Experts say litigation, community lawyering can benefit immigration law advocates and their clients during UHLC symposium

University of Houston Law Center Clinical Associate Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman, left, shares practical methods immigration attorneys can use to better serve their clients during a recent continuing legal education session.

University of Houston Law Center Clinical Associate Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman, left, shares practical methods immigration attorneys can use to better serve their clients during a recent continuing legal education session.

Oct. 3, 2018 — Attorneys who specialize in immigration learned how to make changes to the law through appeals, how to use the media as a benefit, and the ins and outs of federal district court during a presentation last week at the University of Houston Law Center.

The event was hosted by the Law Center's Immigration Clinic. Additional sponsors included the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative and Borealis Philanthropy.

"This full-day workshop represented a timely and important approach to immigration advocacy because it focused on federal courts and community lawyering," said Clinical Associate Professor Geoffrey Hoffman. "The workshop was at a very high level and exposed attorneys to complex issues relating to appellate lawyering, high impact litigation, and the different types of district court actions. Clinical Lecturer Rosemary Vega was instrumental in organizing the workshop and attracting its speakers from organizations nationwide."

Hoffman, director of the Law Center's Immigration Clinic, was part of the first panel, on Appellate Advocacy for immigration clients. He was joined by Bradley Jenkins, a Board of Immigration Appeals Pro Bono Project attorney and Magali Suarez Chandler, a partner at Suarez Chandler Law, PLLC, and current Immigration Clinic board member.

The third panel featured Damaris Gonzalez a field organizer in the Houston office of United We Dream, and Brandon Roche of Roche Law PLLC, and emphasized how advocacy and activism can work hand in hand in immigration law.

Edgar Saldivar, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU and Efren C. Olivares, racial and economic justice director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, led the final panel, "Federal District Courts: When, Why and How."

The event concluded with two breakout sessions on community lawyering and federal courts, the latter led by Hoffman. Attendees received six hours of continuing legal education credit, including an hour of ethics credit.

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