I really just wanted to think about summer, but… a few months back I asked for advice about my 1L summer job options. I really appreciate all the comments I received, and they definitely helped me keep my options open.
Thinking there was no opportunity to do immigration work at my school though, I wasn’t really excited about the summer clinical experience. Knowing now that I’m going to try to start my own immigration law practice upon graduation, it definitely is a priority to get the most practical experience possible. On the other hand, doing a summer clinical is a great opportunity to get credits which will help me graduate a semester early, therefore keeping my loans down by a good $15,000. And I know that regardless it would be a valuable experience.
So… I applied to a few clinicals. One works in the low-income and immigrant community in college town, giving legal advice, doing some community organizing and the like. I also applied to the prison-based project that takes the most students, even though I wasn’t that interested, just because it takes the most students. Sort of at the last minute, I heard that another prison-based clinical sends students to the federal (rather than state) prison where apparently a lot of the incarcerated are immigrants. I didn’t really know much about that, but I applied to it as well, stressing in my short personal statement that I speak Spanish and want to do immigration law.
Around Christmas, I received acceptance to the federal prison project, and a wait-list on the community project. I felt a lot of relief, and considering my other “good” option – trying to find an immigration lawyer who wanted to pay a 1L intern in my hometown this summer, decided for certain today to take it. (California, while still a very desirable option, is on hold for now. I can go next summer if I want, and if its practical).
Back in class today, I’m sure I’m making the right decision. My classmates are uniformly freaking out about finding jobs, and many were waitlisted for the clinicals. Firms aren’t hiring and non-profits are facing cash-flow problems. It’s a poor time to be new and green and looking or a job. I’ve talked to a 3L who worked on the federal prison clinical two years ago and she said that while it’s disappointing how little you can do for many of the people you meet, the overall experience is excellent. She said her colleagues had immigration work as well.
So that is that I think. Unfortunately, before summer, I must learn property, constitutional law, criminal procedure and administrative law.