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Immigration Clinic Student Spotlight

Elisa Tavera, Clinic I, Fall 2022 
Non-profit Direct Legal Services

Elisa Tavera, Clinic I, Fall 2022 
Non-profit Direct Legal Services 

The UHLC Immigration Clinic has been one of the most formative experiences of my law school career. While there, I was given the opportunity to truly own live cases with the advantage of having knowledgeable professors offer guidance and support when I needed it. This hands-on experience helping individuals from our Houston community solidified my inclination towards non-profit immigration legal work. After my semester with the UHLC Immigration Clinic, I was immediately offered a clerkship at the St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Services in the unaccompanied children's department. The position offers the flexibility to continue law school full-time while I grow my proficiency and my connections in the non-profit legal world. The attorneys and staff at Cabrini tell me that the UHLC Immigration Clinic has a strong reputation for preparing students well. I can personally attest to the truth in that because I am constantly drawing from the knowledge I gained at the UHLC Immigration clinic. 

Theodora Bean

Cesar Rivera Infante, Clinic I, Fall 2022 
Private Practice, Immigration Law Firm 

I had the privilege of participating in the UHLC Immigration Clinic, where I gained invaluable insight into the field of immigration law and how it can transform lives. During my time in the clinic, I had the opportunity to work with experienced attorneys and gain practical skills in a variety of immigration-related matters. This experience has given me a unique perspective on the challenges faced by individuals navigating the immigration system and the important role that attorneys play in providing support and representation.  

My participation in the clinic also provided me with valuable networking opportunities that have proven instrumental in securing my current position at The Modi Law Firm. Through the clinic, I was introduced to Susham Modi, a former UHLC Clinic supervising attorney, which played a pivotal role in securing my current clerkship and opened doors to exciting new opportunities.  

I highly recommend the UHLC Immigration Clinic to any student interested in pursuing a career in immigration law as it provides an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience, make professional connections, and explore the different facets of the immigration legal field. Overall, the UHLC Immigration Clinic has had a profound impact on my professional and personal development, and I will forever be grateful for the experience and the opportunities it has provided me. 

Grayson Carnahan, Clinic I, Spring 2022 
Private Practice, Big Law 

Grayson Carnahan, Clinic I, Spring 2022 
Private Practice, Big Law 

The UHLC Immigration Clinic deepened my understanding and appreciation of the desperate need for immigrant advocacy. Though I plan on going into private practice in other matters, the Clinic ingrained in me a deep desire to diligently request and take on pro bono immigration matters whenever possible when I begin work.  

Further, my work at the Clinic helped me secure an externship with the non-profit BakerRipley for the following Spring. My knowledge of several immigration sub-fields and extensive hands-on experience and training from the Clinic streamlined the interview process. It was clear from my conversations that the work that the Clinic does is well-known and respected in the Houston immigration law community. 

Kayla Vasquez, Clinic I and II, Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 
Judicial Clerkship, Executive Office of Immigration Review 

Kayla Vasquez, Clinic I and II, Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 
Judicial Clerkship, Executive Office of Immigration Review 

I enjoyed my first semester at the immigration clinic so much that I decided to rejoin the following semester. Learning how to interact with clients is a valuable experience and excites me about my future. I see my family in my clients, which motivates me to continue. The UHLC Immigration clinic did a stellar job preparing me for client interviews, immigration court, legal research, and writing.  

These skills made me a marketable candidate to intern for a US Immigration Court. The DOJ appreciated the diverse number of cases I've worked on and how much knowledge I had of the system. Immigration law is a steep learning curve, and the UHLC Immigration clinic prepared me to navigate it well. 

Jose Gutierrez, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

Jose Gutierrez, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

I was lucky enough to be paired with the UHLC Immigration Clinic through an undergraduate internship program. I was connected to the clinic due to my interests in immigration law, but some other students interned at organizations like BakerRipley. 

Interning at the clinic was extremely fulfilling. My time at the clinic allowed me to gain an understanding of lawyer-client relations, and interviewing my client was not only helpful for building their case, but also in developing good rapport. Most importantly, I learned that this field of law is not for the faint of heart, as many clients have faced serious adversity. 

After graduating I plan on attending law school and specializing in immigration law. Prior to interning at the clinic I didn’t have a particular interest or passion in any specific field of law, but my experience as an intern made me really passionate about pursuing immigration law. 

Christopher Hernandez, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

Christopher Hernandez, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

As someone who comes from an immigrant family, I was eager to help people with similar backgrounds achieve a better life. This country has been very generous to both me and my family and I wanted to help in any small way I could. I had no real insight as to what I would be doing but I have been more than happy with my experience so far. I have gotten to help on cases with real clients and very real consequences. For me it has put into perspective just how important this work is and given me a new motivation to help others. I’m very grateful to be working alongside both gifted professors and law students on work that brings people closer to the life they want. The clinic has shown me that there will always be people who need our help and appreciate our work. I am not sure which path my legal career will take me but I am confident I will give back in any way I can.   

Turab Abbas, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

Turab Abbas, University of Houston Undergraduate, Intern 

As a recent immigrant to the United States with impending immigration proceedings, I gained a deep understanding of immigration laws from a unique perspective. I am immensely grateful to my supervising attorneys and fellow law students for their guidance and support. In Fall 2023, I am excited to begin my J.D. studies at the University of Houston Law Center.