Christina Zuba Reflects on Summer at HIRC

By Christina Zuba, 2015 Cleary Gottlieb Summer Fellow

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Christina Zuba, HLS ’16

I am unbelievably grateful for the time I spent working as the Cleary Gottlieb Summer Fellow at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).  Throughout my summer at HIRC, I was challenged daily and learned so much about immigration law, the provision of legal services, and myself.  I was so fortunate to be supervised by incredibly talented, supportive, and helpful people who genuinely care about their work and about teaching students to be compassionate and effective lawyers.  Professor Deborah Anker, Sabi Ardalan, Phil Torrey, and Maggie Morgan all served as wonderful role models and mentors, and I cannot imagine a better group of people to have supervised me.

During my time at HIRC I represented clients in various stages of their asylum and immigration processes.  I was able to develop and strengthen many important skills through working at HIRC while seeing clearly that I was truly making a difference in the lives of my clients.  In my first two weeks at HIRC I presented at two master calendar hearings, which is something I had not had the opportunity to do previously.  I formed strong relationships with wonderful and resilient individuals seeking asylum, and I interviewed them many times throughout the summer in order to develop their cases and file their applications.  These interviews were often difficult and incredibly moving, and they had an immeasurable impact on me.  I learned to write affidavits effectively for my clients, being sure to make a strong case and include all the necessary legal elements while still maintaining the client’s unique voice.  In addition to various other assignments, I assisted clients in their applications for work authorization and legal permanent residence.

I cannot put into words how fortunate I feel to have spent my summer at HIRC and to have had the opportunity to work with such inspiring clients and welcoming and passionate supervisors.  These experiences will remain with me for not only the rest of my career but also the rest of my life.  Thank you so much to the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic staff for giving me this opportunity and for encouraging, guiding, and teaching me every day.