SvW-lecture: Deborah Anker

5 September 2016: Deborah Anker

Social Justice, Gender and Legal Change in Asylum Law

Legal change is often thought of as change from the top down – change brought about by new legislation, regulations, precedent administrative, and federal court decisions, or changes resulting from major impact litigation. Gender asylum in the United States, however, tells an unusual story of legal change from the bottom up, grounded, at least in significant part, in direct representation of women refugees. Deborah Anker will tell the story of gender asylum in the United States, which provides a counter-example of how direct representation can actually change the culture of decision-making and be an effective vehicle for meaningful legal change. At the same time, such representation, rather than disempowering clients, can create authentic and non-hierarchical relationships between lawyer and client.

Deborah Anker is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC). Author of a leading treatise, Law of Asylum in the United States, Anker has co-drafted ground-breaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs. Professor Anker is one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States.

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