Henna Pithia

Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Interim Director, International Human Rights Clinic
Last Updated: August 15, 2023

Henna Pithia is a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Interim Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at USC Gould School of Law.

Pithia joined the clinic as co-director in September 2021, during which time she co-taught the IHRC’s weekly seminar and led student attorneys as they worked on accountability for mass atrocities in Cameroon, monitored and reported on fair trial rights violations in Morocco and Kyrgyzstan alongside the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s Trial Watch Initiative, and worked on individual client representation matters for refugees, trafficking survivors and other individuals fleeing harm. In February 2023, Pithia was the primary author of Best Practices and Resources for Representing Operation Allies Welcome Parolees and Afghan Nationals, a guide aimed at increasing legal representation for the many Afghan refugees and asylum seekers that are currently in the United States or seeking entry to the United States. Pithia co-authored the guide with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Human Rights First, and the Law Office of Spojmie Nasiri, PC. Pithia also led IHRC students on various other projects including a fact-finding and data gathering project in Malawi focused on incarcerated women who have experienced gender-based violence, as well as assisting Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Fremont, California, home to one of the largest Afghan communities in the United States.

Prior to serving as Interim Director and Co-Director of the IHRC, Pithia served as an Asylum Officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, conducting hundreds of in-depth interviews in California and near the U.S.-Mexico border, and making complex decisions that changed people’s lives forever. Pithia also served as the IHRC’s first Legal Fellow after she graduated from USC Gould. As a Legal Fellow, she helped teach the IHRC’s weekly seminar and focused much of her time on refugee rights, anti-human trafficking work, and advocacy efforts around accountability for human rights violations. Pithia has also spent time in Canada and the U.S. working with law firms focused on business immigration and global mobility.

Pithia is frequently invited to guest lecture on international and domestic refugee rights. She was invited to serve as a member of the faculty at the 35th Annual AILA California Chapters Conference in 2023. As a distinguished member of the faculty, Pithia participated in a panel focused on Ukrainian and Afghan asylum seekers. Pithia has also presented her observations on refugee rights and protection at the Association of American Law Schools Conference on Clinical Legal Education as well as the annual Refugee Law Initiative Conference in London, England.