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Aid for asylum seekers

May 20, 2010

Published by BU Law with audio slideshow

Looking to gain a deeper perspective on public interest legal work, Elizabeth Verney (’12) participated in BU Law’s Pro Bono Immigration/Asylum service trip in Harlingen, Texas. The experience not only broadened Verney’s knowledge base, but it inspired her to dedicate more of her time—and possibly her career path—to public interest law.

The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), where Verney and five other BU Law students volunteered, provides legal services to detainees seeking asylum in the United States. “The work that they do is really amazing,” said Verney. “They start by doing ‘Know Your Rights’ presentations for all incoming detainees. Many people need representation and can’t afford it, or even just need their hands held. A lot of the preliminary work is simple enough that they can represent themselves, but at the same time, the law is very intimidating.”

“Even with the very basic knowledge that we have as 1Ls, we were able to just say, ‘We can help you with this application, it’s not as complicated as it seems.’”

Verney says the trip was life and career changing: “It’s given me a taste of the power of the law, inspired me to do positive things with my legal work,” she says. “It was very emotionally tiring but totally rewarding. I think as I move through my education here, it’s something that I’ll certainly consider as a future career path.”

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