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Immigration Law: Is it for you?

Published March 6, 2019

Like climate change, immigration law is another area of practice that will always have high demand. Like all areas of law, immigration law requires an unparalleled amount of research and expertise in constantly changing policies. However, it can be very rewarding.

As an immigration lawyer you’ll play a key role in enabling immigrants to live and work in the United States. You’ll guide them through the process of obtaining a green card, work visa, earning citizenship, or even gaining political asylum. You can also expect to defend undocumented immigrants to try and help them gain natural citizenship in the United States. In many cases a lawyer has a huge impact on the decision of someone being deported.

Much like all areas of practice, if you choose to practice immigration law, you will have the daily tasks of meeting with clients, researching cases, writing motions, and arguing cases in court.

Why Immigration Law?

It is rewarding

As an immigration lawyer you will interact with people from all over the world on a daily basis. Each situation is unique and your clients are relying on you. They will typically be coming to the United States for work purposes, family purposes, or are in the United States and want to remain here, avoiding deportation.

You will get to know your clients and their stories. Also, you’ll play a crucial role in their ability to reside in the United States, whether it is for work or for family. The goal of all lawyers is to advocate for clients and assure they are afforded due process as best as they can, but within immigration law, you play a major role in someone’s ability to pursue their dreams in the United States.

It is always changing

Practicing Immigration is rewarding because it is challenging and ever-changing. Depending on the political climate or world events, there may be major shifts in immigration law policy. This requires Immigration lawyers to be up-to-date on current events and the implications of those current events on different populations. There is a growing need for immigration lawyers, not only to represent clients, but to also dispel misconceptions and myths about immigration. Immigration law can be very complicated and it has been noted there are a growing number of people who can benefit from seeking legal counsel with their immigration issues. In addition to private practice there are other opportunities to aid these individuals through non-profit or pro-bono work.

UB School of Law recently launched the U.S.-Mexico Border Clinic  where students completed two weeks of intensive study in refugee and asylum law and practice followed by one week in the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas representing asylum seekers. They are also involved in other immigration cases, including one recently covered by The Intercept. This goes to show that even as a student, you can make a difference and learn what it takes to be an Immigration lawyers. 

Some things will be beyond your control

You can’t win them all. Immigration law revolves around people and their futures. You’ll interact with your clients often and will get to know them, their families, and their stories. It’s easy to become emotionally invested and personally impacted by what happens to them. It takes many years of experience to balance your emotions with the legal outcomes of each case. 


Amber Melvin, Esq.'13 is the Assistant Director of Admissions at UB School of Law. 


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