SWLAW Blog | Diversity

Image - Legal Clinic Leader Brianna Abrego

February 28, 2020

Legal Clinic Leaders Series - 3L Brianna Abrego

We're shining a spotlight on the students who work directly with and in the community. These students provide quality legal representation to under-served individuals and communities. They showcase the many different fields of law you can explore through the legal clinics and the wide range of opportunities available to students to gain practical lawyering skills.  We hope their experiences will inspire YOU to join a legal clinic. 

Meet 3L Brianna Abrego

Brianna Abrego

Immigration Law Clinic, Spring 2019

Why did you decide to participate in a clinic?

I was searching for the opportunity to gain work experience, particularly in immigration law. 

What stands out about your clinic experience?

What stands out most to me about my time in the Immigration Clinic is how much you learn about managing clients, especially clients that have been through very serious trauma. Working closely with my clients was by far the best part of the entire clinic experience. 

What skills and knowledge did you learn from your clinic experience?

I learned the substantive law of various humanitarian based visas and the basics of working with a client, in particular, clients that have experienced trauma. Those skills include interviewing, legal research and writing, and most importantly, relaying to a client the progress of their case so that they can understand it and the possible results. 

What do you think helped take you from student to advocate?

What helped me move from student to advocate was the support of Prof. Ramos. She did a great job preparing us in class through demonstrations and practice before our client meetings. This ensured we were ready and prepared to take charge of all interactions with our clients as an advocate should be. 

The constant practice of meeting with our clients and conducting further interviews throughout the semester made it so that I always felt comfortable interviewing a client in later job placements.

What words of advice would you have for future clinic students?

I would advise future clinic students to make sure they are ready to make a substantial time commitment to working on their client's cases. 

I would also advise them to be prepared to have a great time because the students, faculty, and staff that choose to work in any of the clinics at Southwestern are exceptional. Not to mention, the clients we were able to help and interact with taught me something new each and every meeting. It was great!

Please provide an inspiring anecdote from your clinical work experience.

My favorite moment was my final meeting with my U-Visa client. I was able to tell her that her application had been completed and that we would no longer need to probe her for more information on some of the hardest experiences of her life. The look of relief on her face and her kind words thanking us for working so hard to give her the strongest case possible made all of the late nights in the clinic more than worth it.

Interested in learning more about the legal clinics? Join us at our info session on March 26th, 2020 in W311 or visit our website here.