Passion, Context Redux (Part 2)

As I noted in my last post, one of the fun aspects of getting a few gray hairs is that we sometimes are around long enough to see a few of our ideas come to fruition.

In my article Infusing Passion and Context into the Traditional Curriculum Through Experiential Learning, 51 J. Legal Educ 51, 63 (2001), I mentioned a real experience available to our 1L’s at the University of Washington as an example of how to infuse passion and context into the traditional curriculum.  My colleague Anita Ramasastry started the Immigrant Families Advocacy Project (IFAP).  Still going strong, this student organization pairs student volunteers, mostly 1Ls, with volunteer lawyers.  They help survivors of domestic violence obtain visa adjustments so they can leave their abusive situation without fear of being deported.

Since I wrote the article, I’ve started two additional projects — students interview claimants for unemployment, or assist renters being evicted.   Fortuitously, both have been taken over by student organizations.   With a student organization, a colleague has started a third on sealing kids’ juvenile court records.  Together, I call them 1L Volunteer Projects.  I’m trying to get folks to think of them as a package, and to encourage 1L  teachers to draw on students’ experiences in class.

Not every law school is situated in a metropolitan area that has rich resources to draw on.  Seattle has an amazing public interest community.  But this approach has promise for schools in locations with similar opportunties.

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One Response

  1. The IFAP sounds like a great initiative. It’s amazing to see people genuinely helping others who deserve an opportunity to stay here safely. Way to go. 🙂

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