I mean, let’s start here: Probably you don't, actually.
But if you’re still reading: You want advice on how to get into (and survive) #immigrationlaw, and I’m here for that.
Here’s all of it.
Writing is my first & best skill as a lawyer. From one-line emails to Supreme Court briefs, it's a craft--and one you owe it to yourself and your future clients to master. This is not optional.
It is theoretically possible to be a great lawyer and a mediocre writer, but you shouldn't settle for that. Do the work now.
Learn how to tune everything else out & get into the “zone” that defines a writer.
Develop and stick to a writing routine as an undergrad that you can use for life.
Many top schools aren’t actually so good at this. Don’t go to them. Look for a place like @NUSL, where the co-op program will get you into the real world and set you up for a job. This is a relentlessly practical field.
(a) a small imm. law office (where most of us are)
(b) a non-profit and/or
(c ) a court/govt agency (#Immigrationcourts are an ideal clerkship)
(Ideally, one of each)
I wish I had been able to. Real experience working with real clients before graduation--even so far as going to court for them--will be invaluable and help you transition from student to practitioner.
If you don’t already have symptoms of depression and anxiety, that’s one of many gifts this job will have waiting for you. Get evaluated during law school to see where you might be at risk. Get a prescription now if you need it.
So, so important. And I don’t just mean “do yoga” or whatever (although, sure).
If you *know* you have MH issues, actively address and learn how to function with them NOW or you'll be taking them on for the first time under extreme stress.
OK, this one is wicked hypocritical. Maybe its just me, but the temptation to stress-eat as an immigration lawyer is constant.
Find & love healthy snacks. Learn to cook a reliable menu of healthy meals. Pack and bring healthy food with you.
Seriously, you'll need 'em.
I'd avoid hard drugs, gambling, & unsafe sex, but plenty of good options short of that: wine, video games, whiskey, cannabis, going to shows--learn to get out of your head for a few hours w/o risking your responsibilities
If you are at risk for alcohol abuse, address that NOW and start your career sober.
If cannabis is more your jam, learn what strains spark your brain & which will get you relaxed & ready for bed. (Speaking of: learn & practice enthusiastic consent)
I know, I just said to avoid gambling--you're going to be,l to some degree, doing it every day in your career--but there's a lot you can learn from poker, from holding your face steady under stress to knowing when to fold 'em.
Then go to bed, consider your answer as you’re going to sleep, and ask yourself again in the morning.
Terrible analogy, but it's kinda like becoming a vet because you "like animals." You’re going to have to watch immigrants suffer, badly & often in ways that you can’t do a thing about. Every day. Maybe for the rest of your life.
Because that's not really going to be an option, at least outside of Twitter or in your car on the way to court. You are going to have to work with and inside it, no matter how much you'll want to burn it down.
You're going to need all the support you can get, every day. Polyamory and other non-monogamous relationships have worked well for many of us. Co-ops and other collective housing are good too, especially if you want kids
Find a way to connect with local immigration attorneys. (We're easily plied with free drinks.) Unlike most lawyers, we all want more of us out there--and we all want you to succeed.
Also happy to open the floor to questions, here or via DM.
areas will pose as much of a challenge to your mental health. (That & I'm really not qualified to advise on any other field anyway)
I nearly forgot this one, probably because I'm so sleep-deprived from my week.
There will be a lot of things keeping you awake. Develop good sleep hygiene now--no screens within an hour of bed, quiet/calming environment, etc--and try to stick to it