CLINIC’s annual Convening is the premier training event for those seeking to increase their knowledge of immigration law, advocacy and successful program management techniques. Join us as we gather with fellow advocates and service providers to share strategies, enhance expertise, and prepare for the challenges ahead.


Convening Highlights:


Check back regularly as we add more information! If you have specific questions, please email


Tentative Agenda - Subject to Change


Wednesday, May 24


How to Master the Courtroom: Developing Effective Trial Skills and Persuasive Oral Advocacy 

8:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.

How you prepare may be the most important part of your appearance in immigration court. In just one day, our team of experts will guide you through the Master Calendar Hearing and Individual Merits Hearings of the Immigration Court process, offering tips to succeed during both. Key topics include client interviewing techniques and preparation, pleadings to the Notice to Appear, court filings, direct examination and closing arguments. Participants, also, will have the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on their oral advocacy, as well as observe a mock Individual Merits Hearing. 5 Georgia CLE credit hours pending. 

PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional fee for this training. All registered attendees will receive lunch.


LawLogix Edge Power User Training 

8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For LawLogix CLINIC Affiliate clients, the LawLogix Edge immigration case management certification training session covers new ways to get the most out of the Edge immigration case management system. Taught by LawLogix Edge experts, this complimentary Power User training is the perfect setting to ask lingering and advanced questions on how to best use Edge to increase productivity and provide better service to clients.  Whether you are new to Edge, or a veteran user that wants to hone your skills to become more efficient, this Power User workshop will benefit every level of user.


General Skills Workshops

9:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Learn from CLINIC experts on a variety of topics in these one-hour interactive sessions. The foundational skills and techniques presented are accessible at every level, whether you are an immigration advocate, legal services staff member or a volunteer. Best of all, with no additional registration, you can drop in whenever you have time or attend all four sessions!

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.  Fundraising
Description coming soon

10:45 - 11:45 a.m.  Social Media Boot Camp
Now more than ever we need to expand and educate our community, and social media is just the tool to use. Outlets like Facebook and Twitter require minimum resources, while offering a big payout – direct access to other supporters and an efficient way to raise awareness. It also allows you to stay instantaneously updated during events across the world. No matter the size of your organization, you can command a presence on social media that helps advance your mission, and this workshop will get your started. Activities include an overview of the major outlets; step-by-step instructions on how to open accounts or use your accounts more effectively; hands-on assistance with creating content and goal setting. 

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.  Screening for Immigration Benefits
Description coming soon

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.  Know Your Rights
Description coming soon


CCUSA Immigrant & Refugee Community of Practice

1 – 3:30 p.m.

Catholic Charities USA invites you to join them for a meeting of the Immigrant & Refugee National Impact Community of Practice. Open to staff and volunteers working at Catholic Charities agencies, the Community of Practice gathers to explore how to maximize impact by focusing individual efforts around common goals.  CCUSA needs your input to learn how to marshal national resources to achieve the greatest good for those who need us most.


4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Opening Plenary 


6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Welcome Reception 


Thursday, May 25


7:30 - 8:15 a.m.

Religious Immigration Services Roundtable: Religious Worker Immigration Law on My Mind

Come join CLINIC’s Religious Immigration Services (RIS) attorneys for breakfast and for an open discussion on various issues in religious worker immigration law.  Learn the answers to some of life’s most troubling questions like: Why did I get this RFE?  What is this sunset I keep hearing about? Are USCIS adjudicating officers real people? Come for the eggs stay for the knowledge

Panelists: RIS Staff Attorneys


8:15 - 9:45 a.m.

What Every New Legal Worker Needs to Know

The presenters will discuss introductory concepts in immigration law such as who is an immigrant, who is a non-immigrant, who is undocumented and who is a citizen or national.  The presenters will also address the fundamentals of conducting legal research and techniques for successful client interviews.

