BC Law Students at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Hi everyone! I have the pleasure of hosting a guest blog from Jovalin Dedaj, BC Law ’16. Jovalin and Cristina Manzano, BC Law ’16, recently argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

As a law student, I knew that my legal education would involve reading cases, outlining cases, and studying cases. I certainly did not know (nor did I expect) that as a BC law student, my legal education would also involve arguing a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Jovalin Dedaj ’16 and Cristina Manzano ’16 at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

When Professor Kari Hong joined the BC faculty in 2012, she brought with her an extensive background in immigration law and appellate work. One of her first initiatives at the law school was setting up the Ninth Circuit Appellate Project (NCAP), a clinic devoted to representing indigent clients in the Ninth Circuit who face immigration consequences for various criminal convictions. I first heard about the clinic as a first-year law student and remember thinking to myself what an intimidating experience it would be to argue a case before a U.S. circuit court of appeals without even having graduated law school! Two years later, the feeling certainly returned the morning of our oral arguments.

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Things I Wish I Knew, Vol. 4: You DO know things and you CAN do things, even if you’re “just a 1L”

“Just a 1L.”

I heard that phrase thrown around a lot when I was researching law schools. You shouldn’t expect to have a lot of stuff to put on your resume because you’re “just a 1L.” You shouldn’t expect to get a “real” job this summer because you’re “just a 1L.” What you have to say and what you bring to the table aren’t as important because you’re “just a 1L.”

So I think we can agree that all those people were very clearly wrong.

Me becoming one with nature at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Me becoming one with nature at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Greetings from the desert! I’m extremely pleased to be blogging from sunny Phoenix, Arizona – which reminds me a lot of Florida (just substitute cactuses for palm trees). The best part? BC is sponsoring this mini vacation/incredible opportunity to get some hands-on legal experience.

I had the privilege of being selected to go on one of BC’s many spring break service trips. Our Phoenix quintet is spending this week working with The Florence Project, a nonprofit that provides legal services to unaccompanied immigrant minors. Last summer, the influx of children leaving Central America to escape persecution and poverty alerted many (myself included) to the fact that child detention centers are all around the country, often in our own communities. These children, who often speak only Spanish or a dialect from their home country and may be too young to read or write, rely on organizations like The Florence Project to advocate on their behalf in the hopes of reunifying with family members within the U.S., or, at the very least, not being sent back to their home country.  In the uphill battle to find grounds for asylum or some other visa that will put these kids on the path to become legal permanent residents, organizations like The Florence Project have to conduct a lot of case research and statute interpretation, not to mention finding out more about the conditions that caused the kids to flee in their countries in the first place.

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