Brian Zaid, a lawyer for The Sam
Bernstein Law Firm and former law clerk for the University of Detroit Mercy Law
School’s Immigration and Asylum Clinic, has been pretty happy with his life
In 2003, he received his bachelor’s
degree in business administration from Oakland University.
Afterwards, he decided he wanted to
go to law school, and attended the University of Detroit Law School.
There, he discovered the type of law
he was interested in pursuing.
This was immigration and
naturalization law, and it all came thanks to his experience in the school’s
immigration and asylum clinic.
“It was very helpful to my
understanding of what it meant to be a lawyer,” Zaid said. He said he was able
to get experience in the court room, and deal with clients face to face.
Zaid explained how the clinic
“People request asylum because of
different beliefs,” Zaid said. He said that he was able to understand as the
son of immigrants himself.
This is where his interest grew out
“It grew out as a result of my
families overseas,” Zaid said.
The clinic also covers other issues
“Some are in removal proceedings,”
David Koelsch, assistant professor at the law school, said. He said that some
are also in the process of maintaining permanent legal residence, and that some
are victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The clinic allows students to gain
hands-on experience in the court room.
“Students represent clients before
the U.S. Immigration Court,” the description of the immigration clinic on the
law school’s website said. It said that the students also participate in cases
before the Department of Homeland Security.
Not only do students gain court room
experience, they gain another kind of experience as well.
“The students write briefs to the
Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the sixth
circuit,” said the law school website. It said that it allows students to deal
with attorney-client relationships, ethics, and case strategy.
The clinic is usually successful
with the services provided.
“Very but that’s not always the most
important factor,” Koelsch said. He said that is because they take on cases
that are cutting edge, and involve novel legal theories.
In being successful, the clinic
completes its two goals.
“Service to the community and a
unique pedagogical experience for our law students as they transition to the
practice of law [are its goals],” Koelsch said.
Beyond that, Koelsch remembers why
he became involved in the first place.
Like Zaid, he finds it
intellectually stimulating but also sees the need to help others that Zaid
carries over from his experience with his immigrant parents and his families