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Bridging the Divide

Students assist in pro bono immigration counseling at Centro LatinoAmericano

The University of Oregon School of Law and local non-profit Centro LatinoAmericano have partnered to provide pro bono immigration counseling services to low-income families.

Made possible by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, the leader in Oregon philanthropy, Centro LatinoAmericano enlisted local immigration attorney and Oregon Law 1998 alumnus Benjamin Wang to meet with clients for a full day once a month and follow up with assistance in resulting casework.

Wang has practiced immigration law since his graduation from law school. He runs Benjamin Beijing Wang, P.C., a full service immigration law firm focusing on all facets of United States immigration law. His firm represents clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and provides legal advice and guidance in matters relating to immigration and naturalization, family and employment visas, citizenship, asylum, and deportation.

Two Oregon Law students, Vannia Glasinovic-Hindery and Joshua Medina, assist Wang both with casework and translation during his client meetings. The students’ work is purely pro bono, based on Oregon Law’s definition of the term. Thus, students receive neither compensation nor school credit for the work they complete.

Glasinovic-Hindery said she feels fortunate to participate in the important work that Centro and Wang are doing for the multicultural community in Lane County.

“Centro LatinoAmericano, through Attorney Wang, is providing a superb and highly needed service to the Latino community,” she said. “I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to not only learn lawyering skills, but also feel that our work is deeply appreciated.”

Centro LatinoAmericano Executive Director Marcela Mendoza is delighted with Oregon Law’s contribution and hopes for broader law student participation.

“Centro staff values the pro bono efforts of the UO law students,” Mendoza said. “The assistance provided by UO law students is much needed. It makes our clients feel welcome and appreciated, and that someone is interested in helping them become citizens.”

Centro LatinoAmericano is a bilingual, multicultural agency dedicated to the empowerment of the Latino community of Lane County by offering social services, access to community resources, and advocating for fair treatment.

Oregon Law » Oregon Lawyer Online » Summer 2011 » Bridging the Divide
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