McGeorge School of Law

Immigration Clinic Inspires Domestic Violence Client to Pursue Legal Career

May 1, 2014

At the Immigration Clinic, students supervised by Prof. Blake Nordahl, represent many survivors of crimes of violence in self-petitions for VAWA benefits. Yuanyuan Wei (3D) obtained lawful permanent resident status through VAWA for one of her clients in the Immigration Clinic this Spring. Yuanyuan was introduced to the Immigration Clinic by volunteering as a first year law student at a Spring Naturalization Fair organized by McGeorge. She then joined the Clinic that summer as a work study student.

As the student attorney, Yuanyuan completed the entire case from the initial consultation to conclusion. Her research and factual investigation led her to find that the young woman would be eligible for lawful resident status through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as her client had been a victim of domestic violence by her U.S. citizen spouse. Yuanyuan worked with her client to prepare and submit the VAWA petition and application for lawful permanent resident status. This required substantial interaction with the client, the marshalling of relevant evidence, and counseling her client regarding interaction with law enforcement and social workers in the domestic violence case.

The application was approved and the client is now a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The client expressed gratitude for the compassionate and high quality services Yuanyuan provided and is inspired to pursue a career in law so that she can help others as Yuanyuan helped her. Yuanyuan credits her experience in the Clinic with helping her to obtain exposure to client centered lawyering. "This case gave me the opportunity to establish a unique bond with my client. I was inspired by my client's great fortitude to carry on fighting. This was the most rewarding experience working at the Immigration Clinic."