Monday, February 2, 2015

Becoming a Legal Advocate

The Equal Justice Foundation at Georgetown provided me with the opportunity to work in the legal advocacy department of Catholic Legal Immigration Network Charities (CLINIC). CLINIC works to protect the rights of immigrants in partnership with Catholic and other community programs. Working at CLINIC exposed me to various issues in immigration law and gave me the experience necessary to secure a future internship at the Arlington Immigration Court.

One of my favorite assignments was assisting in writing a brief for a case before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Under the supervision of a CLINIC staff attorney, I researched and co-wrote a brief for a pro-bono client. I learned so much about how an immigration case is processed and how criminal convictions can impact immigration status. The case involved several complicated and developing legal issues, but the supervising attorney spent a great deal of his time breaking down the issues with me. It was an incredible learning experience and provided me with a great writing sample.    
I was also able to write a comment for a proposed agency rule, analyze state immigration laws, and research issues for proposed legislative action. I really enjoyed gaining exposure to policy research and advocacy, as well as more traditional legal work.

My internship at CLINIC also exposed me to the various agencies and non-profit organizations involved in immigration. We attended meetings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. We also coordinated with non-governmental organizations such as Ayuda, and the Progressive States Network. It was useful to see how organizations work with government agencies, and one another, to advocate on immigration issues. I remain in touch with the CLINIC attorneys. One of them is also working with me as a supervising attorney for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. I have also called another for advice regarding a case I worked on for Georgetown's Center for Applied Legal Studies. The internship was exactly what I needed for my 1L summer. I learned about the area of law in which I want to practice, I developed my professional network, worked with great people, and got paid through EJF while doing so.

- Kelly Hughes, Georgetown Law '16

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Equal Justice Foundation

EJF's Live Auction took place January 29, 2015 in Hart Auditorium and was a HUGE SUCCESS. Check the Facebook page for updates about other ways to help fund public interest activities for Summer 2015