support services

Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those  
            who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."       
- Franklin D. Roosevelt                            
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                   Support Services for California Legal Services Providers

Current Work and Areas of Expertise

The Center is a state-wide legal services support center with recognized expertise in complex litigation and the substantive law relating to immigrants and refugees. A partial list of the Center's major litigation includes the following cases: Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982) (lead counsel for state-wide class of undocumented children denied access to public elementary education because of their immigration status); Reno v. Catholic Social Services, 509 U.S. 43 (1993) (national class action on behalf of persons unlawfully denied legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986); Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993) (national class action on behalf of children denied release on bail pending the outcome of deportation proceedings); League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wilson, 131 F.3d 1297 (9th Cir. 1997) (state-wide class action challenging constitutionality of state proposition denying health care, social services and education to suspected undocumented immigrants); and Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith, 541 F.Supp. 351 (C.D. Cal. 1982) (national class of Salvadoran nationals seeking political asylum in the United States).

Our work currently focuses on the following: 1. Federal litigation in support of abused, abandoned, and neglected immigrant and refugee children eligible to legalize status as Special Immigrant Juveniles. 2. Enforcing the rights of children detained pending deportation or removal to appropriate placement and services. 3. Federal litigation involving efforts by state and local governments to enforce federal immigration laws. 4. Litigation, legislative advocacy and policy analysis to address the rights of immigrants to state driver’s licenses. 5. Protecting the rights of immigrant survivors of crime, human trafficking, and domestic violence. We also work in other areas of law and policy identified as priorities by IOLTA-recipients. CHRCL welcomes the input of Trust Fund programs into its priority setting process.
Legislative Updates

Recent legislative initiatives in the U.S. Congress and California Legislature impacting immigrant communities and the work of advocates and legal services providers representing immigrants.

Technical Assistance

CHRCL is committed to providing technical assistance to IOLTA-funded and other legal legal services programs. Please contact Peter Schey and Carlos Holguin to seek assistance on complex or unusual immigration, naturalization, political asylum, or constitutional law cases. We also provide general assistance on federal practice and procedure in class action cases.

Technical assistance is provided in a variety of ways depending on our resources and the needs of the local program and/or the client(s),  including  -

  1. Providing on-line information and litigation updates via the Center's  website,
  2. Discussing cases on the telephone or via e-mail, assessing possible approaches to a client's problem, and evaluating the merits of particular issues.
  3. Commenting on or recommending approaches in complex cases.
  4. Researching and analyzing legal issues.
  5. Providing written materials including research memos, model pleadings, briefs, etc.
  6. Evaluating draft complaints, briefs and other pleadings.


2013 LGBT Legal Services Providers Handbook 

    The purpose of this manual is to provide lawyers and paralegals with low-income LGBT clients with immigration-related issues a guide to the rights of their clients under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and agency regulations and policies.

DACA Legal Service Provider Manual

    The purpose of this manual is to assist attorneys and legal service advocates to answer questions about what DACA means, who is eligible, and what eligible individuals can do next.

Children's Rights Manual
    The purpose of this manual is to inform legal service advocates about the rights of children under immigration law, public benefits available to immigrant children, prosecutorial discretion, and what can happen if a child's parents are removed.

Constitutional Law Manual (Updated 2014)
Due Process and Equal protection for Legal Services and Pro Bono Attorney.


CHRCL is available to conduct training in California for legal services and community-based organizations in the areas of federal litigation, immigration and refugee law, and constitutional law. We will travel to your area to conduct training programs. Please write or telephone Carlos Holguin, (213) 388-8693, ext. 309, with training requests.

Training Materials:

    • These materials outline the general principles of class action litigation including standing, justiciability, class certification, jurisdiction and venue.
    • The general principle of equal protection is that similarly situated individuals must be accorded similar treatment unless some legitimate purpose is served by disparate treatment. The training materials prepared for CHRCL's Equal Protection webinar discuss how cases are classified. 
    • Prepared as part of the fall webinar series, this power point covers the general principles of class action litigation for both federal and California cases.
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Webinar 12-28-11
    • This power point presentation discusses Special Immigrant Juvenile status and changes that have occurred since CHRCL's nationwide settlement in the case, Perez-Olano. For a copy of the settlement in the Perez Olano case, select this link.

Litigation Support and Assistance


CHRCL devotes a substantial portion of its resources to co-counseling major litigation with IOLTA-funded and other legal aid groups. In some cases we will serve as lead counsel, in others as co-counsel, and in others as of-counsel, depending on the needs of the local program and the nature and scope of the proposed litigation. CHRCL combines its co-counseling litigation participation with hands-on training of legal services co-counsel on all aspects of litigation including investigation of potential claims, formulating a complaint, deciding whether to bring a case as an individual or a class action, establishing jurisdiction and standing, overcoming motions to dismiss, discovery, summary judgment motions, pursuing appeals, and winning attorneys' fees.

Priorities Survey

The Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law is committed to delivering relevant and useful support services to IOLTA-funded legal services field offices, community-based organizations, and pro bono private counsel serving low-income residents of California. We are always interested in the views of legal services field offices, community-based organizations, and pro bono attorneys regarding the types of assistance such offices and organizations believe would be most useful in daily work on behalf of low-income California residents.

Your completing and returning the Center's survey form will help us deliver services useful to you. Please email completed Survey Forms to Peter Schey at pschey<at> Thank you.

Priorities survey form

Income Assistance Guidelines

Persons meeting the following income guidelines are eligible for free legal assistance from the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law Foundation:

 Size of family unit  Annual Income
 1 13,612
 2 18,387
 3  23,162
 4  27,937
 5  32,712
 6  47,487
 7  42,262
 8  47,037


For family units with more than eight members, add $3,820 for each additional member in a family.

Client Grievance Procedure

Download the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law's Client Grievance Procedure.

For the client grievance procedure in Spanish, click here.

Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Websites: