Prof. Casper Sanchez (’97) Wins AILA Excellence in Teaching Award
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has named Professor Benjamin Casper Sanchez (’97) the winner of its 2017 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award. Casper Sanchez is the director of the Law School’s James H. Binger Center for New Americans and the professor of the Center’s Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic. The Elmer Fried Award, established in 1997, is one of the most prestigious in the field of immigration law. The AILA will present the award to Casper Sanchez on June 24 at its annual conference in New Orleans.
Since joining the Law School faculty in 2013, Casper Sanchez has spearheaded the development of the Binger Center, a unique partnership between the Law School, three of Minnesota’s pre-eminent law firms, and the state’s leading nonprofit providers of immigration services. In his role as director of the Center, Casper Sanchez has created opportunities for students to help provide critical legal services to the state’s noncitizens while gaining hands-on experience in such crucial skills as client interviewing and counseling, legal writing, oral advocacy, case planning and management, community education and outreach, and dealing with ethical issues, among others. The Center also facilitates independent field placements and internships with local legal organizations, education and outreach programs, and partnerships that enrich students’ learning experiences and can lead to post-graduation job opportunities.
Casper Sanchez’s students praise his knowledge, inspiration, and empathy. “[He is] the single most powerful force in shaping my legal career,” said one. “His immigration law expertise, commitment to clients, and zeal for justice are only surpassed by his dedication to training the next generation of lawyers,” said another. A third called Casper Sanchez “a wonderful attorney, a great mentor, and truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. Ben’s passion for his clients and care for staff are unrivaled. You cannot find a better example for young academics or legal professionals to emulate.”
“Ben Casper Sanchez’s vision and drive have been essential to the success of the Binger Center, which is one of the Law School’s most vital assets,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins. “To be able to offer our students unparalleled opportunities for experiential learning while supporting some of our state’s most vulnerable people and impacting immigration law and policy—it’s a remarkable achievement, and an example of the kinds of synergies that make our law school great. Congratulations to Ben, an esteemed professor and a distinguished alumnus, on this well-deserved accolade.”