Sept. 24, 2021 - University of Houston Law Center students in the Black Law Students Association and Hispanic Law Students Association recently participated in a volunteer event hosted by 2014 alumnus Luis Ruiz, who operates his own immigration firm.
The Law Offices of Luis Ruiz hosts an annual back-to-school drive where participants provide backpacks full of school supplies. Ruiz’s firm has donated more than 2,500 backpacks to children in need since establishing the event. The firm also partners with the Houston Food Bank to provide client consultations in exchange for canned goods to feed children in the summer who rely on school lunches for a daily meal.
After being an undocumented immigrant until his sophomore year of college at the University of Houston, Ruiz understands the difficult circumstances his clients face in their daily lives. He was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a 2-year-old.
While in high school, Ruiz witnessed a push for anti-immigration legislation that would criminalize helping undocumented people. He decided then that he needed a seat at the table when decisions affecting his community were being made and pursued a legal education at the Law Center.
He completed his undergraduate education in 2010, before starting law school in 2011. Ruiz transferred to the Law Center after his 1L year, and he said he opened the Law Offices of Luis Ruiz the day after he became eligible to practice.
“Since I got my law license, there hasn’t been a day that I didn’t want to come to work,” Ruiz said.
As a member of an immigrant community, Ruiz believes has a unique ability to give essential trauma-informed advocacy to vulnerable clients, many of whom are victims of crime.
“When they come to me, they’re broken from what has been done to them, but they emerge liberated from the chains of violence,” he said. “You can see the weight fall off their shoulders when you hand them their green card and they know they’re safe. Now they won’t have to worry about being separated from their children,” Ruiz said.