It has been quite a fulfilling experience interning with The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) this summer. I’ve not only been immersed in immigration law, but I’ve had an opportunity to witness the law in action and learn more about the world of work. In addition to feeling much more prepared to take on the challenge of law school and hit the ground running, I have continued to build on soft skills like communication, self-accountability, and work-life balance in preparation for life beyond college.
One of the most important things that I have learned this summer is the importance of developing and nurturing soft skills, such as those mentioned above. A person’s ability to complete a job isn’t necessarily defined by their experience or qualifications, but rather by their ability to adapt, effectively communicate, and hold themselves accountable in terms of asking for help and managing deadlines. In the world of social justice, this is especially important, as clients put their lives in the hands of their attorneys, accredited representatives, and/or advocates.
In terms of the impact that I have had on TRII, I believe that just by participating in the first cohort of trainees to become accredited representatives helped to pave the way for advancing the program for future trainees. Having the opportunity to participate in a six-month program tailored to undergraduate students who want experience in the legal field is incredibly rare; what is even more rare, at least on the undergraduate level, is the opportunity to work alongside professional attorneys who are passionate about devoting their extra time and energy to bettering the skills of those who intern alongside them. While working on cases, I have been encouraged numerous times to take the lead on client meetings, file paperwork, or write client affidavits, on top of legal research. I have deeply appreciated and enjoyed the learning experience working at TRII and the support from our executive director and attorneys, and I plan to continue to intern with the organization until I graduate from Brandeis.
If I were to do it all over again, I’m not sure that there is a lot I would change. I got lucky in the sense that I found the program when I was able to find the time to do the training and to take on an internship doing consistent client work. In terms of advice to those interested in working with TRII or in immigration law in general, I would encourage you to not be afraid to ask all the questions you have. In my opinion, education is the greatest gift in the world, and you won’t learn unless you take an active role.
I am grateful to the World of Work fellowship program for supporting me in my internship with The Right to Immigration Institute this summer. This experience is an important step on my path to becoming a lawyer and the skills I have developed over the course of this internship will no doubt propel me further. Law school, here I come!