International Refugee Assistance Project

IRAP Berkeley works with pro bono attorneys, IRAP Headquarters, and IRAP chapters across the United States and Canada to advance legal pathways to safety for refugees and other displaced people. This can be by supporting cases directly, contributing to litigation matters, or working on policy projects. Through IRAP, students can develop legal research, client work, and client advocacy skills. For example, this past year, some Berkeley students worked on IRAP’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Follow-to-Join Clinic, where they conducted (virtual) client intake interviews, while other students worked on a policy project filing FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests.

IRAP Berkeley currently has a few active refugee cases pending, which will be reassigned to incoming members. This work consists primarily of preparing clients for resettlement interviews, which may include anything from researching the conditions in a client’s home country to client interview preparation. Students may also support with appeals, denials, and occasional congressional inquiries.

Through projects, casework, and trainings, Berkeley students have the opportunity to learn about refugee law and contribute to IRAP’s important work advocating for refugees and displaced people.

Supervision: Students will receive training from and provide pro bono legal services under the supervision of attorneys at the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Time Commitment: The time commitment may vary depending on the project and the semester, but will likely be around 20-25 hours per semester, including casework, training, IRAP meetings, and other related activities. For some direct client services, students may be expected to work with IRAP for the life of the case, absent extenuating circumstances (such as leaving school, taking a job that disallows continued work, or other situations out of a student’s control). The litigation and policy-based work does not require the same type of commitment.

Additional Information: IRAP is an opportunity to do impactful and timely work. It is a commitment, but we aim to make the experience one that brings people together as students and advocates; IRAP Berkeley is a community. Because we are working with an international parent-organization, students also have the opportunity to network with attorneys connected to a prominent legal organization doing international legal work. For those who do not intend to work in public interest after graduation, working with IRAP is still a great way to start developing your future pro bono practice (which most firms have) and get exposure to some of the law firms (and attorneys working at those law firms) who supervise our work.

For more information, please contact the student leaders at

We are grateful to our supporters:

Dena Y. Acevedo ’12

Ryan K. Elsey ’12

Morrison & Foerster Foundation

David B. Oppenheimer

Matthew D. Pelnar ’13