Senator Mazie Hirono visited the Clinic in Fall 2019 and was briefed by the students on our work.

The Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic is a part of the clinical law program at the William S. Richardson School of Law. The Clinic provides education and training for law students to serve Hawaii’s migrant community by taking on live cases for clients with real immigration needs. 


The Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic is committed to training students to be excellent practitioners of immigration law and to be zealous advocates for those needing protection from persecution and violence. We pledge to steadfastly protect and promote the inherent dignity of the clients we serve and to perpetuate the culture of inclusion here in Hawaii. We are dedicated to the transformative work required to fulfill the promise of our University of Hawaii motto, “Above all nations is humanity.”


The Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic offers 2L and 3L students an opportunity to practice immigration law, a dynamic area of law that intersects with many issues in contemporary culture and politics. With a Director, a Law Fellow, and 6-10 law students each semester, we provide specialized and high-quality immigration legal services to income-eligible noncitizens in Hawaii. In recognition of our responsibility to shape the legal careers of future Richardson lawyers and to uplift marginalized members of the community, we strive to be an exemplary model of clinical legal education.

We focus our efforts on income-eligible clients seeking asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief because these clients often have the most difficulty finding and paying for legal representation. By representing asylum-seeking clients, we seek to protect those who have suffered persecution or fear that they will be harmed if they return to their home country.  We guide students through the process of representing clients in these cases so that they gain real-world experience while engaging in meaningful public service. 

Due to our primary mission to educate and train future lawyers, as well as a limited number of staff, students, and pro bono attorneys, we are regretfully unable to offer representation to all potential clients.  We carefully screen and select potential clients and cases based on criteria such as student, staff, and pro bono attorney availability; income eligibility; legal needs; and fit for the clinical legal education model of practice.