BC Law graduates Elizabeth Harrington ’23 and James Lopez Olvera ’23 have been selected by the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) as 2023 justice fellows.
IJC works to address the critical need for legal representation in immigration by providing free, high-quality legal services. They recruit and train the fellows and then connect them with immigrant legal service providers and community-based organizations nationwide. The fellows work directly with individuals in need, ensuring thousands do not fall victim to the immense systemic failings of our immigration system.
“We are thrilled that Elizabeth and James will be joining this incredible cohort of fellows and continuing BC Law’s tradition of launching immigration advocates through IJC Justice Fellowships,” said Michelle Grossfield, BC Law’s Public Interest and Pro Bono Program director. “Having focused their time in law school to amass the skills and training required, and with the support and mentorship of IJC and their placements, they will be able to make an immediate impact for their clients and the organizations and communities they serve.”
Both Harrington and Olvera were selected for their impressive backgrounds and experience as advocates, but most importantly, for their passion, skill, and dedication to immigrants’ rights. As IJC fellows, Harrington will represent unaccompanied minors for Catholic Charities Community Services, while Olvera will work for Make the Road NY on its Trans Immigrant Project.
“I’m thrilled that Elizabeth and James will become Immigrant Justice Corps fellows,” said Mary Holper, associate dean for experiential learning. “This is a prestigious fellowship, started roughly a decade ago, that is awarded to top public interest law students from around the country who seek to improve the lives of noncitizens through legal representation. James and Elizabeth, both former Immigration Clinic students, have exemplified the model of great public interest lawyering; they both also went on to complete other clinics at BC law. I have no doubt that they will make a huge contribution in the immigrant community in New York.”
Harrington discovered her interest in immigration legal services in 2018 as a co-op for the International Institute of New England. In law school, she grew her skills in immigration law by interning at the De Novo Center for Justice & Healing, KIND, and the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network. She also participated in the Immigration and BC Defenders clinical programs.
Olvera’s commitment to advocating for immigrant justice started as a teenager. Since then, he has interned with organizations including the Hispanic Federation and Make the Road NY, and while at BC Law, worked as a student attorney for the BC Immigration Clinic.
“With over two million cases pending in immigration court, our fellows are launching their legal careers at a critical time for immigrants’ rights,” Jojo Annobil, IJC’s executive director, said in a statement announcing this year’s recipients. “Our fellows will provide much-needed counsel of the highest quality, helping to ensure that every immigrant is treated with dignity and has access to justice.”
The fellowship was originally conceived by Robert A. Katzmann, chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and incubated by the Robin Hood Organization in 2013.