Pamela Guerrero '22

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow

A first-generation US Citizen, Pamela Guerrero entered law school with a passion for immigration law. Throughout law school, she followed that passion by participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. Now, a 3L, after the bar exam, Pamela is set to follow her dreams as she was awarded a prestigious Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship.  Learn more about Pamela, her background, her experience with Haub Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic, and more in this Q&A.

Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about your background and how you chose Haub Law.

I am a first-gen US citizen from Dominican parents who originally moved to Washington Heights, Bronx, New York, but then settled in Westchester. My parents are both professionals (administrators in education), but neither of them ever served as lawyers in this country so I am also a first-gen law student. As a child, I had the rare opportunity of attending the first public Montessori School in Yonkers, NY and then went on to double major in Political Science/International Studies and minor in Spanish at Manhattanville College. I graduated from my undergraduate program a semester early and immediately started at Haub Law as a January admit. I came to law school, because I learned of many socioeconomic inequities in the US while attending undergraduate school and wanted to be in an advocacy position to be able to address these issues. I was especially concerned with the immigration system in this country and wanted to become an immigration lawyer to provide newly arrived children and adolescents with the protection they need to thrive in the US. Geographically, Pace was the perfect place for me and I saw it as a place with diverse learning opportunities.

You mentioned, immigration law as an interest of yours, are there any other areas you have developed an interest in?

Yes, International Law and Health Law.

You are now a 3L, thinking back, which experiences at Haub Law have stuck with you?

Participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. The Clinic has challenged me by making me learn how to do all the practical tasks of lawyering (such as maintaining client files and setting appointments) on top of the usual lawyer tasks related to client representation. It has also made me intellectually engage with other immigration lawyers within NYS and actively question the purpose of many immigration laws. The pandemic may have limited the contact I could have had with clients, but I have still been able to prep clients for hearings and learn how to establish rapport with potential clients. Finally, the clinic has provided me with a community of students that are interested in doing the best pro bono work possible and this has encouraged me to improve myself as a person and as a legal advocate. 

Along the same lines, which professors have had an impact on you?

Professor Smita Narula and Professor Vanessa Merton have made an impact on me. Seeing their passion in their work firsthand is inspiring and serves as a continuous reminder that there are lawyers who strive to work toward better for the clients that they serve. Both professors are also very research-oriented, which has taught me that being a lawyer can also mean being a student for life and that is a good thing. 

Which student organizations are you involved in on campus?

I am an E-Board member for the NLG – Pace Chapter. I am also president of the International Law Society. My participation in campus activities has allowed me to engage with many members of the Haub Law community and contribute to the excellent camaraderie that was already there. Just because we are in law school, studying and working hard a lot, doesn't mean we can't have exciting events that create great memories.

What does justice mean to you?

To me justice means that everyone is provided with the resources they need to thrive in their country and that no one person or group of people is left behind. We normally touch on equality when discussing justice, but what is really needed is equity because not everyone has the same socioeconomic needs. Instead of striving to make everyone equal we must simply do better and allow every difference to be accounted for in any conversation related to societal improvement. Thus to me justice is essentially equity and encouraging support for people/groups that have been traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of law school?

I enjoy hiking on local trails and doing some urban exploring in NYC. The harder the trail is the better it tends to be (Bear Mountain is one of my favorites for hiking due to distance and challenge). As for urban exploration, I keep all the places in NYC that I hear about saved on my google maps and then take a day to visit all the doable places. I tend to find a lot of rare food places like an ice cream place that does ice cream towers in a jar or unique hobby places. I also tend to frequent The Strand, a very large bookstore in lower NYC. I also enjoy traveling outside of New York and have been to Chile, Switzerland, France, Canada, and other far-flung places.

What are your plans after law school?

I was awarded an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship and received a post-graduation immigration law placement with The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before I leave, I plan to study for and take the NY Bar exam and perhaps hike the Catskills one last time.