Speakers:  Martin Gauto and Jen Riddle


Marriage and Conditional Residency

Marriage-based immigration law is a subspecialty that requires particular knowledge of several concepts.  In this workshop the trainers will cover how marriage is defined, bona fide marriages are documented, conditional residency is terminated, and fiancé(e)s immigrate and adjust status.  Learn how to identify and address the most common problems that arise for this client group.

Speakers:  Kristina Karpinski, Charles Wheeler


All About DUIs

Imagine you have a client in your office that just disclosed a DUI conviction from last year?  Any reason to be concerned about: health-based inadmissibility? Crime-based inadmissibility?  Lack of good moral character?  Adverse discretionary factor?  Exposure to enforcement?   Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.     If this surprise you, join us for this presentation addressing the potential immigration law consequences of having one or more DUI offenses.

Speakers:  Susan Schreiber, Bradley Jenkins


It’s HUGE! The New Administration’s Impact on Religious Worker Immigration Law

Though not directly targeting international religious workers in the U.S., the new administration’s policies on immigration significantly impact religious worker immigration law.  This workshop will discuss various issues from the executive orders to I-129 and I-360 petitions for religious workers.  Panelists will offer best practices for dealing with USCIS requests for evidence (RFE), site visits, the non-minister sunset, the Visa Bulletin quota, and more.

Speakers: Miguel Naranjo, Minyoung Ohm and Chris Ross


Build Your Army: The Far-Reaching Impact of Promoting Immigrant Integration in Your Community

The importance of encouraging relationships between newcomers and members of the receiving community cannot be overstated. These relationships help a community stand up against discriminatory practices, help safeguard those negatively impacted by unwelcoming rhetoric, and provide examples to children of how to welcome newcomers into a community. Join us as we discuss how to develop integration initiatives in your community, how to merge integration as a program goal into already-existing program and agency documents, and how to offer these services with few additional resources. We will outline how CLINIC defines immigrant integration, explore the new Immigrant Integration Toolkit, and determine how you can measure integration in your communities in order to have data points to include in funding applications.

Speakers: Leya Speasmaker, guest affiliate speakers


10:25 - 11:55 a.m.

Introduction to Family-Based Immigration: Immediate Relatives and the Preference System

How can clients gain permanent residence through a family relationship? This workshop will explore immigrating as immediate relatives and through the family preference system, including the requisite relationship for visa petition approval and the process for filing an I-130 petition. We will also learn how to read and understand the Department of State's visa bulletin. 

Speakers: Ilissa Mira, Jen Riddle


Can this Residency Be Saved?  

At some point every advocate encounters an LPR client who was not actually eligible for LPR status.  Perhaps your client immigrated as the unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident but got married before she entered the U.S. on an immigrant visa?   Or immigrated as the spouse of an LPR when his divorce from his prior marriage had not yet been finalized?  In these situations, is there anything you can do to protect your client’s LPR status?  In this workshop, the presenters will explore the options available in removal proceedings, focusing on waivers under INA sec. 237(a)(1)(H). 

Speakers: Susan Schreiber, Sarah Bornstein



The presenters will highlight important ethical considerations in immigration law practice.  Join this panel to explore these topics through analysis of hypotheticals and common case scenarios.

Speakers:  Martin Gauto, guest speaker


Answering Fear with Faith and Facts

Wondering how to combat anti-immigrant initiatives and policy proposals?  Some initiatives at the federal, state and local level have been based upon inaccurate presumptions intended to stoke fears. While other localities have transcended those narratives to develop policies that acknowledge and embrace the contributions of their immigrant communities. This panel will discuss how to use facts, faith teachings and community values to counter rhetoric that dehumanizes and objectifies immigrants and refugees.

Speakers: Lisa Parisio, guest speakers


Happy Staff and Volunteers: Optimizing Program Efficiency 

In this interactive session, CLINIC will outline best practices related to staffing and volunteers. We will discuss how to make smart hires; how to maintain and improve staff morale; how to prevent turnover; how to leverage volunteers to increase capacity; and much more. Participants will share examples and have the chance to brainstorm and share ideas in small groups.

