Students connect with alumni mentors in the immigrant rights and human trafficking fields.
On October 19, the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program (IRHTP) held a breakfast to kick off its new Mentorship Program. Current students were connected with BU Law alumni mentors in the immigrant rights and human trafficking fields. The event also acknowledged the work of two distinguished alums, Martha Coakley (’79) and Iris Gomez (’80), both of whom spoke at the event.
“Working hard in the pursuit of justice can be challenging, especially as a 2L and 3L, when students are also balancing law review, moot court, and job searches,” says IRHTP Director and Clinical Associate Professor Julie Dahlstrom. “The impetus for the mentorship program is to take a moment for students to remember that there are truly rewarding career paths ahead of them.”
The breakfast was a launch of the first mentorship program for the new Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program. Several alumni volunteered to participate in the program—many graduated from the BU Law clinical programs and now work in a range of organizations such as Central West Justice Center, National Immigrant Justice Center, the Boston Immigration Court, Department of Justice, small and large firms, the Board of Veterans Appeals, the Suffolk DA’s Office, and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project.
“BU law students are fortunate to have access to the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, since it gives them training on how lawyers can provide zealous and holistic representation to noncitizen and survivors of human trafficking,” says Iris Gomez (’80), staff attorney at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. “This work is so important now, when immigrant communities are increasingly feeling vulnerable and under threat in the current federal policy environment.”
The mentorship program is a new initiative to connect current students enrolled in the IRHTP with BU Law alumni. The goal is to allow current students to meet and engage with attorneys and leaders in the immigrant and human trafficking fields. The collaboration is designed to help students build skills, find post-graduation positions, and learn from successful lawyers on how to build a positive career.
“It was the idea of the IRHTP faculty to improve support and mentorship available to clinic students,” says Professor Dahlstrom. “This partnership helps students learn more about potential career paths, about how to become an effective lawyer, and about the many ways to lawyer in these fields.”
Students participating in the IRHTP filled out an online survey indicating their interests, which was then used to match them to the volunteered alumni, who also filled out an interest-based survey. Students and alumni were connected via email, and were asked to attend the kickoff breakfast where they could meet.
“BU Law School’s clinic provides needed advocacy for those who need a voice in the justice system, and paves the way for changes needed in that system to better protect victims and civil rights in the future,” says former Attorney General of Massachusetts Martha Coakley (’79). “The mentoring provided for the students is a crucial piece of their education.”
Reported by Natalie Carroll (COM’19)
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