Immigration Law

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sngilbert
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Immigration Law

Postby sngilbert » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:19 pm

What schools offer strong immigration law programs? any specific to Latin America? How is the demand for immigration lawyers? For what services? Any other information on U.S. immigration law is welcome. Thank you.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:34 am

The deafening silence might be attributable to two things:

1) Immigration law isn't particularly complex so that a heavy-duty school program really isn't necessary; and

2) Much of immigration law deals with people who can't pay very much especially where Latin America is concerned.

Since you say that you are particularly focused on Latin America, you should select a program that gives you the best exposure to administrative law of all sorts. That, plus a good general legal education and a solid knowledge in Spanish or Portuguese, all with the lowest possible debt load, will be a sufficient background.

Two schools come to my mind: The University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico. But if you elect either of these schools, you would do well to establish residency in the state before applying. See "debt load" above.

EDIT: Also, if UNM is your choice (perhaps because you like the Latin American Studies Institute and want to do a joint J.D./M.A.) (or because it's dirt cheap) it is very difficult to get in as a non-resident with no ties to the state.

If you are a native speaker of Spanish and you want to do it in the coolest possible way, there are three ABA approved law schools in Puerto Rico. :)

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aarias11
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby aarias11 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:31 am

Go to a good priced school, pass the bar and start your own practice. Immigration law can pay if you are a good sales person, and most people in their deportation process aren't really thinking they will stay they are trying to buy time. Immigration is a business of volume and many people who are in the process of being deported will shell out 5-6k for legal assistance. Look up small firms in cali and check out the profiles for thier attorneys some of them make really good money. Also keep in mind whether immigration laws become stricter or more generous they will keep bringing in business. If your planning on doing non-for profit work then also look for the best value school you can get. For immigration you can pass the bar in in any state and work througout the US as it is a federal matter.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:48 am

I am a 3L and I have chosen to practice immigration law. Therefore, I am starting a firm after graduation. Most immigration law is practiced by solos and public interest firms - there is no "biglaw" in this field. Ignore the earlier poster who said immigration law isn't particularly complex. Immigration law is an incredibly complicated and fast-changing area of law. Check out the text of the INA or read some BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) decisions to get an idea. To be a credible practitioner, you will need exposure to real cases. I would recommend going to any school with strong experiential learning programs that will allow you to practice immigration law. I only know about the Philadelphia schools, and you can't go wrong with any of them. Temple has an immigration law clinic. Villanova (which isn't a Philadelphia school but it close enough) has a farmworker legal aid clinic which handles some immigration cases. Drexel (where I'm a 3L) doesn't have any immigration clinics but their appellate clinic handles a lot of immigration cases, and they have the co-op program which I am taking advantage of to spend an entire semester working at an immigration public interest firm. Heck, you could probably go to just about any law school as long as you summer at an immigration firm to get experience.

Feel free to PM me for more insight.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:44 pm

tarp wrote:I am a 3L and I have chosen to practice immigration law. Therefore, I am starting a firm after graduation. Most immigration law is practiced by solos and public interest firms - there is no "biglaw" in this field. Ignore the earlier poster who said immigration law isn't particularly complex. Immigration law is an incredibly complicated and fast-changing area of law. Check out the text of the INA or read some BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) decisions to get an idea. To be a credible practitioner, you will need exposure to real cases. I would recommend going to any school with strong experiential learning programs that will allow you to practice immigration law. I only know about the Philadelphia schools, and you can't go wrong with any of them. Temple has an immigration law clinic. Villanova (which isn't a Philadelphia school but it close enough) has a farmworker legal aid clinic which handles some immigration cases. Drexel (where I'm a 3L) doesn't have any immigration clinics but their appellate clinic handles a lot of immigration cases, and they have the co-op program which I am taking advantage of to spend an entire semester working at an immigration public interest firm. Heck, you could probably go to just about any law school as long as you summer at an immigration firm to get experience.

Feel free to PM me for more insight.


Not really true. If you looked at the income brought in by big firms practicing immigration, you might be surprised. Considerably profitable.

http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/43195

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:02 pm

blank403 wrote:
tarp wrote:Most immigration law is practiced by solos and public interest firms - there is no "biglaw" in this field.


