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Law student discovers passion for immigration law at TU

As a young adult, Alec Bracken knew that he wanted a career helping those who couldn’t help themselves. He chose the study of law and moved his family to Tulsa from Utah to attend The University of Tulsa College of Law. In his first year, he discovered his passion for immigration law and has recently accepted a summer fellowship with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HRIC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“I am the type of person who likes to do everything I can to fix problems. When I watched a team of doctors help my hospitalized wife and daughter several years ago, I saw that they were doing things I couldn’t because of their advanced education. It was then that I realized I wanted to go back to school to learn how I could help others too, and that ultimately led me to the field of law,” said Bracken.

When it came time to research and select a law school, Bracken chose TU Law for its immigration law opportunities. “I quickly learned that the group of people most in need of help in this country were undocumented immigrants,” Bracken said. “When I learned that TU operated an immigration clinic where I could learn and help people at the same time, I knew it was the right place for me.”

“TU Law is a small school with big opportunities.”

Now in his second year of law school, Bracken has become a leader in immigration-related law organizations and activities. He has worked at the Immigrant Rights Project — a one-semester, six-credit clinical educational program and the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network — a legal incubator providing clients with direct representation in immigration proceedings. He also founded TU’s first immigration law society, immLAW.

immLAW, one of TU’s largest student organizations with 80 members, has given more than 200 hours of service to the local immigrant community including immigration education events for law students and area residents. This past year, four members of the organization traveled to an immigrant detention center in Texas where they prepared women and children asylum-seekers for interviews about their credible fear of torture or persecution if they were denied asylum. As immLAW has grown, so has the contingent traveling to Texas to help those seeking asylum. This year, 18 students and translators will travel to Karnes County Family Immigration Detention Center where those seeking asylum are detained until they can establish a credible fear to return to their home countries.

“TU Law is a small school with big opportunities,” said Bracken. “I have benefitted from mentor relations and have done so many things I couldn’t have done in a larger school. I debated transferring to another college to be closer to family but realized that being at TU brought me more opportunities, and I’m happy I’m here.”

Selected for Harvard Immigration Clinic Summer Fellowship

This summer Bracken will participate in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic’s summer fellowship program. Those selected take the lead in representing clients from all over the world who are seeking protection from being returned to human rights abuses in their country of origin, as well as those who are seeking protection from exile after years of living in the United States. Bracken will work at Harvard and Greater Boston Legal Services while concurrently taking a course in Immigration and Refugee Advocacy.

Hear Preston Brasch talk about externing at Harvard Immigration Clinic

Bracken credits his professors, Matt Lamkin and Mimi Marton for taking a keen interest in his career and helping him discover new opportunities. After graduation, Bracken will become a public interest attorney. “I want to work for an organization where the client’s ability to pay does not affect their access to legal services,” Bracken said.

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