Q&A with Olivia Judd ’18

Olivia Judd ’18 puts the lessons she learned at the James H. Binger Center for New Americans to work every day at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, where she is a staff attorney with the organization's LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative. She says the work she did at the Center was a “huge factor” in her readiness for life as an attorney.     

In what ways did you find your participation in the Binger Center valuable?

Through participation in Binger Center programs (the Immigration & Human Rights Clinic and the Immigration Law Field Placement), I developed writing, client-interaction, and leadership skills that served me throughout law school and in my current job as an immigration attorney.

James H. Binger Center for New Americans Q&A Series
Very briefly describe one or two significant experiences you had during your time participating.

One of the most memorable experiences of my time with the Binger Center was externing with the International Refugee Assistance Project and traveling to Amman, Jordan to learn more about their work with refugees. But an even bigger highlight was learning that one of our clinic clients had been granted asylum.

How would you describe the support you received from faculty and staff? 

The faculty and staff at the Binger Center are phenomenal. I am a more effective and more compassionate advocate for having worked with them.

How did your experience with the clinic come into play in your post-Law School career?

I found my current job—which I love—through connections I made in the clinic, and because of my experiences through the Binger Center, I started at my job well-prepared to advocate for clients from diverse backgrounds.

Briefly describe any work you are currently or recently doing regarding immigration issues.

As a staff attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, I represent low-income immigrants in asylum cases and on other immigration matters.

What would you say to a student considering participating in one of the clinics?

Do it! Clinics are the best opportunity to gain practical work skills and to build close relationships with peers, clients, and faculty. Clinics can require a lot of work, but out of all the hours I put into law school, I got the highest return on the time I spent on clinics, both in terms of knowledge and skills gained and personal reward.

What would you say to a potential donor considering financially supporting or doing vounteering work for the Binger Center?

The work I did with the Binger Center was a huge factor in my feeling—and being—prepared to start a career after law school. I really cannot overstate how important the Binger Center was to my learning during law school. I had an overall very positive experience at the University of Minnesota Law School, so the fact that the Binger Center was such a highlight says a lot about how well run, effective and, honestly, enjoyable the clinics are. 

Visit the James H. Binger Center for New Americans website to learm more about ways to get involved and support its work.