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 serves Hawaii’s migrant community by taking on live cases for clients with real immigration needs. We provide education and training for our own law students as well as members of the Hawaii bar to help meet those needs.


Our Clinic is committed to training students to be excellent practitioners of immigration law and to be zealous advocates for those fleeing 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 the Hawaiian Islands. We are dedicated to the transformative work required to fulfill the promise of our University of Hawaii motto “Above all nations is humanity.”


Our Immigration Clinic offers 2L and 3L students an opportunity to practice a dynamic area of law that intersects culture and politics. With 1 Clinical Director, 1 Law Fellow, and 6-10 students, we provide free, specialized, and high-quality legal services to immigrants in Hawaii. In recognition of our power 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 litigation efforts on removal defense cases involving asylum-seeking women and children because they present the most compelling cases and often lack the resources to secure representation on their own. By defending immigrants in court, we keep families intact and mitigate the disruption and turmoil that comes from being subject to removal proceedings. We also help our clients to: apply for permanent legal residence, for naturalization, for DACA status, and for work authorization. We guide students through the process of doing these cases so that they gain real-world experience while engaging in meaningful public service.