Speaker: Shaila Rahman


2 - 3:30 p.m.

Applying for Residency:  Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing and Meeting the Affidavit of Support Requirements

This workshop will cover the two pathways to Lawful Permanent Residence: Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing.  Presenters will discuss the requirements for adjustment under INA sections 245 (a) and 245(i) and the process for obtaining an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.  An overview of the affidavit of support requirements and filing procedures for family-based cases will also be discussed.

Speakers: Kristina Karpinski, Charles Wheeler


U Nonimmigrant Status:  Adjustment and Travel

This workshop will address issues related to both U status holders who want to adjust status, and those on the waiting list for U status who want to travel abroad, or enter the U.S. to join family members here.   What travel options exist for those on the waiting list and how can you pursue permission to travel?  For those seeking adjustment, how do you address issues like outstanding removal orders, undisclosed inadmissibility grounds preceding U status, and newly acquired inadmissibility?   CLINIC presenters Sarah Bronstein and Susan Schreiber will review these topics as well as other issues relating to waitlist travel and adjustment of status.

Speakers: Susan Schreiber, Sarah Bronstein


Understanding FOIA Requests

This workshop will provide an overview of how to use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to understand your clients’ immigration history.  The presenters will discuss the procedures for submitting FOIA requests to different agencies, how to challenge inadequate responses through appeals and litigation, and tips on interpreting agency responses and records. 

Speakers: Ilissa Mira, Jen Riddle, guest speaker


Top Innovations

Speaker: Jack Holmgren

Description coming soon


Media Panel: How to fight ‘alternative facts’ with real facts

Amid the new realities of immigration law and policy in the Trump administration, how can you effectively fight back against hostility and wrong information? How can you take advantage of heightened public and press interest to keep the facts straight and keep telling the positive story of immigration? This workshop will explore some of the current struggles in reaching out to the news media. Ideally, the panel will consist of local and national news media speakers.

Speakers: Pat Zapor, guest speakers


4 - 5:40 p.m.

Overview of Humanitarian Relief

The presenters will provide an overview of a variety of forms of humanitarian relief and benefits including Asylum, Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, T and U Non-immigrant Status, the Violence Against Women Act and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

Speakers:  Martin Gauto, Sarah Bronstein


All About 245(i) Adjustment of Status

On April 30, 2001, the doors closed on filing petitions that would create eligibility for adjustment of status under INA § 245(i). Now, sixteen years later, 245(i) is still a lifeboat for those who entered without inspection or overstayed.  Who qualifies for a seat in the lifeboat and why are the rules so complicated?  This workshop will review who qualifies for grandfathered status, who is an after-acquired derivative and what benefits does that provide, who is subject to the 245(i) physical presence requirement and other issues related to 245(i) adjustment applications.

Speakers:  Kristina Karpinski, Susan Schreiber


Keeping Up With the News/Updates on Immigration Policies in the Trump Era

Since taking office, the Trump administration has implemented or proposed several changes in the way immigration laws are enforced. Come listen and engage in an open discussion on what changes have taken place or will take place soon and how your agency can respond.

Speakers: Charles Wheeler, Michelle Mendez, and Jill Marie Bussey


Understanding the New Rule for Recognition and Accreditation

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) recently announced a new rule for agency recognition and staff accreditation that became effective on January 18, 2017.  Changes include new eligibility requirements for recognition and accreditation; a new requirement for organizations to renew their recognition; and new requirements for reporting, recordkeeping, and posting.  Join us for a presentation and listening session on how the changes will impact your program. We will provide an overview of the changes; provide tips to help you renew recognition and accreditation under the new rule; and provide data points for the new recordkeeping requirement.  Learn how you can grow your legal services under the new R&A program.

