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Volunteer Attorney Program

The Immigrant and Refugee Law Center is pleased to announce the launch of its volunteer attorney program.

It has been our vision since inception to harness the talents and passion of Cincinnati attorneys who are eager to get involved. You can make a difference in the lives of our families!

This exciting program will provide extensive training and mentoring to volunteer attorneys to help non-U.S. citizens apply for various forms of immigration relief, building legal community capacity for pro bono services and expanding access to free legal assistance.

Attend mandatory one-day overview orientation (full day)

Choose which training modules you would like to attend (3 hours each, held on consecutive Fridays)

Register for and attend chosen training(s)

Observe intake consultation at IRLC

Receive case assignment with guidelines and templates from IRLC

Access to online resources and templates

Mentoring from experienced immigration attorney

CLEs available for pro bono hours

Volunteer attorneys can choose from the following training modules. Note that CLEs will not be available for the mandatory training, but may be available for training modules (subject to approval.) Trainings are provided free of charge with the understanding that volunteer attorneys will commit to taking on at least one case.

This mandatory one-day orientation will consist of a morning session with an overview of IRLC, our work, and clientele, including the types of cases we work on and cultural consideration when working with clients; and an overview of immigration law and policy. The afternoon session will cover the basics of removal (deportation) proceedings and bond hearings for detained immigrants, so that attorneys working on all types of cases have an understanding of what happens when any case ends up in immigration court. 

Adjustment of Status, Family Immigration, and Unaccompanied Minors: Our refugee families must apply for adjustment of status (to become legal permanent residents or “green card” holders) one year after arriving in the U.S. Others may be able to adjust through family. Trainees will learn how to apply for green cards (legal permanent residency) and petition for family members to immigrate to the U.S.; as well as unaccompanied minors and immigration options available to them.

Asylum and Refugee Law: A person who has fled her or his country due to persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group has the right to ask for asylum in the U.S. This module will cover the international and national refugee and asylum systems, legal standards for qualifying as a refugee/asylee, and how to help families in the U.S. apply for asylum.

Crimmigration: This module will cover the effects of criminal convictions on different kinds of immigration applications and issues that all attorneys and clients must be aware of. 

Appellate Work: Appealing immigration cases before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and 6th Circuit.

U Visas: Immigrants who are victims of violent crimes in the U.S. and cooperate with law enforcement may be eligible to apply for a U Visa. This module will cover the legal standards and application process. 

Family Law: Our team of volunteer family lawyers will provide training on family law relevant to immigrant families.

For more information or to register,please contact Michelle McGehee,Program Manager,

This program is developed with support fromthe Ohio State Bar Foundation,Cincinnati Bar Foundation,City of Cincinnati,and AAML Foundation.