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What other fields of law should I look into if I want to become an immigration lawyer

#lawyer #Immigration law #law-school #law

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Desiree’s Answer

Hey Juliana - Let me give you an over view, in case it's helpful in refining your question. All U.S. lawyers have to have an undergraduate/Bachelor's degree (typically, 4 years at college/university) AND a Juris Doctor (also known as a "JD" or law degree) from an accredited Law School (typically, 3 years at law school). Yeah, that's 7 years more after high school! If you want to be an immigration lawyer, you don't have to look into any other fields of law, but you will need your JD.

The JD will require certain courses (Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Torts, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Property, etc.) and allow students to select certain elective course (e.g., Family Law, Immigration Law, Environmental Law). If you are interested in Immigration Law, you would take all the required course and then select electives that focus on Immigration Law. Some law schools may offer special courses of study in immigration law, too -- see UC Davis https://law.ucdavis.edu/academics/certificates/immigration-law-certificate.html and New England Law https://www.nesl.edu/academics-faculty/certificates/immigration-law for example (there are many others - you can research this on-line). And many law schools offer Immigration Law Clinics, where you can practice law as a law student under the direction of admitted attorneys (real clients!) -- see Harvard Law https://hls.harvard.edu/dept/clinical/clinics/harvard-immigration-and-refugee-clinical-program/ and UMass https://www.umassd.edu/law/clinics/immigration-law/ (again, you can research this on-line).

Long story short: the required course for a JD will give you plenty of exposure to other fields of law, and you can use the elective courses and/or clinics to narrow your focus on immigration (or anything else that may have your focus ~7 years down the road!).


Desiree recommends the following next steps:

Research Law School required course curriculum.
Research Law Schools known for their Immigration law, Immigratiom law clinics, and/or Immigration law certificate programs.
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Allyson’s Answer

Since Desiree's answer is so comprehensive, I will just add some perspective on the undergraduate degree focus. Public Administration, Public Affairs, Political Science and Government.

Here is some other good information I found on collegevine.com: https://blog.collegevine.com/10-best-undergraduate-majors-for-law-school/
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Jill’s Answer

Liked the answers above. Please check out Univ. of San Francisco School of Law- it has a decades old tradition of community immigration law support from law students. Founding father is Prof. Bill Hing. He has been doing this work forever, perhaps you can start to follow his work with the law school clinic he founded.
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Job’s Answer

You want to study civil rights, immigration law and administrative law. Civil rights issues are a good point to fight for immigrants. Administrative law is about how federal agencies work and how to limit their ability to harm your client. I would also learn criminal law since the government likes to charge people illegally and legally entering the country with charges which makes it easier to deport them.
I would also look for a non-profit organization that assists immigrants in their immigration cases and work there as much as you can. You will learn the issues and how to deal with them from actually working with them.
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