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Manmeet Kaur Desai (Class of 2014)

Day Division
I came to New England Law | Boston to study international law, namely international criminal prosecution. After studying abroad in Malta before my 2L year, I realized that it wasn't international law itself that I wanted to practice, but international law as it applied to immigration law.

I was first able to apply this newly realized passion through the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic during the fall of my 2L year. I worked on a specialized domestic violence project at Greater Boston Legal Services through the clinic and was able to apply numerous areas of the law, including immigration law, to survivor safety planning.

I advocated daily on behalf of clients with disability law, consumer law, and immigration law issues. Most humbling, however, was my work raising awareness about and combating forced marriage. Clients with combined domestic violence and immigration concerns are often victims of forced marriage, and I advocated for them through this clinic placement.

It was through this placement that I found my next internship, at a Boston immigration law firm. I enrolled in the Immigration Clinic for the fall of my 3L year and tackled a variety of immigration issues, including representing a client in Immigration Court as lead counsel. I greatly appreciated working for an employer that taught me and built my confidence as a litigator.

Both clinic supervisors (who often work with New England Law students) are now mentors. I never asked formally for guidance, but both understand the plight of eager law students and offer support however possible. Thanks to the clinic placements I know that I will always have mentors in the industry looking out for me.

These opportunities allowed me to familiarize myself with the close-knit community of regional immigration attorneys and became more thoroughly exposed to the practice of law than I ever expected. I had moved to Boston from Houston and was worried that my lack of contacts would harm my employment prospects. The clinic opportunities alleviated that fear, as my chances were as good as those who grew up locally. As a direct result of my New England Law experiences I worked for a number of immigration lawyers in Boston and will be working as an associate for an immigration law firm here post-graduation.

The confidence I gained from these opportunities also led to several valuable volunteer experiences. I began volunteering in June 2013 at the Massachusetts Immigrant Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s (MIRA) Citizenship Clinics and continue to do so. As a result of my MIRA relationship, the Immigration Law Association, which I had served as vice-president, trained other New England Law students to volunteer at the clinics. In summer 2013, I volunteered at the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) annual conference in San Francisco and I will volunteer at the Boston conference this summer.

Thanks to these experiences and my New England Law classes, I will receive the Immigration Concentration Notation on my transcript. Through my volunteer work at MIRA and in other immigration settings, I also received the school’s Public Service Transcript Notation.

I am forever grateful for the doors the clinics opened for me in this economy and in the competitive legal job market of Boston.

(May 2014)