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Legal Services Support Centers and Rebellious Advocacy: A Case Study of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy (2008)
  • Bill Ong Hing, University of San Francisco

Public interest lawyers and clinical law faculty are quite familiar with the strategies of rebellious or collaborative lawyering set forth forcefully by scholars such as Gerald López, Lucie White, and most recently Ascanio Piomelli. Some of the principles include educating clients and communities to support resistance; opening ourselves to being educated by clients, communities, and allies; respecting and not subordinating our clients; collaborating with clients and allies; recognizing that collaborative advocacy can lead to extremely challenging battles; and understanding that the rebellious style involves integrating and navigating many worlds. These principles have been adopted by those aspiring to practice in a manner that not only seeks to make systemic changes on behalf of subordinated communities, but that also empowers clients themselves to seek social change on their own behalf.

The world of legal services to subordinated communities also includes support or backup centers that provide training, consultation, advice, and support to services providers at the frontlines, as well as educational outreach to low income communities. This article hopes to illustrate that the work of support and backup centers is quite conducive to practicing in the collaborative approach. And many of the practice examples described can, in fact, be incorporated into the day-to-day work of law school clinical programs and direct services law offices.

The work of one particular legal services support center, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), is of particular interest to me. The ILRC is the outgrowth of an immigration law clinic that I started in 1979, and the ILRC has endeavored to practice social change lawyering through a collaborative, rebellious style since its inception. While I provide a brief review of many ILRC programs, this article more fully describes ILRC's work to build capacity among immigrants and refugees and the organizations that serve them to enhance the engagement and influence of newcomers in American civic life.

  • rebellious lawyering,
  • collaborative lawyering,
  • support centers,
  • immigrant rights
Publication Date
Citation Information
Bill Ong Hing. "Legal Services Support Centers and Rebellious Advocacy: A Case Study of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center" Washington University Journal of Law and Policy (2008)
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