Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) is the country’s first fellowship program dedicated exclusively to meeting the need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants seeking citizenship and fighting deportation. IJC brings together the country’s most talented advocates, connects them to New York City’s best legal and community institutions, and fosters new strategies to reduce the justice gap for immigrant families.
IJC sought to expand its current offerings to serve immigrants of modest means who are ineligible for free legal services but would benefit from legal assistance. Bennett Midland partnered with IJC to design and test the feasibility of implementing a “low-bono” immigrant legal services model. Over the course of four months, we conducted a market analysis to understand the scope and nature of the demand for legal services, as well as determine a working hypothesis around caseloads and fees. We spoke with a wide range of legal service providers, IJC staff, board members, and Fellows, and conducted research around possible locations and approaches to staffing. Through structured meetings with the IJC leadership team, we developed a detailed operational model to weigh the economic feasibility of potential service approaches and confirm alignment with IJC’s mission and vision.
Following our engagement, IJC moved forward with the service offering and launched the Center for Immigrant Representation in Jersey City, NJ, home to over 110,000 immigrants. The Center fills a critical gap by offering low-cost legal services to immigrants who cannot access free legal services or afford private counsel.