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Asylum Law Project Wins Student Group Award

APRIL 21, 2009—The Law School's Asylum Law Project (ALP) received a University of Minnesota Tony Diggs Excellence Award for Outstanding Graduate or Professional Student Group of 2008 at an awards ceremony on April 16, 2009.

ALP leaders Jordan Shepherd ('11) and Brianna Mooty ('10) accepted the plaque, given by Students Unions & Activities, on behalf of the group, its student board, and its volunteer members. "Brianna and I are excited to receive this award on behalf of ALP," Shepherd said, "and we are very grateful for the support that we have received from all of you in the Law School."

The award recognizes demonstrated significant success and development in following the mission and goals of the group. Professor David Weissbrodt and Amber Fox of Student Services nominated ALP for the honor.

Through ALP, 1L students volunteer to work over their winter and spring breaks with nonprofit organizations to represent immigrants and asylum-seekers on legal issues at U.S. points of entry. These volunteer projects allow 1Ls to experience the field of immigration law while also filling a critical need for legal assistance among people seeking asylum and the organizations aiding them.

During 2008-09, almost 100 students (nearly 40% of 1Ls) volunteered at projects in Minneapolis, Miami, Las Vegas, Nashville, El Paso, and Florence, Ariz.

In El Paso, for example, 70 ALP volunteers contributed approximately 2,800 hours during their winter break conducting client interviews, carrying out legal research, and compiling case briefs for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Texas Rural Legal Aid, and other organizations.

ALP is led by 1Ls and is one of few organizations that allow 1Ls to participate in actual legal work, which is usually available only to 2Ls and 3Ls.


(left to right) Dr. Robert McMaster, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education; Jordan Shepherd ('11); and Brianna Mooty ('10); Jerry Rinehart, Vice Provost for Student Affairs