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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 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.

  • Core 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.

  • Core 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.

  • Core 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

    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

    Public International Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Provides a basic introduction to the field of international law. Topics covered include interpretation of international agreements; international dispute resolution; international organizations; international jurisdiction over persons, property, and territory and limitations on such jurisdiction; law of the sea; international human rights law; international environmental law; and the law concerning use of force in the international system. The course is designed to expose students to the sorts of issues that arise in cases before international tribunals and organizations and in cases involving foreign parties and international legal principles in US courts.

  • Recommended Course

    Law Practice Management

    2 Credit (Professional Skills)

    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 component 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 component, 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 the 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

    International Women’s Issues

    2 Credit (Elective)

    Advanced International and Comparative Law course: This seminar will be devoted to exploring issues that impact the rights, livelihood, and welfare of women around the world. We will survey readings from a variety of disciplines, with an emphasis on law and the impacts of war and migration on women. We will begin with an overview of feminist jurisprudence to ground our discussion in knowledge of law, governance, and economics in order to enable us to discuss each topic. Topics will include: international women's rights and international law impacting women, gender and economics, culture, health care, education, migration, war, status of refugees, asylum on the basis of gender and "social group" inheritance, property, human trafficking, reproduction, and women as caretakers of the private sphere. The first two-thirds of the course will be devoted to classroom discussion of the readings assigned. During the final one-third of the course, students will make presentations, outlining the research they have been conducting toward full development of their papers.

  • Other Course

    Employment Law

    2 or 3 Credit (Elective)

    This course deals with the employer/employee relationship when the employee is not represented by a labor union, but rather seeks protection under state or federal legislation. Among the topics are legal restraints on employer screening of employees, wage and hour legislation, occupational health and safety legislation, restrictions on employee discharge, employment discrimination, retirement, and other employee workplace rights and protections.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Administrative Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Placements inside agencies or in organizations or offices that work before agencies are within the broad scope of the clinic. Students in this clinical component spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours per week on fieldwork. Given the broad range of possible placements, students' experiences can range from acting as a law clerk to an administrative law judge or hearing officer to advocating before an agency. 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. NOTE: ELIGIBILITY FOR SOME PLACEMENTS IN THIS COURSE IS DEPENDENT ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A BACKGROUND CHECK. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Business Planning

    3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    In today's increasingly fast-paced and competitive business environment, attorneys must be prepared to provide business leaders with timely, appropriate, and valuable analysis and advice. In this course, we will learn to blend practical and theoretical approaches in meeting the needs of entrepreneurial clients, who are typically highly committed to their business, organization, concept, or venture. Using present-day examples and vignettes, we will learn to identify priorities and develop practical, translatable legal solutions relating to: entity selection; risk analysis and mitigation; managerial control; capital development; use of media; property rights and patent concerns; ethical considerations; contract negotiations; employment and tax issues; and growth and exit strategies. Throughout the course, we will examine successful (and some not so successful) examples of critical stage business decision making. Finally, we will explore the attorney turned entrepreneur's mindset and what new lawyers may face when starting or managing their own ventures, in law or business.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • 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. CONTACT PROFESSOR CARRIKER IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS (727-2200 Ext. 2118). 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.

  • Other Course

    Transitional Justice

    3 Credit (Elective)

    The course deals with legal, moral, social, and political questions that arise in countries emerging from periods of massive and systematic violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, such as armed conflict, apartheid, authoritarian, or repressive rule. The course will offer a comparative study of strategies chosen by governments to build democracy, the rule of law, and a culture of rights. The course will examine themes that include prosecutions, truth commissions, reparation programs, institutional reforms, and reconciliation programs. Cases will come from experiences as they occurred in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the issues, dilemmas, and lessons arising out of these different experiences, especially as countries seek to balance their international legal obligations with national political realities.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Trial Practice

    2 or 3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    This skills course is designed to prepare students for the trial phase of litigation. Although it presumes prior knowledge of the substantive areas of law covered during the first two years of law school, especially evidence, the course itself concentrates on trial procedure and the development of jury trial advocacy skills. Students conduct complete mock trials in which they participate as parties, witnesses, and counsel. Problems faced by students acting as counsel include jury selection, opening statements, closing arguments, examination of witnesses-including opinion testimony, offers of exhibits, objections to evidence, and impeachment of witnesses. Mock trial exercises are critiqued by the instructor and class members. Consideration also is given to client interviews, investigation, discovery, pleadings, pretrial motions, and the preservation of rights to appeal. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirement.

  • Other Course

    Personal Income Tax

    3 Credit (Elective)

    This course covers the Internal Revenue Code provisions applicable to the tax treatment of individual taxpayers. Students also will study tax policy, case law, and the tax doctrines and principles applicable to the determination of an individual's taxable income. This course provides the basic structure for understanding and interpreting the Internal Revenue Code, and serves as a foundation for upper-level tax and business-related law school courses.

    Areas of coverage includes: gross income; the tax consequences of property transactions; property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance; scholarships, prizes, and awards; life insurance and annuities; discharge of indebtedness; personal injury damages; fringe benefits; divorce; and deductions related to a trade or business or profit-seeking activity.

    When offered as a distance-learning course, there will be required weekly readings from the casebook and online statutory and regulatory sources, regular mini-lectures on prerecorded video accompanied by PowerPoint slides, discussion forums to which students must make posts each week, and weekly quizzes. All course material other than the casebook will be accessible by any computing device through an Internet connection. While most of the course will be asynchronous, opportunities will be presented for synchronous digital chat. In addition to posing questions and providing guidance on the discussion boards and through the video lectures, the professor will be available throughout the course by e-mail, conference call, or live chat. Grading will be based on participation in the forums (including a qualitative component), performance on quizzes, and a final "open-book" examination.