Pitt Law Launches Immigration Law Clinic
This fall the School of Law launches its newest clinic: an Immigration Law Clinic focusing on asylum and deportation proceedings. Sheila Vélez Martinez, who joins the School’s faculty as a visiting clinical assistant professor of law, will lead the clinic.
Professor Vélez served recently as the director of the Immigration Clinic at the Hostos Law School in Puerto Rico, where she has been a pioneer in raising the issue of domestic violence and immigrant women. She has also served as the executive director of the Puerto Rico Bar Association and has provided immigration law training at the Judicial Academy of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. She received her J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico Law School and her B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico.
In developing the Immigration Clinic, Professor Vélez will partner with community groups including Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Catholic Charities, and a new initiative created to increase diversity as the Pittsburgh region emerges as a world-class city. That initiative, which has provided seed funding for the clinic, is a collaboration of the civic, corporate, academic and foundation communities and will launch this fall. Working with these organizations, Professor Vélez will address the legal needs of local immigrants in asylum and removal proceedings. Her goal is to expose students to the impact that law and legal institutions have on the lives of immigrants, while fostering students’ ability to integrate their theoretical knowledge with professional judgment.