Speaker: Laura Burdick


Media Bootcamp

A bit of media training. How to take your clients’ stories and turn them into something that improves the public dialogue. Some practice with the notion of ‘framing’ terminology, using FrameWorks materials, would be one element

Speakers: Patricia Zapor, Michelle Fordice


Friday, May 26


8:15 - 9:45 a.m. 

Overview of Inadmissibility and Deportability Concepts and Introduction to Removal Proceedings

The presenters will provide an overview of the concepts of inadmissibility and deportability including when they apply and to whom and what it means to be inadmissible or deportable.  There will also be a brief discussion of the grounds themselves and what circumstances or conduct trigger them.  The presenters will also discuss what removal proceedings are, how they work and how a person might be placed in removal proceedings. 

Speakers:  Sarah Bronstein, Ilissa Mira


Representing Central American Asylum Seekers

Asylum claims from Central America have a reputation for being difficult.  However, the dynamics of violence in the Northern Triangle Countries often do qualify the victims of violence for asylum.  This workshop will cover frequently arising issues arising in Central American asylum cases, including common social groups, strategies for when a client faces extortion or recruitment by gangs, and resources for proving country conditions.

Speakers:  Bradley Jenkins, Michelle Mendez


Health-Based Inadmissibility

How are health-based inadmissibility grounds determined and who is involved in making the determinations?  What guidelines must be followed by civil surgeons and panel physicians when conducting medical exams? What does the medical examination entail? How are determinations made on the drug abuser or addict and mental or physical disorder ground?  Can any of the health-based grounds be waived?  Attend this workshop to learn the answers to these and other questions about the medical examination and health-based inadmissibility.

Speakers:  Kristina Karpinski, Jen Riddle


Storytelling for Effective Advocacy

In these days of fake news, separating fact from fiction can be challenging. Immigrant advocates often use data and statistics to make their case, but storytelling allows people to better understand and connect with the issues immigrants face. This panel will discuss the impact of storytelling and how to build a culture of storytelling.

Speakers:  Lisa Parisio, Pat Zapor, affiliate guest speakers


Turning Data into Compelling Stories for More Stakeholder Support

Discover how program evaluation can be made easy and even exciting.  Practice turning client data into compelling stories – stories that educate how your legal services improve the lives of individuals, strengthens communities and continually demonstrates the U.S.’s great immigration experience. 

This workshop will emphasize participation over instruction, giving attendees the opportunity to practice story telling scenarios such as “What type of work do you do?” and “Why I do what I do and why it matters” in addition to telling program and client success stories for text, websites, media, grant proposals, annual reports and other forums.

Speaker: Jeff Chenoweth


10:25 - 11:55 a.m.

Overview of Selected Grounds of Inadmissibility

This workshop will provide an overview of common grounds of inadmissibility, including those related to health; crimes; immigration violations; smuggling; fraud and misrepresentation; and false claims to citizenship.

Speakers:  Kristina Karpinski, Ilissa Mira


Provisional Waivers

Join CLINIC attorneys as we discuss strategy on winning I-601A waivers for your clients.  The topics to be covered include identifying possible extreme hardship factors, gathering supporting documentation, and satisfying the positive discretionary standards. We will also share experiences on drafting convincing declarations and packaging the application with an effective cover letter and index of exhibits.

Speakers: Charles Wheeler, Susan Schreiber 


Innovations in Intervention: Strategies for Effective Case Resolution

Do you wonder what happens to your case after you file it? Have you called to check on your case but not heard back?  Come to this panel to learn about enhancements in case processing and customer service tools and what to do when your client’s case becomes delayed. Hear about CLINIC’s updated tools and resources to help get your problem cases back on track. Learn about case advocacy options from this panel of experts in liaising with government agencies, including the CIS Ombudsman’s office. 

