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Law professor receives award from national immigration organization

The American Immigration Lawyers Association, a non-profit organization in the United States spanning more than 13,000 attorneys and legal professors, awarded UH law professor and Immigration Clinic Director Geoffrey Hoffman the 2014 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award is granted to professors excelling in teaching immigration law. To be considered, members of AILA around the country, Hoffman’s peers, and students alike sent recommendations to the organization for Hoffman.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award from AILA. I want to thank my friends and colleagues at the University of Houston Law Center,” Hoffman said. “One thing I have learned from our excellent students and dedicated professors is that everything we do is truly a team effort.”

Hoffman says he utilizes an interactive approach with his students, wanting to get them involved in every aspect of immigration litigation. In 2010 he served as co-counsel for the immigrant in the Supreme Court case Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, which resulted in a 9-0 win and legal precedent.

“The Supreme Court was incredibly educational, because I took three students up to the oral argument at the Supreme Court in 2010,” Hoffman said. “It was an amazing experience that very few law schools are able to offer.”

The UH Law center offers a variety of clinics — programs that place law students into handling every part of the court case — under the supervision of clinical faculty.

“One of the reasons why I did go to UH for law was because of Hoffman and the immigration clinic,” said UH Law Center graduate Verónica Bernal.

Hoffman keeps in contact with some of his former students, sometimes guiding them beyond the classroom.

“He always has a story behind every single thing you can possibly ever imagine,” Bernal said. “Some are anecdotes that really help when you’re at the firm where I’m working. I’ll encounter something, and I’ll remember, ‘Oh, well this is kind of similar to that anecdote’, or I’ll call him.”

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