Alumni Reflections

Immigrants’ Rights Clinic alumni share their views on what they learned from their clinic experience.

Alumni Reflections 13
I’m very grateful for my time in IRC. I learned so much from Jayashri, Lisa, and Shanti, but one thing that really stands out is the care and intention with which they approach everything they do—from an appellate brief to a five minute call with a client. That is just one of the many lessons I will carry with me into my career as a lawyer. On top of that, the clinic’s supportive environment helped me build meaningful relationships with my client and my classmates. I would recommend IRC to anyone.

Seth Goldman, JD '23

IRC was the most profound experience I had in law school — it reminded me why I came here and who I want to be. I loved building a relationship with my client (who eventually got a green card!) and advocating for asylum seekers. The learning environment was unparalleled. I was immersed in a thoughtful, supportive community of mentors and peers dedicated to my learning and growth. I am so grateful for IRC.

Vanessa Young Viniegra, JD '23

Alumni Reflections 11
Participating in a clinic was hands down the best experience I had during law school. It was an unparalleled opportunity to learn from faculty mentors and talented peers in an environment that pushed me to challenge myself, while simultaneously providing support, feedback, and space for reflection that's often absent in law school classrooms.

Noelle Smith, JD '21

Immigrants Rights’ Clinic was my most meaningful experience at Stanford. Jayashri and Lisa offer mentorship and supervision while also allowing student attorneys the independence we need to develop into lawyers. The chance to work closely with my partner, team, and client was rewarding, challenging, and invaluable to me as both a student and a person.

Carolina Herrera, JD '21

Fall and Spring Public Service Awards 4
Alumni Reflections 8
IRC is Stanford Law School at its best. Working with our client was challenging but incredibly rewarding. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people and further develop my skills as I embark on my legal career.

Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza, JD '21

IRC helped me realize the type of lawyer I wanted to be. It also gave me the courage to pursue a public interest career. It was the most transformative experience at SLS for me.

Trillium Chang, JD '21

Fall and Spring Public Service Awards 3
Alumni Reflections 9
Every pro bono or client interaction I've had since clinic reaffirms how incredible both Jayashri and Lisa were in instilling the foundations for client-centered lawyering. I’m grateful to IRC for giving me the tools to not only serve my clinic client (who was granted asylum!) but all my future clients as well.

Maria Elizabeth Trujillo, JD '21

Being a student in IRC taught me how to balance client needs, legal research, team dynamics, and the emotional highs and lows that lawyers encounter. By getting to work on individuals' cases as well as broader policy projects and class-action lawsuits, the clinic granted me a sense of the different types of legal work to which I could aspire in service of immigrant communities.

Brett Diehl, JD '21

Alumni Reflections 10
Alumni Reflections 4
The clinic has not only challenged me with substantive legal work, but has also taught me to be intentional about my approach with clients and other attorneys. I am grateful I had the opportunity to grow under the incredible supervision and mentorship of Jayashri and Lisa, and feel confident about my abilities as I begin my legal career.

Diana Sanchez, JD '20

My work with IRC has been meaningful and challenging. I had the opportunity to work with community partners to try to improve conditions for people who are fighting their immigration case from federal prison. I have been inspired by the grace and grit of the incarcerated people I've met, and increasingly motivated to use the legal skills I'm developing to work in solidarity with them.

Michaela Ross, JD '20

Alumni Reflections 3
Alumni Quotes 7
Participating in the IRC was by far the highlight of my time in law school. Not only do you get an incredible amount of personalized training and feedback from the professors, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that your work is having a real and immediate impact on someone’s life. I still think about my client and about how lucky I was to have worked with her and gotten to know her.

Nikki Marquez, '15, Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The highlight of my Immigrants’ Rights Clinic experience was appearing in Immigration Court — my first court appearance ever — to argue why removal proceedings against my client should be terminated. No trip to the podium since has been as nerve-wracking as that one; and having done it once, I was eager to do it again.

Brian Goldman, '10, Partner, Supreme Court & Appellate Practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Alumni Quotes
Alumni Quotes 4
The highlight of my time with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic was undoubtedly appearing with my client in immigration court to present her (successful!) claim for relief from removal. But in addition to that experience – my first opportunity for oral advocacy on behalf of a client – I gained so many practical skills that I now use every day in my legal practice. These range from basic skills like how to maintain a file and how to interact with a client to skills that I continue to work on seven years later, such as how to write persuasively with a specific decision-maker in mind.

Kavita Narayan, '08, Deputy County Counsel, Impact Litigation and Social Justice Section, Office of the County Counsel, County of Santa Clara

Alumni Quotes 6
The highlight of my Immigrants’ Rights Clinic experience was feeling like our Clinic team was able to positively impact our client’s life in a meaningful and lasting way. Through the course of a challenging cancellation of removal case, I not only honed valuable legal skills — including legal research and writing and preparing for witness and client interviews — but was also left feeling like I made a difference through my time in the Clinic, which has continued to drive my involvement in pro bono immigration work since my graduation from SLS.

Marcus Perkins, '12, Associate at Hayens & Boone in Dallas, TX

Immigrants' Rights Clinic - DRAFT 2 1
“Without question, I would not be the lawyer that I am today without having had the experience that I did in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Clinic helped me develop skills, experience, and confidence that I rely on every day, and I would definitely encourage every law student to enroll before leaving SLS. The best part of my experience in the clinic was building a relationship with our client. Sharing his hopes and dreams for the future and knowing that our representation was making a difference in his life were deeply rewarding.”

Lauren Tsuji, '14, Attorney at DLA Piper