Pathways To The Profession: Adam Garnick L’21

Garnick worked for the Dilley Pro Bono Project, which provides legal assistance to thousands of women and children detained at a family detention center in Dilley, TX.

Adam Garnick L’21 is a 2L from Philadelphia and earned a bachelor’s degree  from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. He is the current co-director of the Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project (PLIRP).

My passion for immigration law first developed while I was teaching in a predominately-immigrant community in Dallas, Texas before law school. Although I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the classroom as a student during 1L, I was looking forward to finally having a summer devoted to doing immigration legal work using the skills I acquired during my 1L year.

For the first two weeks of the summer, the indefatigable Professor Fernando Chang-Muy and I went to Honduras to give “Know Your Rights” presentations across the country. We spoke in seven cities, explaining the basics of immigration and asylum law to hundreds of Hondurans including professors at the country’s largest university, firefighters in a tiny beach town, and non-profit leaders. Beyond transmitting information, we also did a deep dive into both the factors pushing people away from the country as well as those pulling people to the United States.

Our project in Honduras greatly informed the work I am doing at my main internship, which is in Dilley, Texas. Dilley, a town of around 4,000 people, is home to the largest family detention center in the country. I am fortunate to be working for the Dilley Pro Bono Project (formerly CARA), which provides legal assistance to the thousands of women and children detained here.

As a legal intern, I am principally tasked with preparing women for their Credible Fear Interview (CFI) before an asylum officer. I also give Know Your Rights presentations, similar to those we did in Honduras, to orient families as to the confusing asylum process and their rights therein. I am also currently preparing a brief and oral argument to give to an Immigration Judge after an asylum officer gave our client a negative in the CFI.

Although it has been emotionally taxing to hear about the profound personal tragedies of these incredible women all while working within a system that seems designed to compound their suffering, I have found the work remarkably rewarding. Our clients are so kind and appreciative, and above all, the full-time staff and lawyers here are endlessly inspiring – they are like legal super-heroes, providing interns and volunteers with creative legal strategies and theories from a packed cubicle day in and day out.

My experiences at Penn Law have already prepared me well for real-life work as a lawyer. Legal Practice Skills (LPS) has served me well in helping me distill profoundly confusing legal concepts down to comprehensible information I can convey to clients. My doctrinal professors helped me cultivate an ability to think on my feet and give a clear and concise answer to difficult questions. Finally, my pro bono work with the Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project (PLIRP) and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) laid a great foundation for my positively interacting with clients, especially in a second language.

I am so thankful for all the support the law school has given me in helping me put this immersive summer together. I am very excited to return for my 2L year and deepen my knowledge and impact in the ever-evolving field of immigration law.

Supporting Stories

Genevieve Tung Paves Path For The Future of Legal Research Education

Genevieve Tung Paves Path For The Future of Legal Research Education

Tung and the Biddle Library staff are working to position the Law School’s legal research curriculum and the general role of the library for the future.

stories
Second-Year Law Students Publish ‘Black Women Future Leaders’ Report

Second-Year Law Students Publish ‘Black Women Future Leaders’ Report

The report was developed as part of Rangita de Silva de Alwis’s “Women, Law, and Leadership” course at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

stories
Virtual LLM Recruiting Brings Law School To New Applicant Pools

Virtual LLM Recruiting Brings Law School To New Applicant Pools

Conducting all recruiting virtually meant that the Law School has been able to find new applicant pools in Latin America and Africa.

stories
Genevieve Tung Paves Path For The Future of Legal Research Education

Genevieve Tung Paves Path For The Future of Legal Research Education

Tung and the Biddle Library staff are working to position the Law School’s legal research curriculum and the general role of the library for the future.

>stories
Second-Year Law Students Publish ‘Black Women Future Leaders’ Report

Second-Year Law Students Publish ‘Black Women Future Leaders’ Report

The report was developed as part of Rangita de Silva de Alwis’s “Women, Law, and Leadership” course at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

>stories
Virtual LLM Recruiting Brings Law School To New Applicant Pools

Virtual LLM Recruiting Brings Law School To New Applicant Pools

Conducting all recruiting virtually meant that the Law School has been able to find new applicant pools in Latin America and Africa.

>stories