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In the tradition of its clinics on criminal law and civil rights, the University of Connecticut School of Law is offering students hands-on courses to aid current and would-be citizens whom the law has largely overlooked. Foreigners facing threats of torture or other severe punishment, seeking asylum, will be the clients served by a new Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, which provides representation in immigration and naturalization hearings and in immigration court. Surprisingly, most aliens seeking asylum not represented by counsel. Those who do have lawyers are 17 times more likely to gain asylum, according to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the subsequent passage of the USA Patriot Act, the rights and privileges accorded asylum-seekers — never particularly strong — have given way before a national security buildup. Professor Jon Bauer, who taught for the school’s Civil Rights Clinic, will co-teach the asylum project with Elizabeth McCormick, the William R. Davis Clinical Teaching Fellow. Bauer, in the tradition of law school legal clinics, has become a defender of unpopular causes, and during the 1990s battled to change the wording of the bar examination application’s most invasive questions about prior mental health treatment. FAMILY APPEALS Another long-underrepresented group, parents battling the state for their children, will be the subject of a new appellate clinic led by Professor Paul Chill, joined by Carolyn Grose, of the Lawyering Process faculty. Chill already has a track record on cutting edge matters in the appellate courts, and is known for his role in the case of Pamela B. v. Ment, a 1998 state supreme court case that decided the judicial branch has inherent power to fashion a remedy when overcrowded dockets and tight resources threaten child protection legal services. The case prompted the appointment of more juvenile court judges and cut down on delays. Chill and his students will be on the lookout, he said, “for cases that raise interesting or novel legal issues, or in which there has been a grave injustice that needs to be corrected.” The realm of child protection law lacks many of the due process guarantees familiar in criminal law, Chill noted. “I think that’s not a good thing, and I don’t think it helps kids. One of the things we’re hoping to do is raising some issues to expand due process protections for parents and children in these cases.” He compares the growth of new law in this fast-growing area to “where the criminal law was about 75 years ago.”

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