You’ll get overwhelmed with doing well on your exams during 1L. But once that’s over, you can actually do something that matters in more of a big picture sense. If your law school is worth anything, it’ll provide you with plenty of opportunities to serve. With Trump trying to ban immigrants from the country, let’s look at some of the ways law students are doing real work and doing a lot of good for immigrants.
NYU School of Law
NYU Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, partnering with WilmerHale, created a program aimed at helping NYU students and staff who are at a risk for deportation, as a result of Trump’s executive order, or otherwise. The NYU Immigration Rights Clinic itself has a broader mission, which includes litigation as well as immigrant’s rights advocacy on behalf of their clients. To learn more about the clinic, check out their website.
Yale Law School
Yale law students helped ACLU lawyers successfully challenge Trump’s immigration ban in New York City. The thrust of their argument was that the immigration ban violated their client’s procedural and substantive due process rights. You can read more about the case and the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic here at their website. The court documents are also available. Law students may actually get to write portions of these briefs, but at the least law students will research discrete issues that will inform the arguments in the briefs.
University of Houston Law Center
Students at the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic have helped numerous refugees win permanent resident status. This includes people fleeing violence aimed against women, LGBT, or religious minorities. To read more about their work, check out their website and newsletter. So many law schools have identical immigration clinics whose students make the same kind of huge impact in their clients’ lives. They might not make the news every time, but they should.
University of Notre Dame Law School
At Notre Dame Law School, students can participate in the National Immigrant Justice Center Externship. Externships are generally less work than a clinic, so they provide a way for those with a busy traditional course load to get involved. The externship has law students help immigrants obtain immigration benefits. You can read about one extern’s experiences here.
Law school clinics and externships can make your three years back in school feel a lot more rewarding and practical than they otherwise would. You can also get rid of that nagging feeling that going to class is kind of a drag on society. If you’re also have a hard time choosing between law schools, try to check out what kind of clinics or externships they’re offering. For example, Columbia offered over a dozen externships this semester, and students could even create their own.
One of my externship professors said that one of the best things about the externship was that we’d all become more interesting people. He was right. No one cares that you took evidence, corps or fed courts, but people will want to hear about the clinical or externship work you’ve done.