Not really true. If you looked at the income brought in by big firms practicing immigration, you might be surprised. Considerably profitable.

http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/43195


See Fragomen (NLJ 250 firm).

Nevertheless, most immigration issues that are not related to the corporate world are performed by solos and small shops. OP, be sure that you are able to speak Spanish. If you cannot speak/write/read Spanish, then you should strongly consider going into a different field.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:31 pm

None of those firms are "biglaw." Except maybe Fragomen. Most immigration law is practiced by solos.

Also, Spanish is definitely an asset, but it's not like everyone who hires an immigration lawyer is a spanish speaker.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:05 pm

tarp wrote:None of those firms are "biglaw." Except maybe Fragomen. Most immigration law is practiced by solos.

Also, Spanish is definitely an asset, but it's not like everyone who hires an immigration lawyer is a spanish speaker.


Kramer Levin? Proskauer? Not biglaw? By what standard?

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:09 pm

blank403 wrote:
tarp wrote:None of those firms are "biglaw." Except maybe Fragomen. Most immigration law is practiced by solos.

Also, Spanish is definitely an asset, but it's not like everyone who hires an immigration lawyer is a spanish speaker.


Kramer Levin? Proskauer? Not biglaw? By what standard?


Those big firms that do immigration mostly deal with Labor Law and immigration issues as related to labor issues. They don't deal with the type of individual cases that OP is talking about. I'm assuming OP means he wants to help Juan rather than the company that hired Juan.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:16 pm

The last poster is spot on. These big firms handle things like labor certifications and employment-based petitions for large companies. They don't handle things like removal proceedings, asylum, family-based petitions, etc. The only tribunal they are likely to ever get in front of would be BALCA and maybe the AAO.

Firms like Kramer Levin are not immigration firms - they are big law firms that happen to do some immigration law for their corporate clients. It still follows that the vast majority of immigration practitioners are solos or small firm attorneys. Anyone looking for immigration law employment with a big law firm straight out of law school would be sorely disappointed. These large firms only have a few attorneys to handle their labor-related immigration matters and would never hire a rookie to fill those positions. A new graduate who wishes to practice in this field would need to get lucky and land a public interest gig, get their foot in at a small firm (which will probably pay very little if you can even get in) or hang their own shingle. I currently work as an intern at an immigration law firm and I am in immigration court regularly, and I have never seen an attorney from a large firm in immigration court.

Back to the OP's inquiry - might I suggest attending a law school in a larger city with a diverse immigrant population. It goes without saying that your chosen city should also have an immigration court. On the east coast, good choices would be NYC, D.C., or Philadelphia. Philadelphia is actually a great choice due to low cost of living, decent sized immigration court (four judges), and Temple has an immigration law clinic.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:23 am

I never said they were immigration firms. They are big law firms with immigration departments. There are plenty of departments in big law firms that function in similar fashion. It's still immigration law. Immigration law that actually pays well, even.

If you are giving advice on how to get started in the type of immigration law that would commonly be referred to as "shitlaw" on these boards, it would be remiss of you to be recommend OP going to any program without a LARGE scholarship.

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:27 am

blank403 wrote:I never said they were immigration firms. They are big law firms with immigration departments. There are plenty of departments in big law firms that function in similar fashion. It's still immigration law. Immigration law that actually pays well, even.

If you are giving advice on how to get started in the type of immigration law that would commonly be referred to as "shitlaw" on these boards, it would be remiss of you to be recommend OP going to any program without a LARGE scholarship.


The OP isn't asking about Biglaw or that type of immigration law though so why would we tell them to go T14 and gun for one of those firms? What OP is looking for is indeed shitlaw where they could get to defend immigrants on matters that are important to the OP like deportations etc... Those firms don't get involved in that type of work.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:16 pm

JoeMo wrote:
blank403 wrote:I never said they were immigration firms. They are big law firms with immigration departments. There are plenty of departments in big law firms that function in similar fashion. It's still immigration law. Immigration law that actually pays well, even.

