Recently, Attorney Susham Modi spoke on several panels at Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. A graduate of Penn State Law School, Attorney Modi participated in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic back in 2008, so it was an honor for him to return today and share his valuable insight into practicing immigration law in our current political climate.
Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
Penn State Law School’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is a highly regarded training opportunity for law students, as well as a valuable resource for immigration law issues. Students at the clinic produce white papers, practitioner toolkits, and primers for institutional clinics based in Washington, D.C. and all over America. Some of the highly respected organizations the clinic as worked for include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (AIC), Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).
Students at the clinic are expected to participate in community education and outreach programs, and to assist in providing legal support for immigrants challenging deportation or seeking protection. Since 2016, the clinic has helped over 500 families and panels with their immigration needs.
As Attorney Modi and the other speakers recently talked about at the clinic, now is a particularly fraught time for immigration in America. One of the panels focused on humanitarian relief in immigration law during the Trump administration. The number of immigrants who suffer mistreatment and end up with PTSD has always been alarming. But in our current political landscape, the number may be rising to epidemic proportions. This is why the work that the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic does is so valuable, and why Attorney Modi continues to devote his career to immigration law today. Specifically, Attorney Modi discussed the recent changes to Temporary Protected Status from people in several countries including Sudan, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and others. He also discussed the recent changes to asylum law as well as changes to applications for change of status from student visas.
A Career in Law
The other panel at the Center for Immigration Rights’ Clinic that Attorney Modi was fortunate enough to participate in focused on what happens after law school, and how one actually achieves a career in immigration law. Attorney Modi was immediately thankful for the clinic, and for the way it launched him on his current career path. “It’s a small amount of people who know who’s good and who isn’t,” he said. “Where you work, even if it’s a summer gig, I want you to really take it seriously, and know that the people who are in the field who are good at what they do, they know all the other great ones. Mentors are everything.”
He went on to thank his former professor and clinic director Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia for encouraging him to pursue immigration law years ago. “Everything you do is just going to build your skillset,” she said. “It’s not going to take away from you. You actually just learn more by doing more.”
Attorney Modi also spoke on the necessity for aspiring lawyers to make connections outside of law school and talk to professionals in their local community. “I love immigration law, I love asylum law, and I love the difference our team is able to make,” he said. “People are willing to share that with you, if you just be a little active. Email people, say ‘I’m a law student here in town…’ I think people will mostly take you up on that.”
For Attorney Modi, one of the most important lessons was focusing less on the expected career path of a lawyer and more on what you want your law career to be. “Law school pigeonholes you in a way where you want to do law review, get the prestige on your resume… and then if you get the opportunity, work for the biggest law firm that you can,” he elaborated. “What you’re really going to be good at is what you love to do. So money will come with it, don’t go just work for the money.”
He also emphasized the importance of working hard when you get out of law school so you can slow down later in your career. “I think you’ve got to put in your dues at the beginning, but when you get towards the middle of your career or even towards the latter part of your career, you’ve got to start making that work/life balance,” Attorney Modi stated. “Because it will catch up to your health, and then you won’t be able to help as many people.”
Contact The Modi Law Firm, PLLC for Your Immigration Law Needs
Here at The Modi Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that immigration law can be complicated. That’s why our skilled Houston immigration lawyers are here to help. If you look at our case results, you will see how effective we have been in Houston and the surrounding community. From deportation to citizenship, our skilled immigration attorneys’ mission is to fight for your rights.
Call The Modi Law Firm, PLLC at (832) 514-4030 or contact us online for immigration law assistance in Houston today.