This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Norma Urrutia, COL’22
This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern at the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC), a non-profit law clinic at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Though it took place remotely due to the pandemic, I was very fortunate to be a part of the LIJC this summer. With the help of Career Services funding, I was able to provide services to the LIJC indigent clients all the while learning about immigration law and cementing my passion for working with immigrant communities.
Throughout my 12-week experience, I primarily worked on DACA cases, both initial applications and renewals. This consisted of reaching out to new and existing clients and gathering all information and documentation needed to determine their eligibility and to fill out their United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms. At times, this meant translating our clients’ legal documents from Spanish to English or creating addendums to attach to their USCIS forms.
Similarly, I was able to work on Naturalization cases for which I also gathered required information and documentation from clients, translated their legal documents, and completed their USCIS forms. Additionally, I was able to draft my first declaration for a Motion to Move Venue for one of our newest clients and learn about this and other Motions.
A crucial part of my duties was also to conduct callbacks each week to individuals who had left our office voicemails. Most of the people calling needed immediate legal assistance and so it was critical to return their calls in a timely manner and schedule their consultations with our lawyers. Likewise, I was responsible for calling clients a couple of days prior to their consultations and confirming their ability to attend the consults remotely.
As part of my internship experience, I also performed research and attended webinars on immigration law and other related topics. My supervisor, the LIJC paralegal, assigned me to read Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL) materials which we discussed weekly. Additionally, I completed research on Sanchez v. Mayorkas to present to my supervisor. I also learned about vicarious trauma, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central America Relief Act, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Furthermore, I also attended the ACLU’s SoCal’s Brown Bag Series which were an informative and eye-opening series of Zoom webinars led by immigration lawyers, professors, and researchers on various topics within immigration law.
Overall, I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at the LIJC this summer. With the help of Career Services, I was able to explore my interests in immigration law and non-profit work as well as form a relationship with of the greatest mentors I have ever had. As a result of this experience, I am more certain in my desire to pursue a career in immigration law, and I am really excited for future opportunities in the field.