If you are giving advice on how to get started in the type of immigration law that would commonly be referred to as "shitlaw" on these boards, it would be remiss of you to be recommend OP going to any program without a LARGE scholarship.


The OP isn't asking about Biglaw or that type of immigration law though so why would we tell them to go T14 and gun for one of those firms? What OP is looking for is indeed shitlaw where they could get to defend immigrants on matters that are important to the OP like deportations etc... Those firms don't get involved in that type of work.


Fragomen regularly recruits from schools like Brooklyn and Tulane. You don't need a t14 degree to get into a top immigration shop.

He's interested in helping people via immigration law. The work those firms do is at least worth mentioning. Just like it is worth mentioning that you shouldn't go to temple and gun for shitlaw without a sizable scholarship.

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:20 pm

blank403 wrote:
JoeMo wrote:
blank403 wrote:I never said they were immigration firms. They are big law firms with immigration departments. There are plenty of departments in big law firms that function in similar fashion. It's still immigration law. Immigration law that actually pays well, even.

If you are giving advice on how to get started in the type of immigration law that would commonly be referred to as "shitlaw" on these boards, it would be remiss of you to be recommend OP going to any program without a LARGE scholarship.


The OP isn't asking about Biglaw or that type of immigration law though so why would we tell them to go T14 and gun for one of those firms? What OP is looking for is indeed shitlaw where they could get to defend immigrants on matters that are important to the OP like deportations etc... Those firms don't get involved in that type of work.


Fragomen regularly recruits from schools like Brooklyn and Tulane. You don't need a t14 degree to get into a top immigration shop.

He's interested in helping people via immigration law. The work those firms do is at least worth mentioning. Just like it is worth mentioning that you shouldn't go to temple and gun for shitlaw without a sizable scholarship.


I didn't say he should got to a T14. I think he should go wherever he gets the cheapest ride. Also, I said after graduation he'll probably be working for solo or a small firm because that's where immigration law is practiced.

Fragomen and the others don't do "immigration law" in the context that the OP wants to work in immigration law. If someone were to walk into Fragomen and say "I have a deportation order and want help sorting it out" they'd be shown the door. They're mostly there to deal with immigration matters as they relate to their corporate clients which is not what OP expressed he wants to do.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:54 pm

JoeMo wrote:
blank403 wrote:
JoeMo wrote:
blank403 wrote:I never said they were immigration firms. They are big law firms with immigration departments. There are plenty of departments in big law firms that function in similar fashion. It's still immigration law. Immigration law that actually pays well, even.

If you are giving advice on how to get started in the type of immigration law that would commonly be referred to as "shitlaw" on these boards, it would be remiss of you to be recommend OP going to any program without a LARGE scholarship.


The OP isn't asking about Biglaw or that type of immigration law though so why would we tell them to go T14 and gun for one of those firms? What OP is looking for is indeed shitlaw where they could get to defend immigrants on matters that are important to the OP like deportations etc... Those firms don't get involved in that type of work.


Fragomen regularly recruits from schools like Brooklyn and Tulane. You don't need a t14 degree to get into a top immigration shop.

He's interested in helping people via immigration law. The work those firms do is at least worth mentioning. Just like it is worth mentioning that you shouldn't go to temple and gun for shitlaw without a sizable scholarship.


I didn't say he should got to a T14. I think he should go wherever he gets the cheapest ride. Also, I said after graduation he'll probably be working for solo or a small firm because that's where immigration law is practiced.

Fragomen and the others don't do "immigration law" in the context that the OP wants to work in immigration law. If someone were to walk into Fragomen and say "I have a deportation order and want help sorting it out" they'd be shown the door. They're mostly there to deal with immigration matters as they relate to their corporate clients which is not what OP expressed he wants to do.


I didn't say that you said he should go to a T14, but this is getting silly. My main point has been that there is a profitable side to immigration law that is done by big firms (and that it is a field you can get into without needing a law degree from a t14). You say that it's not what he wants to do. I don't think you can say for sure, and I think it is still worth telling him about. There are plenty of reasons for him to at least be informed about the existence of these firms. They do pro-bono work which could be relevant to his interests. It could be a good way to pay down debt and get experience before going to a shitlaw firm. Even if the work experience isn't exactly the same, it'd obviously look good on a resume.

