Oct. 1, 2021 – Sami Adhikari, a 2019 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center discussed immigration law, pinpointed personal hurdles in law school, and job hunting during the hiring freeze caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent virtual “Dinner With a Lawyer” event hosted by the Career Development office. Career Development Office Assistant Director Paul Klinger served as moderator.
Adhikari is a staff attorney at Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, where she specializes in corporate immigration law. She works on all aspects of employment-based immigration, including non-immigrant and immigrant visa issues
“By the time I graduated, I knew that I wanted to do corporate immigration law,” Adhikari said. “I had tried a lot of things, and I resonated with the clients being an immigrant myself. It felt like I could give back that way.”
Adhikari explained that her current work routine includes reading and drafting petitions, maintaining client relationships, reviewing the work of paralegal associates and talking with clients.
“What really makes you successful in a corporate immigration job is the ability to connect with clients,” Adhikari said. “What really sets you apart is that you care for the client, and it shows in your relationship.”
In a question-and-answer session with students, Adhikari provided guidance on navigating challenges and disruptions to career plans, noting flexibility, patience and diligence to be key factors in her success. Although her realized journey into the legal profession did not unfold as she had originally envisioned, strategy and a willingness to prevail kept her going.
“I was passionate, I was persistent and I kept making myself visible,” Adhikari said. “Corporate immigration law is a very niche field, and there are very few people who know about it. So, if you know about it and have sought it out, that speaks volumes to the firm.”
Adhikari served as president of the Association of Women in Law and worked with the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic with Clinical Associate Professor Christopher Heard while at the Law Center for hands-on legal experience, managing small business and non-profit client relationships and providing them with legal services while balancing her studies.
“I can say that it was a wonderful change of pace and transition when I had accumulated enough hours to enroll in a clinic,” Adhikari said. “To have that experience and step outside of ‘lecture mode’ and actually roll up my sleeves and get involved in casework was a major confidence booster.”