Immigration Clinic Student Spotlight: Samuel Patterson III ’25

Students in the Immigration Practice Clinic defend clients against deportation in court and engage in advocacy in partnership with local and national immigrants’ rights organizations. Below, Samuel Patterson III ’25 shares his experience in the clinic.

Participating in Vanderbilt’s Immigration Law Clinic extended the unique opportunity to engage in an area of law practice that resonates deeply with the needs and challenges of our times. Immigration Law is extraordinarily relevant and constantly evolving. Under the guidance of Professor Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea LLM’19, the clinic balanced these dynamics by encouraging a client-focused culture that also enhanced our fundamental professional skills, namely adaptability and efficient communication.

A pivotal moment of the semester was our trip to Bass, Berry & Sims, where we spoke with the executive chairperson of their pro bono program. This visit highlighted the importance of integrating immigration matters into our pro bono work after graduation. It illustrated ways, even as associates, we could take the initiative and actively contribute to addressing the needs of underserved individuals facing immigration issues.

I highly encourage my colleagues to take part in this clinic, as it offers an exceptional chance to develop practical legal skills and gain exposure to real-world issues. I found the complexity of immigration practice particularly intriguing, as it closely resembles the multifaceted challenges I often encountered as a summer associate at a corporate law firm. The hands-on experience I gained at the Immigration Law Clinic, under expert guidance, was unparalleled. Regardless of whether you plan to specialize in immigration law, the knowledge and skills acquired are universally applicable across any chosen field of practice.