Two students, Jacqueline Gonzalez Valle (JD ’14) and Madiha Shahabuddin (JD ’15), in the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic successfully obtained immigration status for a survivor of domestic violence. The client was brought to this country as a small child and suffered years of physical and emotional abuse by her United States Citizen husband. Supervising Professor Julie Marzouk noted, “The students represented their client with excellence, persuading United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve the case in an unusually quick period of time. Jackie and Madiha’s commitment to their client, and skill in presenting a case involving an unsettled area of law, have made a positive impact on the client’s life, and that of her young child.”
“Being a part of the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic team has been an extremely rewarding experience. This case gave me the opportunity to work closely with a client, gather evidence, write legal documents and tackle complicated legal issues. Most importantly, I was able to see firsthand the positive impact the law can have on people’s lives, particularly on the lives of the many women and children who are being abused and are in desperate need of the law’s protection. As a lawyer, to be a part of that is amazing.” – Jacqueline Gonzalez Valle
“Representing our client gave me a strong sense of purpose in law school and the degree I am pursuing. I was exposed to the struggles of low income, undocumented victims of abuse and witnessed how society and the law can limit some individuals from having full rights. With the superb guidance of Professor Marzouk, I learned how to confidently assert our client’s case to the USCIS reviewer, despite the complex legal issues involved. I felt honored that our client had such confidence in us as her attorneys and of our decisions regarding her case. Additionally, I found the clinic’s collaborative experience to be extremely valuable, as we all learned from each other’s cases. We felt similar stresses, challenges and joys in the process, and I think that truly brought us together.” – Madiha Shahabuddin
In 2007, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law created the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic to address the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence. The clinic offers free assistance in immigration, human trafficking and protection order matters for clients who meet income eligibility requirements. It gives students primary responsibility for cases and direct interaction with clients. This model is facilitated by special rules that allow students enrolled in clinical courses to do anything a lawyer can do, so long as there is supervision by a licensed attorney.
Learn more about the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic