Lina Arboleda, LLM ‘23

A Global Pathway to Immigration Law

With a desire to fully understand the US legal system, Lina Arboleda applied to the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University to pursue her LLM in Comparative Legal Studies. She shares that she was particularly impressed by a law school named after a woman. “Although environmental law is not on my radar now, I admire Elisabeth Haub’s environmental advocacy and philanthropic work. As a woman and Latina, I know how difficult it is for women to open paths and advocate for good causes,” said Lina. During her time at Haub Law, Lina appreciated the diversity at the Law School. “Haub Law embraces diversity; the students, professors, and administrative staff always made me feel welcome.”

Originally from Colombia, Lina did not always desire to be a lawyer. “My sister and I are the first generation in our entire family to pursue higher education,” said Lina. “In high school, I participated in different forums of social sciences, philosophy, and politics. We discussed different social issues, including the rights of affected communities, victims of forced displacement and civil war. At that moment, I knew I was curious about how the legal system worked in my country and how the law could be used to protect these communities. This curiosity and desire to learn how to use the law to benefit affected or vulnerable populations, led me to study law at the Universidad de Medellín.”

Today, Lina is a staff attorney at Lutheran Social Services of New York where she helps provide Pro Se immigration legal information sessions, including but not limited to Know Your Rights, Employment Authorization Documents, Temporary Protected Status, and Asylum. “Additionally, we provide consultations, limited representation and legal clinics to asylum seekers and arrivals. I’m responsible for training and supervising the work of the paralegals, and for coordinating logistics and pre-screenings, so the information sessions and clinics run smoothly.”

Lina is passionate about the areas of real estate and immigration law. Previously, she worked as a paralegal in a law firm where she was part of negotiations with other attorneys, banks, developers, and investors. It was this experience that revived her desire to practice law and learn more about the US legal system. “However, although I’m still passionate about real estate, I decided to transition into immigration law,” said Lina. “I feel that as an immigrant, it is an area of law where I can contribute the most with the use of my bilingual skills and at the same time, be consistent with my initial desire to use the law to benefit affected or vulnerable populations.”

During her time at Haub Law, Lina’s favorite experiences included meeting people from all over the world. “I believe that diversity brings with it other perspectives and ways of looking at life that we are not otherwise aware of. I was amazed to see the preparation, high-level skills, and integrity that these lawyers bring from their countries.” After graduating in 2023, Lina was able to ultimately fulfill her goal of better understanding the US legal system.

“I would absolutely encourage others to pursue their LLM at Haub Law. Whether you want to practice law here or not, it is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge, learn about new cultures, and share your legal experience with others.”