Immigration Law Concentration
The work of immigration lawyers ranges from up close and personal assistance for families to policy considerations with global implications. Attorneys in this area of specialization aid individuals seeking residency and citizenship, often drawing on related expertise in housing, domestic violence, and criminal law, and are at the forefront of asylum and refugee issues, national security concerns, and cross-border human trafficking. They also provide counsel on visas and other employment law issues.
A variety of course options allows students to tailor their studies to specific interests and career goals. (Click on the Immigration Law Pathway to explore options.) Real-law work experience is integrated through select clinical, fellowship, internship, and project opportunities, among other options. Students also have access to study abroad opportunities, related activities and events, specialized job listings, and faculty advisors with deep expertise. Successful completion of concentration requirements is recognized on students’ law school transcripts.
Vanessa R. Woodman de Lazo ’14 came to New England Law intent on studying immigration law and after graduation was selected for a two-year position with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Honors Program, the most prestigious federal entry-level attorney hiring program of its kind. She will clerk in the San Diego Immigration Court.
"It is an extremely coveted job, and my immigration work at New England Law has really helped me in my career development," she says.
"I took two clinics, and those experiences really helped me gain the confidence I was looking for. I interned with a business immigration law firm for one and with the Boston Immigration Court for the other. I developed a good network that way.
"This is a field where you can work with people from other cultures while learning about our nation’s immigration system by helping judges within the Department of Justice."
Houston native and former high school teacher Manmeet Kaur Desai ’14 arrived at law school “wanting to affect change—to do something with international human rights.” How she was going to do that crystallized when she attended the law school’s summer abroad program in Malta. Not only did she get to meet Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr., a guest lecturer that year, she also studied refugee and asylum law and worked with refugees in concert with the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, in the Malta office.
“It was international human rights law with a different spin,” she says. “I worked with individuals who had left their countries, and I saw how the law and their human rights were tied together. To see that vulnerability and their reliance on the law, that’s what attracted me. I just knew I had to practice immigration law.”
After graduation, Desai began working as a legal associate for Attorney Jason Giannetti, a solo immigration law practitioner in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Immigration Law Opportunities at New England Law
Immigration Law groups
Immigration Law news and activities at New England Law
- Kimberly Williams (student profile, 2014)
- Manmeet Kaur Desai (student profile, 2014)
- Ericka McFee (student profile, 2014)
- New England Law | Boston to repeat highly successful Summer Fellowship Program (2014)
- CLSR’s Human Rights and Immigration Law Project contributes to new state human-trafficking law (law school research and recommendations, 2012)
- Laura Donahue (student profile, 2012)
- Crossing the Border: The future of immigration law and its impact on lawyers (symposium, 2011)
- De Novo play explores plight of asylum seekers (theater presentation, 2011)
- After the earthquake, students and alumni help Haitian nationals (contributing to the Boston and international communities, 2010)
- Professor Haynes discusses immigration reform in Washington (advising White House and Senate, 2010)
- CLSR fellows speak about immigration law (on-campus session for students, 2009)
- Immigration law project discussion (student presentations, 2009)
- CLSR fellow works with special immigrant juveniles (at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, 2009)
- Immigration project brief successful (U.S. Attorney General overturns asylum decision, 2008)
Immigration Law Concentration, Associated Faculty
- Professor Dina Francesca Haynes (Immigration Law Concentration coordinator) directs the Human Rights and Immigration Law Project. Professor Haynes’s background includes positions with human rights and refugee organizations, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations, and her legal scholarship focuses on these issues and immigration law, human trafficking, and migration, among others.
- Associate Professor Lisa Laplante directs the Center for International Law and Policy. The former human rights lawyer was a researcher with the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a co-founder of the Praxis Institute for Social Justice, and she writes on international law and justice topics.
- Lecturer on Law Vincent Lau manages an employment-based immigration practice as the managing partner of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, law firm.
- Lecturer on Law Halim Moris is a partner in a Boston law firm that specializes
in immigration-related labor certifications, temporary work visas, family petitions, and removal defense.
Course Requirements and Additional Information
- For more information or to apply for entrance to the Immigration Law Concentration, please contact Professor Dina Francesca Haynes, 617-422-7269. [Course Requirements information for current students; TWEN login required; add the Immigration Concentration page.]
- Visit the Intellectual Law Concentration webpage for information about that program.