BYU Law students host free legal clinics

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Members of the community attend a free legal clinic at Deseret Industries on Sept. 28. BYU Law students provided legal advisement for DACA recipients as the renewal deadline draws near. Other legal advisement is also available at the free clinics, held each Thursday from 5—7 p.m. (Ty Mullen)

Students from BYU Law School invite community members to come to the Deseret Industries building for a free legal clinic every Thursday from 5—7 p.m.

For the past two weeks, students, along with faculty advisor Carl Hernandez, have been focusing on assisting individuals seeking legal guidance to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications, or DACA.

President Donald Trump’s Sept. 4 announcement ending the DACA program gave current recipients until Oct. 5 to renew their status. After this deadline, no new renewal applications will be accepted.

Hernandez said the clinic has been two years in the making and is now only in its second week.

“I think it is really good to have a resource center where you can go and be directed. Our ultimate vision for this clinic is not just to provide legal service, but to provide other services to our community and these populations,” Hernandez said.

Law professor Carl Hernandez advises BYU law students at the clinic. Professor Hernandez has had experience working with United States Citizen and Immigration Services. (Ty Mullen)

BYU law students in their second and third years are able to provide service to members of the community in need while simultaneously getting hands-on experience practicing the theories they learn in class.

Third-year law student Mallorie McMurray said she has enjoyed the opportunity to work with real people at the clinic.

“It’s really cool that we get to do this for immigration and just get involved,” McMurray said.

BYU Law School offers counsel at several free legal clinics in addition to the immigration clinic. Legislation and marriage and family counsel are also offered.

Third-year law student Morgan Leudtke said she believes the law school could be an invaluable resource to the community.

“We have a law school in our backyard and people need to take advantage of that. It can be a much bigger resource than people are making use of,” Leudtke said.

BYU law students work together on an immigration case. Once a week students volunteer to advise members of the community on immigration and other legal issues. (Ty Mullen)

Hernandez said he also hopes the clinic will become not only a major resource, but a safe haven for the community where people can find help.

“Ultimately we want to be viewed as people that are … healing individuals who have difficulties, who have processes that they don’t understand,” Hernandez said. “There’s lots of stress and suffering that comes with not knowing.”

Hernandez hopes the clinic will be a place where students can help people overcome any sort of legal impediment so they can “pursue their potential and achieve prosperity in their lives.”

Even though the immigration clinic is still in its early stages of operation, Hernandez and the students who volunteer there said they hope it will grow.

Second-year law student David Brown wants the word to spread so they can serve as many people as possible at the clinic.

“Having too many people to help would be a good problem to have,” Brown said.

To find out more information about the free legal clinics, visit the BYU Law School website.

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