the interplay of power among the three federal branches, procedural due process, and justiciability issues such as standing, ripeness, and mootness. Special emphasis is placed on the federal Administrative Procedure Act; state analogs may be studied as well. Attention also may be given to the internal functioning of typical administrative bodies and to the relationship between regulators and the regulated community.

  • Recommended Course

    Law Practice Management

    2 Credit (Experiential Education)

    Law Practice Management teaches students how to set up and run a small law firm or a solo practice; however, the skills and lessons learned in the class are transferable to any law practice, large or small. The class focuses on what is needed to launch your practice, how to generate business, how to establish a fee structure, how to actually handle the substantive work, how to manage clients, how to deal with opposing counsel, and how to fire a client. The class also discusses law firm economics, which is critical to understand, whether you are hanging your own shingle or working for someone else. Ethical considerations and malpractice traps in the context of the day-to-day practice of law are weekly themes. Additional elements of a law practice that are examined include 1) forming a business plan; 2) incorporation/partnership, employment/independent contracts; 3) insurance; 4) tax liabilities, annual and other filings and deposits, IOLTA; 5) space; 6) equipment; 7) management; 8) rainmaking and networking; 9) computer software; 10) banking: client funds, trust accounts, operating accounts, conveyancing accounts, IOLTA requirements; and 11) marketing and advertising. Former and current practitioners are guest lecturers, and in the past, they have included a disbarred lawyer to speak of his ethical missteps, bar counsel from the Office of Bar Counsel, a panel of seasoned practitioners, representatives from LOMAP and LCL. The course also involves a "shadowing" program, where students are matched with local practitioners based upon substantive law and geography. Each student meets with a local practitioner to discuss his or her practice and start to build the student's network. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirement.

  • Recommended Course

    Public Interest Law Seminar / Clinic

    3, 4, or 5 Credit (Clinic)

    This one-semester package includes both a clinical course and seminar. Students will spend 5 (1-credit), 10 (2-credit), or 15 (3-credit) hours per week in their fieldwork, depending on the number of credits for the clinical portion. In addition, all students will attend a weekly, 2-hour seminar (2 credits). The total package will therefore be offered for 3, 4, or 5 credits, with the 3-credit package offered only to Evening and Special Part-Time Program students. For the clinical portion, the core placements will include the New England Law Clinical Law Office and off-site placements, such as Greater-Boston Legal Services, where students will handle civil cases. Students will be practicing under Rule 3:03 of the Supreme Judicial Court, typically representing indigent clients. An explicit goal of this course is to provide our students with direct experience providing "legal services for the benefit of persons of limited means." See MASS. R PROF. CONDUCT R. 6.1. Placements in governmental agencies will not be the focus of this clinic, since the placements in other clinical courses are so heavily weighted toward the government sector (e.g. Government Lawyer, Tax Clinic, Administrative Law Clinic, Criminal Procedure II Clinic, Federal Courts Clinic). The seminar portion of the course will focus on public interest law and the public interest lawyer. Classes, or units of classes, will include issues such as: introduction to substantive areas of public interest law (e.g., family law, housing law, government benefits); ethics (e.g. issues affecting public interest lawyers, regulation of the profession and delivery of legal services); clients (unmet legal needs, and issues of poverty, race and gender); the courts (dispensing justice to persons of limited means); and legal education (the role of law schools in preparing lawyers for practice). Issues from the students' fieldwork will be incorporated into the classes, to strengthen the connections between classroom and fieldwork, as well as theory and practice.

    Prerequisites/Corequisites: Evidence or Trial Practice.

    This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Business Compliance and Human Rights

    2 Credit (Elective)

    This seminar focuses on the evolving legal framework for holding businesses to account for activities that negatively impact human rights. The course is largely structured around the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) which were approved by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. The UNGPs have created an evolving normative framework that aims to prevent and remedy human rights abuses committed by companies and has become an important area of legal compliance work. The seminar is designed to provide students with a general overview of the general framework established by the UNGPs and will include coverage of: the international human rights legal regime; the development of international, domestic and voluntary corporate initiatives designed to bring corporations in line with human rights norms; the best practices for corporations to incorporate measures to assure respect of human rights; the potential liability of corporations for alleged violations of international human rights law; and the available judicial and nonjudicial remedies for vindicating violations of these rights. The course focuses on both the legal, practical, and political challenges that all stakeholders face in this new area of emerging international law while building the skills needed by a professional in this field.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Family Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Surveys many legal problems of the family. Students taking this course will learn about the effect of the constitution on reproductive activity and family formation and structure. They also will learn about procedures for family dissolution, custody, and support, regardless of whether there has been a marriage or not. In addition, students will learn about the various ways in which members of families can use contracts to create their own relations and the settings in which the state does not permit self-determination. Finally, the course explores the lawyer's role in family counseling and litigation. One or more written exercises are sometimes required during the course, in addition to a final examination.

  • Other Course

    Government Lawyer Clinic

    4 Credit (Clinic)

    This clinical course gives students an opportunity to participate in and to analyze the work of a lawyer in a government setting. Participants will spend 12 hours per week working in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office under the supervision of assistant attorneys general or another government agency. Students may assist with various aspects of litigation, such as research, investigation, pleadings, discovery, motions, trials, and appeals. Students must attend a weekly, two-hour class that will explore the skills required in representing the government as well as such policy issues as defining the "public interest" and the conflicts between representing the public and defending the government. NOTE: ELIGIBILITY FOR THIS COURSE IS DEPENDENT ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A BACKGROUND CHECK. Prerequisites/corequisites include Evidence or Trial Practice. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Labor Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Focuses primarily on regulation by the National Labor Relations Board and the federal courts of union/management relations in private industry. Much time is devoted to gaining an understanding of the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. Specific topics surveyed include union organization tactics, including use of company and union propaganda, representation elections, determination of bargaining units, contract negotiations, arbitration proceedings, strikes, boycotts, pickets, the rights of striking employees, and a union's duty to employees.

    This course may be offered every other year.