Developing Even Stronger Work Relationships

As I mentioned last week, I had a wonderful interaction with a judge and that experience continued as I had another wonderful interaction with a judge this week – one of the advantages of working at an adjudication center where there are many judges with which to interact. With three weeks left of my internship, I feel as if I am making the connections I was hoping I would.

The fifth decision I have been working on is for a judge that really takes the time to sit down with the legal interns and Attorney Advisors to go over his opinions on the decisions we draft for him. I first spoke to the judge before I began to write a complete draft to touch base with him about where I was going. We appeared to be on the same page and had an hour and a half long conversation about the decision and about my undergrad and prior job experience, as well as my plans after graduation. I finished a draft of the decision for the judge on Tuesday and I submitted it to the judge – after going back and forth with my supervisor to make sure it was the best draft I could submit. The judge said it was an excellent decision. I could not believe that another judge appreciated my work – I continue to second guess my ability to write and analyze as I write more and more, as the decisions begin to overlap in my head.

My supervisor and the judge then set up a time to chat about the decision. We sat down to chat on Thursday – I began to work on my sixth decision in the meantime. The judge said that my decision was the equivalent of an immigration judge’s with how I had a handle on the law and organized the arguments – I could not believe what I was hearing; I have been really enjoying my internship; I can see myself doing something similar as a career; the judge’s comment made me even more confident that I am following the right career path for me. The judge did have one substantive change he asked me to make and a few minor changes to the different sections if I wanted to. It was very helpful to have such thorough feedback from a judge and to have his perspective on my writing as mentioned earlier, I often am unsure of my writing capabilities the more I write. We also talked about working at the EOIR in general, working at the EOIR as a law clerk, and a lunch the judge and my supervisor are taking me out to. The conversation lasted about three hours, hours which flew by. I made the changes we talked about the next day. I cannot wait to work on my sixth decision – an asylum application for relief where the respondent is from Guatemala – as it is a decision for one of his cases as well.

I also had a two-hour conversation with my supervisor this week. We spoke more about working at the EOIR and where law clerks go after they complete their two years at the EOIR. We spoke about my supervisor’s plans for the future as I am trying to figure out my path after graduation. We spoke about taking the Bar, particularly tips and tricks for succeeding. We lastly briefly spoke about what I have thought about my time at my internship. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my supervisor has been working remotely for much of my internship, so it was very enjoyable to be able to chat in person about various topics related to the law and a career in law – something I was hoping to be able to do since she began working remotely. 

As wonderful as this week, and the past two weeks, have been for making connections, and would be a great place to end my blog post here, I think it is even more interesting to end on the note that the fourth circuit, where the Richmond Immigration Adjudication Center is located, came out with a law changing decision a couple of weeks ago. The decision stated that any cases adjudicated by an immigration judge physically seated in the fourth circuit must use fourth circuit law. The particular issue with the decision is that many of the cases adjudicated at the Richmond Adjudication Center are not in the fourth circuit, specifically the first, third, and seventh circuits, which are not as lenient with immigration law as the fourth circuit. The Center is having a meeting next week to discuss exactly how to deal with the issue, which I will report on in my next blog post. It is so fascinating working in an area of law that is changing right before my eyes, while I am doing my internship.