My other reason for posting in this thread is to let OP know that schools like University of Arizona, New Mexico, and Temple are not solid law school investments without a substantial scholarship. Especially if his goal is to work for a small shop. It sounds like we are in agreement on this point, so I don't see any reason to argue this.

Finally, the bolded is just plain wrong.

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:02 pm

blank403 wrote:I didn't say that you said he should go to a T14, but this is getting silly. My main point has been that there is a profitable side to immigration law that is done by big firms (and that it is a field you can get into without needing a law degree from a t14). You say that it's not what he wants to do. I don't think you can say for sure, and I think it is still worth telling him about. There are plenty of reasons for him to at least be informed about the existence of these firms. They do pro-bono work which could be relevant to his interests. It could be a good way to pay down debt and get experience before going to a shitlaw firm. Even if the work experience isn't exactly the same, it'd obviously look good on a resume.

My other reason for posting in this thread is to let OP know that schools like University of Arizona, New Mexico, and Temple are not solid law school investments without a substantial scholarship. Especially if his goal is to work for a small shop. It sounds like we are in agreement on this point, so I don't see any reason to argue this.

Finally, the bolded is just plain wrong.


I'd like to know why you think the bolded is wrong... do you really think that a firm like Fragomen would take a small case with very little meaning to their bottom line when they know that these are some of the hardest people to receive payment from?

And yes, definitely, the OP should look for a school that gives him a substantial scholarship and if regular immigration law helping blue collar individuals is what he wants to do there's not even any point in going to a T14 school. But OP might also want to give some consideration to the fact that if he puts all his eggs in the immigration basket and then doesn't like it, it's going to be much harder graduation from a school like ASU to then go on to do something else unless it's PI and even then it might still be very difficult.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:33 pm

JoeMo wrote:
blank403 wrote:I didn't say that you said he should go to a T14, but this is getting silly. My main point has been that there is a profitable side to immigration law that is done by big firms (and that it is a field you can get into without needing a law degree from a t14). You say that it's not what he wants to do. I don't think you can say for sure, and I think it is still worth telling him about. There are plenty of reasons for him to at least be informed about the existence of these firms. They do pro-bono work which could be relevant to his interests. It could be a good way to pay down debt and get experience before going to a shitlaw firm. Even if the work experience isn't exactly the same, it'd obviously look good on a resume.

My other reason for posting in this thread is to let OP know that schools like University of Arizona, New Mexico, and Temple are not solid law school investments without a substantial scholarship. Especially if his goal is to work for a small shop. It sounds like we are in agreement on this point, so I don't see any reason to argue this.

Finally, the bolded is just plain wrong.


I'd like to know why you think the bolded is wrong... do you really think that a firm like Fragomen would take a small case with very little meaning to their bottom line when they know that these are some of the hardest people to receive payment from?

And yes, definitely, the OP should look for a school that gives him a substantial scholarship and if regular immigration law helping blue collar individuals is what he wants to do there's not even any point in going to a T14 school. But OP might also want to give some consideration to the fact that if he puts all his eggs in the immigration basket and then doesn't like it, it's going to be much harder graduation from a school like ASU to then go on to do something else unless it's PI and even then it might still be very difficult.


Sure, I agree with all of that in the 2nd paragraph.

As for the first, I work there, so I know from first hand experience.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:44 pm

Not sure which self-important prick came up with the disparaging term "shitlaw," but if that's the kind of law where I'll get to actually help out the little guy and not big corporations, then shitlaw here I come!

As for scholarships, I agree that one should go for a school with the best scholarship possible. Most law schools teach the same crap out of the same books. You learn exactly as much as you want to learn, since you're doing most of the learning on your own anyway. If you get a full ride at a decent school in the top 100, take it and run with it. No sense in handicapping yourself with debt. I still think you should stay away from the lower tier schools, with some exceptions. These are the schools with high attrition rates, that kick a lot of students out for not making the cut. Run, don't walk, away from those (in the Philly area, Widener is the best example).

