Q: I am an undergraduate in pre-law. I am hoping to work in the field of immigration law. What are some typical career paths and/or experiences preferred by immigration law firms? I am not sure I can afford law school right away.
Pre-law is one way to be introduced to the practice of law. However, like many professional roles, experience is critical. I consulted Vincent W. Lau, Esq., Managing Partner at Clark Lau LLC in Boston. Lau explains that there is less drama and excitement than the images and storylines shown on TV, movies, or any streaming platform. You can also consult experienced lawyers helping clients with immigration claims to know more abut the it. Lau explains “The real work environment will help the individual understand the field better and will also prove to future employers the individual’s interest and commitment to the field.” Some people face questions like, ‘can i work while waiting on green card‘ and answers for these can only be got through immigration attorneys.
Lau continues, “The practice of law is a rewarding field because it is a very practical way of helping people. Lawyers can offer advice before a problem arises. In fact, some of the best lawyers can draw upon their experience and anticipate some of the problems or questions that a client may face and provide workarounds before the problem even exists. In other instances, lawyers will help clients understand complex laws so that they can comply with the requirements. And yet in other instances, lawyers keep law enforcement accountable by making sure that clients have not been wrongly accused and have been treated justly.”
Lau is a seasoned attorney with a focus on immigration law. Lau shares “immigration law is the practice of law that deals with a specific set of rules: rules that govern who can remain in the U.S., what permission one has in the U.S., and who can work in the U.S.” Lau believes that the best preparation for someone interested in the practice of immigration law would be to acquire “real-world experience in an immigration law firm like the reputed immigration law firm Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. in Oakland, CA. This will help the individual understand the day-to-day practice and determine whether it is a field in which one is truly interested. This also makes the individual a more attractive candidate for a future employer. Short of experience in an immigration law firm, real-world experience in related fields such as family law, employment law, labor law, corporate law, or any other administrative law practice would be helpful.”
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.