PUBLISHED:June 05, 2019

Kate Evans to lead Duke Law School's new Immigrant Rights Clinic

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Kate Evans will join the faculty of Duke Law School on July 1 as a clinical professor and director of a new clinic focused on immigration law and policy.

Kate EvansKate Evans

“I am delighted that Kate Evans will be coming to Duke and launching our Immigrant Rights Clinic,” said Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and professor of law, who announced the establishment of the clinic shortly after becoming dean last July in response to interest from students and the need for legal services for immigrants in Durham.

“Professor Evans is a passionate and accomplished clinical teacher and advocate for immigrant rights. She is an exceptional choice to lead this new and important addition to our outstanding clinical program.”

Evans is a nationally recognized clinician and immigration advocate. A graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a student leader in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Evans comes to Duke with a distinguished and diverse background as a lawyer and teacher.

“Kate has a keen sense of how to build a program that will serve important needs, build collaborations, and teach the next generation of leading advocates for immigrant rights,” said Professor Nancy Morawetz, co-founder and longtime co-director of NYU’s Immigrant Rights Clinic. “I cannot begin to express how great it will be to have her leading Duke Law’s new clinic.”

A clinical professor since 2012, Evans has helped to launch immigration law clinics at the University of Idaho College of Law and University of Minnesota School of Law. She has also published immigration law scholarship in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, Minnesota Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review (forthcoming), and several practitioner-oriented publications.

Evans and her students have been involved in cutting-edge work, from grassroots community empowerment efforts to litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. She plans to bring this multi-faceted approach to Duke, and will seek to partner closely with the local immigration bar and immigrant rights organizations, as she did in Idaho and Minnesota. 

“There are amazing organizations in Durham and throughout North Carolina working to promote the rights of immigrants,” Evans said. “I’m excited to get to know these groups, figure out how we can best join these efforts, and expand their reach.”

The Immigrant Rights Clinic, Duke’s 11th clinical program, will offer students the opportunity to develop critical professional skills and deepen their knowledge while providing free legal services to immigrants who could not otherwise afford a lawyer. Supervised by clinic faculty, student-attorneys in the clinic will primarily represent individuals seeking asylum or facing deportation.

Students will be able to enroll in the clinic for the spring 2020 semester. In addition to Evans, a supervising attorney will be hired to manage day-to-day operations, and as the clinic develops, it may expand into research, policy, and impact litigation.

“It is just terrific that Professor Evans will be joining the Duke Law faculty to lead our newest clinic,” said Clinical Professor Andrew Foster, director of experiential education and clinical programs.  “She brings a unique mix of vision, experience, passion, and drive to this work. It is exciting to think of the difference she and her students will make through their work in partnership with clients, the broader community, and other clinics and immigrant rights advocates.”   

Evans earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from Brown University, where she majored in international development studies, and later worked for Doctors Without Borders in New York, Guatemala, and Uganda as an advocate and administrator. She graduated magna cum laude from NYU Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Kern Scholar and a member of the Order of the Coif and won the dean’s award for exceptional work in the Immigrant Rights Clinic.

After graduation from law school, Evans clerked for Judges Harriet Lansing and Thomas Kalitowski on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Diana Murphy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

“Professor Evans is an extraordinary addition to Duke Law’s clinical faculty,” said Jayne Huckerby, clinical professor and director of the International Human Rights Clinic, who led the search for an Immigrant Rights Clinic director. “Under her leadership, our new experiential program focused on immigration law will provide critical learning opportunities for students as well as significant service outcomes in partnership with affected communities.”