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IPC Alumni Statements - What They Are Saying

Image of Alvaro A. Manrique Barrenechea LLM'19Being part of the Vanderbilt Immigration Practice Clinic was an enriching experience both academically and interpersonally. Balancing the time between studying and working on client's cases proved to be very challenging. As a student attorney you will be applying multiple skills learned throughout law school like researching and interpreting law, but more importantly, you will get the experience of working for a real client. For me personally, it allowed me to apply the legal theory and create a positive impact in the clients I had the privilege to work with.

Alvaro A. Manrique Barrenechea LLM'19

Assistant Director of Education & Outreach
TN Justice for Our Neighbors


Hope A. Watson

"Serving as a student attorney in the Immigration Practice Clinic developed me as an advocate in ways no other academic experience has. At a time in America when immigration issues are more salient than ever, it was both enlightening and humbling to learn about the real lives impacted by the policies of this administration. The most significant part of the experience was learning to create a culture within the attorney-client relationship that made a deeper understanding of the client’s story, hopes, and concerns possible. It was empowering that, through Professor McKanders’ guidance, I was able to understand the complexities of the immigration system and leverage that understanding for the benefit of my clients. To know I played a role in advancing my clients’ movement toward a secure, stable, fulfilling life in the United States, is truly an honor of a lifetime."

Hope A. Watson '21





Michael Tackeoff


Working in the Immigration Clinic lent me valuable perspective on how to apply theoretical legal frameworks to active and difficult cases. Working with a real client was one of the most complex and rewarding challenges of law school, and it correspondingly meant a lot to know that our work was directly serving a young man trying to build a new home in the United States. The Clinic made me a better communicator and a better thinker. 


Michael Tackeff '18

Law Clerk
Judge Gilbert Merritt '60
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Samuel Jolly

"While I never worked harder in law school than in the Immigration Clinic, I believe that everyone who has an opportunity to participate in a clinic like this should do so. Regardless of where my career takes me, the Clinic helped me develop important clinical skills like building client relationships, comfort in public speaking, working on strict deadlines, and collaborating with a team to accomplish legal tasks, a skill that is not really trained anywhere else in law school. I also quickly broadened my knowledge in the area of immigration law, and feel vastly more confident that I will be a better and more productive advocate for the rights and interests of any immigration clients I will undoubtedly work with in the future."


Samuel Jolly '18


Emily Reid"Serving as a student attorney with the Immigration Clinic was by far my most rewarding experience at Vanderbilt Law School. The highlight of my work with the clinic was giving my very first oral argument on behalf of a client during an asylum hearing. I was elated to find out that our client had won his case and that he would no longer have to live in fear of returning to his home country where he had been persecuted. The legal skills, knowledge, and confidence that I gained from this experience prepared me to better represent clients from all of the world in the Advanced Immigration Clinic."  

Emily Reid '18


John Kim

I really enjoyed my time working with Professor McKanders at the immigration clinic this summer. I was allowed hands-on experience with numerous asylum cases and was given substantive legal research and writing projects. More importantly, the clinic also allowed me to experience and learn from the impact the current administration’s policies had on immigration and asylum law in real time.



John Kim '20

IPC summer intern (2018)