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For over thirty years, the Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Clinic, in partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), has sought to advance immigrants’ rights. Law students take the lead in representing low-income immigrants who are fighting deportation and seeking asylum and other forms of humanitarian protection in the United States. Students utilize a range of legal tools on behalf of their clients, including direct representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community outreach. The Clinic’s team is interdisciplinary. Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Liala Buoniconti and social work interns work closely with clinical students, staff, faculty, and clients to ensure the Clinic’s approach is holistic and trauma-sensitive. Students are either placed at HLS or at GBLS, Boston’s oldest legal services organization.

How to Register

The Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical registration process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Meet the Instructors

headshot of Sameer Ahmed

Sameer Ahmed

Clinical Instructor

sahmed@law.harvard.edu

Wasserstein Hall, 3rd Floor
6 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Sameer Ahmed is a clinical instructor at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. He also serves on the board of Project Citizenship, a nonprofit agency which provides high-quality free legal services to immigrants all over Massachusetts. Sameer was previously an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to that, he served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, where he specialized in immigrants’ rights litigation and policy advocacy. During that time, Sameer served on the board of the Orange County Justice Fund and the City of Santa Ana’s Sanctuary Policy Advisory Group. Sameer has also served as a senior litigation associate at WilmerHale and as a Skadden Fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He has taught as an adjunct professor in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and at the University of Maine School of Law. He clerked for Judge Kermit V. Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master’s Degree in Legal Research from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Stanford University.

headshot of Sabi Ardalan

Sabi Ardalan

Director; Clinical Professor of Law

sardalan@law.harvard.edu

Wasserstein Hall, 3rd Floor
6 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Sabi Ardalan is the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Director, as well as a Clinical Professor of Law at HLS. Sabi supervises and trains law students working on applications for asylum and other humanitarian protections, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy. She has authored amicus briefs submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as to the federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal on cutting edge issues in U.S. asylum law. She teaches courses on immigration and refugee law and advocacy and on trauma, refugees, and the law. Sabi previously clerked for the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie, Chief District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. She also worked as the Equal Justice America Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale College.

headshot of Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly

Assistant Director of HIRC at GBLS; Senior Clinical Instructor

Nancy Kelly is the Assistant Director of HIRC at Greater Boston Legal Services and a Senior Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a Harvard Law School Human Rights Program fellow and also as an adjunct professor of immigration and asylum law at Northeastern University School of Law. At the Human Rights Program, Ms. Kelly initiated the nationally and internationally prominent Women Refugees Project, a centerpiece of the Clinic’s work. Among other honors, Ms. Kelly received the 2000 John G. Brooks Award of the Boston Bar Association for her work with refugee women and children, and for her teaching at the Clinic.

headshot of Tiffany Lieu

Tiffany Lieu

Albert M. Sacks Clinical Teaching and Advocacy Fellow

tlieu@law.harvard.edu

Wasserstein Hall, 3rd Floor
6 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Tiffany Lieu is the Albert M. Sacks Clinical Teaching and Advocacy Fellow at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She supervises and trains students in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and in the Crimmigration Clinic on appellate and affirmative litigation as well as direct representation matters. Tiffany clerked for the Honorable Allyson K. Duncan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Keith P. Ellison on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She was previously a Stanford Public Interest Fellow and staff attorney at the National Immigration Litigation Alliance. She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. in History from Duke University.

headshot of John Willshire Carrera

John Willshire Carrera

Assistant Director of HIRC at GBLS; Senior Clinical Instructor

John Willshire Carrera is the Assistant Director of HIRC at Greater Boston Legal Services, as well as a Senior Clinical Instructor at HLS. He is a nationally known researcher and practitioner with numerous high-profile immigration and asylum litigation victories to his credit. In 1987, he directed the Ford Foundation national research and organizing project on the implementation of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court decision that established the right of all immigrant students to a public education in the United States. He has received the Dow-Gardner-Landrum Award for outstanding commitment to legal services to the poor and the annual legal services attorney award from the Massachusetts Bar Association, among others.

headshot of Cindy Zapata

Cindy Zapata

Senior Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law

czapata@law.harvard.edu

Wasserstein Hall, 3rd Floor
6 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Cindy Zapata is a Clinical Instructor in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, and a Lecturer on Law. She supervises and trains students in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and in the Crimmigration Clinic. She coordinates various community outreach efforts, including Know-Your-Rights presentations and Advice and Counsel sessions in the greater Boston area. As the supervising attorney for the HLS Immigration Project, a student-practice organization at HLS focused on immigration-related efforts and advocacy, she supervises students on various projects including removal defense, community outreach, and immigration applications. She was previously a litigation associate at Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP. She holds a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from Queens College – CUNY.

Staff Members

Liala BuonicontiLicensed Clinical Social Workerlbuoniconti@law.harvard.edu
Anna WeickProgram Administratoraweick@law.harvard.edu

In the News

  • HIRCP Summer 2022 Newsletter

    Our latest newsletter is now available! Our Program recently released our Summer 2022 newsletter, which provides updates from the last academic year and this summer. In this edition, we celebrated the Harvard Law School Class of 2022, shared recent policy advocacy and litigation efforts, highlighted case victories, welcomed new staff, and more. If you would…

    September 2, 2022

  • Former HIRCP intern joins HRI staff

    We are delighted to announce that Alma Martinez Ramirez has joined the Harvard Representation Initiative (HRI) as their new paralegal. Alma previously worked as an intern at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program in 2020 and we are excited to have her permanently join our team. Alma received her Bachelor of Arts in Political…

    August 29, 2022

  • Crimmigration Clinic receives favorable decision in Dor v. Garland 

    On August 19, the First Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in Dor v. Garland. Crimmigration Clinic Director Philip Torrey and HLS clinical students Shaiba Rather ‘21, Lena Melillo ‘22, and Katie Quigley ‘21, were on brief for Jonalson Dor, along with attorney Edward Crane. In this case, the petitioner, Mr. Dor, was seeking judicial review…

    August 25, 2022

  • HIRCP is hiring a part-time administrative assistant

    We’re hiring! The Program is currently seeking an administrative assistant to join our team. Duties for this 25-hour-a-week position include: Supporting clinical teaching staff as they prepare for classes during academic year; Providing logistical support to HIRCP staff, including assistance with booking travel and processing reimbursements and other financial transactions; Maintaining and updating the HIRCP…

    August 19, 2022