I got involved with the Immigration Law Clinic at McGeorge School of Law, largely because I wanted to continue gaining experience in immigration law. I had worked as an immigration paralegal for a year before coming to law school. My prior experience was specific to family-based immigration matters, and I wanted to gain exposure to other areas such as asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).
I started at the Immigration Law Clinic during summer 2021, working on adjustment of status cases, and it was an incredible experience to have the ability to work on cases from the attorney’s perspective. In addition to working on cases I had prior experience with, I was fortunate to work on an asylum case, advise a consult about the impact of certain criminal convictions on his case, and provide consultations to individuals who might qualify for SIJS.
The Clinic has helped me to develop a variety of important skills such as organization, legal research and writing, and client interviewing. Being organized is an incredibly important skill to have because immigration is complex, constantly changing, and often varies from tight deadlines to a years-long wait. Patience with the process is also important.
Being in the Clinic has also provided me with the ability to practice legal research and writing, especially because of the asylum case I worked on. The client is in removal proceedings and must present his case to an immigration judge. Preparing his brief involved me using the skills I learned in Global Lawyering Skills in a real-world context to prepare the client’s legal argument, and research the relevant case law to do so. The Clinic has also provided me with the skills to meet with clients to discuss their cases and competently evaluate whether they qualify for some form of immigration relief.
The Immigration Clinic has been a wonderful experience, and it has solidified my desire to continue in immigration law after law school. I am passionate about immigration law because being first-generation of Mexican ancestry, immigration issues loom large in my family’s history. Most recently, a close relative is currently in removal proceedings. This knowledge guides me to do my utmost to advocate for my clients.
A central reason I came to McGeorge School of Law was because of the Immigration Law Clinic. The ability to gain immediate practice experience while in law school has been eye-opening. Classes are often very theoretical and focused on the doctrines you need to be an attorney. The Clinic, however, allows you to apply everything you learn in classes in a real-world setting. For example, the research and legal writing skills from Global Lawyering Skills were very appreciated when I was busy writing a brief for my client’s asylum case. Being in the clinic has been the highlight of my law school career, and I’m always recommending it to other students. It has been an experience that has given me the confidence to go out and continue advocating on behalf of this community.
By Andy Marin, a second-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.