Tuesday, June 17, 2008
After a long battle with cancer, Professor Joe Vail, the founding director of the University of Houston Law Center's Immigration Clinic, has passed away. A respected practitioner and immigration judge before becoming a law professor, Vail will be missed. Michael Olivas passed on a sad note from one of Joe's many friends and colleagues that speaks to all who knew Joe: “He was absolutely one of the finest people it has been my good fortune to know. He will be sorely missed.”
Professor Joe Vail was a well-known practitioner, immigration judge, and law professor. He was the founding director of the UHLC Immigration Clinic.
Professor Vail is a 1979 graduate of Widener School of Law. Upon graduating from law school, he served with VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) where he entered the field of immigration law. He also served as an accredited representative and staff attorney with Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, as managing attorney at AYUDA, Inc. in Washington, D.C., and was in private practice in Houston.
In 1995, Vail was appointed as an immigration judge with the United States Department of Justice, where he served for more than four years. He has been a member of the Board of Directors with the YMCA International Services Program, the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN), and the Texas Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance. He is currently a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Professor Vail was distinguished with the 1994 Texas State Bar award for pro bono legal services, the Frank J. Scurlock Award.
Joe Vail will be missed.