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Home / Event / Crisis of Counsel: Redoubling Efforts to Address Representation Gaps Facing Immigrant Children and Adults

Crisis of Counsel: Redoubling Efforts to Address Representation Gaps Facing Immigrant Children and Adults

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September 12, 2014 - 1:00pm to 9:00pm

There is a crisis of counsel in California. The state has the largest immigrant population in the country—and the greatest need for more pro bono immigration representation. The problem is getting worse as many of the unaccompanied children crossing the border have come to Southern California. The region is home to seven detention centers, where representation rates are very low—sometimes even lower than the national rate of 20 percent.

Community legal service providers in California want to see a public defender model for detained immigrants similar to the one in New York City. As more vulnerable immigrants enter California—some of them children—leaders of the bar and the judiciary, law schools, and the NGO community need to work together to fill gaps in representation.

Loyola Law School Los Angeles, UCLA School of Law, UC Irvine School of Law, the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and Human Rights First are teaming up to tackle this issue.  We invite you to attend Crisis of Counsel: Redoubling Efforts to Address Representation Gaps Facing Immigrants, which will bring together key local, state, and national stakeholders to discuss this problem and brainstorm solutions.

Please join us in this discussion and become part of the solution.

View Agenda HereInfographic: Immigration in Los Angeles




Event Details

This event is free and open to the public. However, there is limited space available so please reserve a seat now to guarantee your attendance. Breakfast and lunch are complimentary for all pre-registered conference attendees.

This program has been approved for 6.5 hours of MCLE credit for attorneys licensed in the State of California. There is no charge for the MCLE credit, but you must be pre-registered in order to receive this credit. Please note that we are not able to offer MCLE credit for attorneys licensed in any other state at this time. 

To view the conference agenda, please click here.

The RSVP portal has closed for this event. Please contact Jennifer Rizzo at RizzoJ@humanrightsfirst.org for further information. 

Course Materials

Please note that all course materials are free of charge and can now be accessed online. They have been uploaded to this webpage and can be downloaded by clicking on the links below. There are 8 reports associated with this all-day educational symposium. You will not be given any hard copies at the event, so if you wish to have a hard copy, please print them to bring with you. You will be given a hard copy of a program booklet and agenda when you check in at the event.

1. Reforming the Immigration System

2. The Asylum Representation Project

3. Statement of Karen T. Grisez

4. Gideon's Migration

5. Accessing Justice Part 1

6. Accessing Justice Part 2

7. Building Justice in New Jersey

8. Challenges of Immigrant Representation in Louisiana


Loyola Law School Los Angeles
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015


8:30 am

Coffee and Light Breakfast

9:00 am 

Welcome and Introductory Remarks About the Crisis of Counsel in Los Angeles

Victor Gold, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Dean and Professor of Law

Introduction by: Eleanor Acer, Human Rights First, Refugee Protection Director

9:15 am

Los Angeles' Immigrant Population and Legal Representation Gaps -- The Community and the Courts

This panel provides an overview of the immigrant population in the Los Angeles area and its legal representation needs.  What impact does representation – or the lack thereof – have on immigrants? And on the courts?

Moderator:      Kathleen C. Kim, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Professor of Law


Dr. Linda Lopez, PhD, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Chief

Dan Sharp, CARECEN, Legal Director

Hon. A. Ashley Tabaddor, National Association of Immigration Judges, Western Regional Vice President

David M. Radel, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), Los Angeles Asylum Office, Acting Director

10:30 am

Networking Break

10:45 am

Representation and Vulnerable Populations: Gaps and Opportunities

What are the challenges facing vulnerable immigrant populations as they try to secure representation? What are the representation rates in immigration detention? How can public officials, the courts, and pro bono attorneys address these gaps?

Moderator: Sameer Ashar, University of California Irvine School of Law, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic


Caitlin Sanderson, Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Program Director

Marissa Montes, Loyola Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic, Clinic Co-Director and Clinical Attorney

Rosalind Oliver, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) Los Angeles Office, Supervising Attorney for Pro Bono Programs

William S. Freeman, Partner, Jones Day Silicon Valley Office and member of the firm’s nationwide pro bono response to representation needs for children at border detention centers

12:00 pm


12:45 pm

Special Comments by Video:
Inspiring a Greater Pro Bono Response

Remarks by the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

1:00 pm

Keynote Speech
A View from the Bench – Representation and Immigration Proceedings

Remarks by the Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

1:30 pm

Increasing Representation through Pro Bono, Non-Profit, and Other Models

What representation models could be replicated or expanded?  What steps have been taken in other parts of the country—and at the federal level— to provide legal representation for immigrants in immigration court proceedings?

Moderator: Ingrid V. Eagly, UCLA School of Law, Assistant Professor of Law


Judy London, Public Counsel Immigrant Rights Project, Directing Attorney

Laura Wytsma, Loeb & Loeb LLP, Partner

Stacy Tolchin, Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, Immigration Attorney

Ahilan Arulanantham, Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU of Southern California, and Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

2:45 pm

Networking Break

3:15 pm

Next Steps towards Addressing Gaps in Representation

What additional stakeholders could play a role? What greater roles can pro bono volunteer attorneys play? What additional steps could governments at every level—federal, state, and local government take?

Moderator:  Kevin Lapp, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Associate Professor of Law


David Lash, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Managing Counsel of Public Interest and Pro Bono Services, and Board Member of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo)

Joseph Villela, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Director of Policy & Advocacy

Stacey Strongarone, Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Immigration & Justice, Program Director

Heather L. Poole, Immigration Attorney and AILA Southern Chapter Chair

Sonja Francine Marie Diaz, Office of the Attorney General of the State of California, Special Deputy Attorney General

4:45 pm

Closing Remarks
Eleanor Acer, Human Rights First, Refugee Protection Director

Professor Kathleen Kim, Loyola Law School, Professor of Law

5:00 pm