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:37 am

tarp wrote:Not sure which self-important prick came up with the disparaging term "shitlaw," but if that's the kind of law where I'll get to actually help out the little guy and not big corporations, then shitlaw here I come!

As for scholarships, I agree that one should go for a school with the best scholarship possible. Most law schools teach the same crap out of the same books. You learn exactly as much as you want to learn, since you're doing most of the learning on your own anyway. If you get a full ride at a decent school in the top 100, take it and run with it. No sense in handicapping yourself with debt. I still think you should stay away from the lower tier schools, with some exceptions. These are the schools with high attrition rates, that kick a lot of students out for not making the cut. Run, don't walk, away from those (in the Philly area, Widener is the best example).


I think "shitlaw" is a TLS term. It is rather demeaning especially because there are people like you that want to practice in this area and the truth of the matter is someone has to do it. TBF the TLS mentality is Biglaw or shitlaw though.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:05 pm

The TLS consensus is that "shitlaw" jobs are only done by those who couldn't make the cut for biglaw. Of course, that is an absurd idea. Many people are interested in public interest, or criminal law, or immigration, or many other areas that do not involve large firms and corporate interests. My grades place me right on the edge between a 10% and 11% ranking (with one semester left) making me borderline summa cum laude/cum laude and I could easily score interviews with the big firms in my city but I made a conscious decision to start my own immigration practice, because that is what genuinely interests me. Do not let anyone else, on TLS or elsewhere, tell you what you should do with your own life.

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Nelson
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby Nelson » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:44 pm

tarp wrote:My grades place me right on the edge between a 10% and 11% ranking (with one semester left) making me borderline summa cum laude/cum laude and I could easily score interviews with the big firms in my city but I made a conscious decision to start my own immigration practice, because that is what genuinely interests me. Do not let anyone else, on TLS or elsewhere, tell you what you should do with your own life.

Then, assuming you're smart, you have minimal debt from law school. This is not the case for most people who ask for law school advice on TLS.

tarp
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby tarp » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:29 am

Zero debt from law school.

I went to the school that gave me the best scholarship package.

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JoeMo
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby JoeMo » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:02 pm

blank403 wrote:Sure, I agree with all of that in the 2nd paragraph.

As for the first, I work there, so I know from first hand experience.


You probably see it as Pro Bono work (which you could do elsewhere) but I still have a hard time believing that this is a significant part of their business. It would seem they're mostly focused around the type of corporate immigration we've been talking about and not the type of individual cases that OP wants to work with.

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Advice Dog
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby Advice Dog » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:20 pm

Go to the best school that gives you a full (or close to full) scholarship in the region in which you wish to practice. Don't worry about whether or not it has a strong immigration law program. All schools offer immigration related classes, and you'll learn much more interning during the summer/school year with an immigration attorney.

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blank403
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Re: Immigration Law

Postby blank403 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:16 pm

JoeMo wrote:
You probably see it as Pro Bono work (which you could do elsewhere) but I still have a hard time believing that this is a significant part of their business. It would seem they're mostly focused around the type of corporate immigration we've been talking about and not the type of individual cases that OP wants to work with.




blank403 wrote:My main point has been that there is a profitable side to immigration law that is done by big firms (and that it is a field you can get into without needing a law degree from a t14). You say that it's not what he wants to do. I don't think you can say for sure, and I think it is still worth telling him about. There are plenty of reasons for him to at least be informed about the existence of these firms. They do pro-bono work which could be relevant to his interests. It could be a good way to pay down debt and get experience before going to a shitlaw firm. Even if the work experience isn't exactly the same, it'd obviously look good on a resume.


....................................

Also,

sngilbert wrote:What schools offer strong immigration law programs? any specific to Latin America? How is the demand for immigration lawyers? For what services? Any other information on U.S. immigration law is welcome. Thank you.


....

sorry if you don't think my information is relevant, Joe, but

(1) I think it is, see explanation above

&

(2) this isn't your thread.


ETA: edited for formatting




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