DSP3200 Developing a Basic Immigration Legal Services Ministry

Course Overview

Educational Level: Upper undergraduate, Bachelor
Credit Hours: 3 Credits
Instructor: Dr. Carol Olsen

Course Description:

Introduction to leading an immigration legal services ministry to serve low-income clients. Includes strategic planning, identifying a market, engaging financial support, creating a non-profit entity and board, managing key functions, staffing and supervising, promoting services, building relationships with immigrant communities, and applying for BIA accreditation.

How This Course Benefits Students:

Students who complete the basic immigration law training can only practice immigration law under the supervision of an attorney or in a BIA-accredited center that serves low income clients. According to many sources, there are not enough law firms or centers to even begin to meet the need for legal services. More centers are needed, but the training for setting up a center and managing it effectively is rarely offered. When such training is offered, it tends to be either a quick workshop or purchase of an expensive ongoing membership with a mentoring agency. A course in nonprofit management might appear to be another option for training, but an immigration legal services center is actually a specialized law office with unique requirements and limitations. The 3000-level course is designed for students who join the staff of an ongoing center and students who plan to start a small center with limited services.

Why This Course Is Important:

Leaders of BIA-accredited immigration legal service centers need specialized skills to simultaneously manage a law practice, operate a non-profit agency, serve an intercultural socioeconomic clientele, promote a business, create partnerships, and obtain or maintain accreditation. In addition, this course will explore and develop the skills and opportunities for ministry.