School of Law News
USD Law Student Argues Case at 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
PASADENA, Calif. (Friday, April 9, 2010) — Today law students from the University of San Diego School of Law’s Appellate Clinic presented a political refugee appeal case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The students appealed an immigration court’s denial of their client’s application for protected status as a political refugee. The client applied for refugee status in the United States because she feared for her and her family’s safety in her native Guatemala. The Board of Immigration Appeals judge denied the petition for refugee status on the grounds that the past persecution was not significant enough to allow for asylum.
Under the supervision of USD Professors Katherine Mangan and Michael Devitt, third-year law student Colin Davis presented the appeal to the three-judge panel.
After hearing the arguments, the presiding judge remarked, "Mr. Davis, it’s hard to believe you’re a law student," and thanked the clinic for taking the case.
Along with Davis, five other third-year law students also participated in the Appellate Clinic: Lindsay Parker, Christin Lawler, Jessie Zaylia, Katy Schultz and Rebecca Andrews.
This is the first year that the school sponsored the clinic, which provided a rare opportunity for an elite group of students to argue in front of a 9th Circuit panel.
About USD's Appellate Clinic
Students admitted to the USD School of Law Appellate Clinic this year represented indigent immigrants in two cases. The year-long clinic immerses students into the appellate litigation process from start to finish—from writing opening briefs to participating in oral arguments. Complementary interactive classroom sessions provide students instruction, simulations and other skill-building activities relevant to the cases.
Appeals were litigated under the supervision of Professor Katherine Mayer Mangan, a former 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clerk and current appellate attorney, and Professor Michael Devitt, who teaches appellate advocacy and oversees USD's Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court competition.
About the University of San Diego School of Law
The University of San Diego School of Law is a center of academic excellence focused on preparing its students for legal practice in the new century. One of the most selective law schools in the country, the School of Law's nationally recognized faculty create a demanding, yet welcoming environment that emphasizes individualized education. USD law school graduates consistently score higher than the state average on the California Bar Exam and go on to practice law throughout the country and abroad, forming an influential network of alumni. The USD School of Law is one of only 81 law schools in the country to have a chapter of the Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.
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