Immigration Clinic Helps Client Become US Citizen

“I was very excited to learn the outcome of this case,” comments Immigration Clinic legal intern Laura Supanich. “It’s the greatest feeling when we’re able to help our clients and make positive changes in their lives. The client was so thankful for our services in helping her become a US citizen and it’s very rewarding knowing that I took part in that experience.”


Photo credit: Lynn Fennell, Flickr Creative Commons License.

As a legal intern for the Immigration Clinic, Supanich assisted a client in the process of filing for citizenship under the supervision of Immigration Clinic Supervising Attorney Sandra Wagner. Overwhelmed by the paperwork, the client didn’t know where to begin. She scheduled an appointment with the Legal Clinics, who helped her through the naturalization process.

“I had the client’s case from start to finish,” describes Supanich. “I opened her file as an intake, and I was able to interview her to identify the issues and analyze her case. I then assembled her entire naturalization application and prepared her for her interview. This process helped me apply my legal education because I was able to work on a case from beginning to end, analyze problems, and gain experience working directly with a client.”

Answering all of the client’s questions, and researching those she didn’t know the answers to, Supanich explained the process step by step to the client. She also counseled the client to study for her test, and filed the documents on her behalf.

“I received the most support from my supervising attorney, Sandra Wagner,” comments Supanich. “She allowed me to complete the work on my own while leading me in the right direction and reviewing my work once it was completed.”

“After Laura did the initial intake, she and other interns discussed the client’s immigration goals, issues and options with my guidance as part of our clinic class,” describes Professor Wagner. “During the class, we discussed the process and procedure for naturalization and documentation needed. I also discussed the case on an ongoing basis with the student. I reviewed and commented on client correspondence and email as well as the naturalization application and cover letter. In addition, I met with the both client and student intern and assisted the intern in conducting the client’s preparation for the naturalization interview.”

“We believe in the importance of individualized training for our interns, and this case is a perfect example of that,” says the Legal Clinic’s Faculty Director, Margaret Dalton. “We are an academic setting that operates as a real life law office. We have professors who are experts in their field and practicing attorneys at the same time, and that’s the ideal for experiential education such as our clinical program at USD School of Law. We train our interns – 122 last calendar year – and also give back to the San Diego community. It is so rewarding to be part of such meaningful work,” she adds.

The client reported back to the Immigration Clinic that the interview went smoothly, and she attributed it to the fact that the Legal Clinics had done a great job not only in getting all the necessary documents ready but also in helping her to prepare. The client recently received her letter to appear at a Naturalization Oath Ceremony to complete the naturalization process.

“I’m very pleased that the immigration clinic was able to assist the client and that this successful outcome will have an impact on her life,” adds Wagner.

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