The Attorney General’s Honors Fellow works for greater social justice at the immigration court in San Antonio, TX.
A Boston University School of Law education can take a lawyer many places. For Corrylee Drozda (’16), it brought her to San Antonio, Texas, where she serves as a judicial law clerk for the Executive Office for Immigration Review as part of the Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Program. Drozda’s main responsibilities involve drafting written decisions for immigration judges, as well as preparing memos and research for the immigration court.
As an undergraduate in international studies at Miami University, Drozda approached international human rights and economic issues from various perspectives. Wanting to help immigrants seeking refuge in the US and also advocate for policies that would curtail violence in war and poverty-stricken countries, Drozda realized that a career in immigration law would allow her to have a direct impact.
“I think these interests helped me realize that immigration law would be a really great way to make a difference through direct service by representing people,” Drozda says, “but also give me the tools, knowledge and resources to focus on advocacy and policies that can hopefully improve situations in those countries.”
Drozda volunteered as an immigration counselor at Catholic Migration Services in Queens, New York for a year before beginning at BU Law, assisting immigrants with filing affirmative applications for different types of immigration benefits or lawful immigration status.
“The experience at Catholic Migration Services really directed me to apply for law school,” she says. “Because of that, I knew that a law school with a lot of clinical options was going to be something that was important to me.”
Coming into BU Law as a Public Interest Scholar, Drozda was determined to find ways to work toward greater social justice through the law, and was able to pursue this through unique opportunities available to BU Law students. In her 1L year, she volunteered over spring break with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBar), providing pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained by the US government. She also worked on BU Law’s International Law Journal, where the legal writing and research she worked on has been “extremely helpful and directly applicable to the work that I’m doing now.”
As a 2L, she participated in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC), working on an unaccompanied minor case, and helping her client successfully apply for a green card. As a student attorney and research assistant with the IRC, Drozda gained hands-on experience in fields such as asylum law—an area in which she works heavily with the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
“Just being able to see all components from start to finish I think really gave me valuable experience as a law student,” she says. “It’s an area of immigration that I now feel very passionately about and being able to actually represent asylum seekers was a huge benefit of the clinic.”
At the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Drozda now works on a variety of immigrant cases that intersect with asylum law, many involving newly arrived immigrant families and unaccompanied minors, due to the proximity of Texas to the Mexican border.
“I think it offers a really unique opportunity to see aspects of immigration law and issues that would be really different from other immigration courts, such as in Boston or New York,” she says.
Going forward, Drozda plans to keep her focus on public interest law and using her legal training to directly represent immigrants in asylum cases. If she can make an impact on the lives of vulnerable people, it will be a step toward making a difference in society. And that’s exactly what she is doing: “Success to me is feeling fulfilled with the type of work that I’m doing in my career.”