International Refugee Assistance Project

IRAP Berkeley currently has 20 active refugee cases pending with current students representing over 75 individuals from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan. The work mainly consists of preparing applications for resettlement interviews which can include research on country conditions, affidavit collection, client interview preparation, and document collection. We also handle appeals and occasionally conduct congressional inquiries when cases are delayed. Students will develop both research and legal writing skills, and will also learn how to conduct interviews and develop a client relationship. Specifically, students will have the opportunity to work with clients of diverse backgrounds, languages, religions, and countries. In addition, we are expanding our role as policy advocates so students will have the opportunity to work on domestic policy initiatives at the federal, state, and potentially local level on issues related to refugee resettlement. Finally, intake students will have the opportunity to work with clients from Central America.

Time CommitmentThe time commitment is 30-40 hours a semester, depending on the type of case. This includes both work on the case, trainings, and IRAP meetings. We expect students to work with IRAP for the life of the case, absent serious extenuating circumstances (such as leaving school, taking a job that disallows continued work (like a clerkship), or other situations beyond a student’s control). This means that students do not commit to a semester or year, but for the entire application, which can be several years. While this is quite a commitment, students need to be realistic when deciding whether to join this group due to the gravity of leaving a refugee case halfway through, which can further endanger already vulnerable clients.

Supervision: Students work is supervised by individual pro bono attorneys and managed by Lara Finkbeiner, Deputy Legal Director, and Mark Doss, Supervising Attorney, at the Urban Justice Center International Refugee Assistance Project in New York, New York. 

For more information, please contact the student leaders at

Video Recording of the Fall 2016 Immigration SLPS Information Session (Introduction to: Berkeley Immigration Group – Detention Project; Berkeley Immigration Law Clinic; Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project; California Asylum Representation Clinic; East Bay Dreamer Clinic; and International Refugee Assistance Project). Recorded Thursday, September 1.

How To Apply


We are grateful to our supporters:

Dena Y. Acevedo ’12

Ryan K. Elsey ’12

Morrison & Foerster Foundation

David B. Oppenheimer

Matthew D. Pelnar ’13