Speakers: Michael Santomauro, guest speaker


The Power of State & Local: Tips and Strategies for Working with Local Government on Immigrant Integration Initiatives

Are you interested in learning how your local government can help you in your efforts to promote and encourage immigrant integration in your community? What resources and support can local government offer to your organization, and how can they assist your program in advancing its goals?  Join us as we hear local government representatives and members of the CLINIC network who have successfully received government support about how best to leverage this important resource.

Speakers: Leya Speasmaker, Christy Williams, guest speakers


2 - 3:30 p.m.

Overview of U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization

This workshop will provide an overview of the main avenues to U.S. citizenship: acquisition, derivation, and naturalization.  Presenters will discuss the requirements for acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth abroad and deriving citizenship from a parent after birth.  An overview of the requirements for naturalization including good moral character, continuous residence, physical presence, English language and civics requirements and exemptions and the loyalty oath will also be discussed.

Speakers: Kristina Karpinski, Ilissa Mira


Taxes and Affidavit of Support

Tax law intersects with immigration law in a number of ways. Come hear tips from two experts on how to complete the affidavit of support and how to advise your client on common tax filing issues.

Speakers: Charles Wheeler, Guest Speaker


Removal Without Court: Expedited Removals, Stipulations, Reinstatement

When you think of someone having a removal order, do you assume that the person went before an immigration judge?  If so, think again, because most removal orders are administrative, through expedited removal orders as well as reinstatement of removal and stipulations to removal. In this workshop, the presenters will review the different types of non-court removal orders, how they are issued and what effect they have on the individual ordered removed.  

Speakers:  Sarah Bronstein, Susan Schreiber


State and Local Responses to Executive Orders

Is there proposal in your state legislature or city council that would impact the immigrant community? Do you want to weigh-in but not sure how to? This panel will provide an overview of how CLINIC works with local partners to respond to changes in immigration policies under the new presidential administration. Speakers will offer suggestions on building the infrastructure needed to rapidly respond to the changing environment.  

Speakers:  Christy Williams, guest speakers


Using Technology to Maximize Efficiency and Impact in Case Management

This workshop will discuss the importance of using case management as well as effective ways to leverage your staff and volunteers’ expertise with low-cost, high-impact technology tools in order to increase your immigration program’s services in the community. You will learn what case management is and what technology tools CLINIC affiliates are using to provide quality immigration services. This is a highly interactive workshop and CLINIC staff and affiliates will be sharing best practices that will help you maximize your program’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Presenters: Nathaly Perez


4:10 - 5:40 p.m.

Introduction to Ethics Issues and Overview of Agency Recognition &Accreditation

The presenters will provide an overview of the rules of ethics and describe how they apply to accredited representatives. The presenters will raise common ethical issues through case examples and hypos. The requirements for DOJ/EOIR recognition and accreditation, including the recent changes, will also be discussed. 

Speakers:  Martin Gauto


Bond and Detention

Only 14% of detained immigrants are able to obtain counsel for removal proceedings, compared to two-thirds of immigrants on the non-detained docket.  Securing a client’s release from detention can make or break a case.  Come learn the bond basics: When does an immigration judge have jurisdiction over a bond? What factors are considered at a bond hearing? What is ICE arguing to keep the bond set high?  How can our clients pay their bonds?  What non-monetary alternatives to detention exist?

Speakers: Michelle Mendez and Bradley Jenkins


Ask the Experts?

Bring your brain teasers, your bizarre fact patterns, your immigration perplexities, or maybe just your basic questions and we will attempt to offer helpful advice.  The collective wisdom in the room should be enough to tackle the hardest problems. Join our two most senior attorneys as they apply their collective 70 years of immigration law experience to your hardest cases.

Speakers: Susan Schreiber, Charles Wheeler


R&A Inter-Agency Panel- Advocacy

Join officials from EOIR and USCIS to discuss updates and implementation of the new R&A program.

Speakers: Jill Marie Bussey, Michael Santomauro


Community Partnerships

Speaker: Paola Marquez

Description coming soon