Boyd Law students and staff from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada are now staffing a Self-Help Center in the pro bono room at the Las Vegas Immigration Court.
Several mornings a week, the Self-Help Center helps unrepresented people, usually at the beginning of their removal hearings. Some of them may be referred to pro bono attorneys when available, while others will receive guidance about how to better represent themselves in Immigration Court.
According to a recent study by UCLA Law Professor Ingrid Eagly, "only 37% of all immigrants, and a mere 14% of detained immigrants" have a lawyer to help them in deportation proceedings. LACSN already offers regular classes in English and Spanish to inform people about their potential for legal immigration status. The Self-Help Center, along with new programs to train pro bono lawyers, is part of a joint effort to expand legal aid for people who are in deportation proceedings in Nevada.
The Self-Help Center will help the clinic expand the range of opportunities for Boyd students to assist real clients. Because the Self-Help Center does not directly deliver legal advice, students can volunteer to do intake interviews even in their first year in law school. Normally, law students cannot obtain student practice certification until the end of their second year.