Ting-Ting Kao, J.D. ‘08
What did you like about the Immigration Clinic and what did you learn that may be relevant to your work now?
Immigration law is complicated and the stakes for clients are often very high. We were treated like practicing attorneys with full case loads and were encouraged by Professor Young to take charge of our cases. However, I never felt I was without the support I needed to fully represent each client. I was lucky enough to go to Immigration Court several times and always felt prepared. Working with five clients, a busy court schedule, and classes, taught me how to effectively and efficiently manage my time. It also taught me the value of preparing for a case and that you can never over prepare.
One of the most rewarding things about the Clinic was working directly with all the clients. They were always appreciative of our work and made us want to do as much as possible for them. Working with them, I learned that getting all the facts straight is sometimes as difficult- if not more difficult- than figuring out the law. Being patient and letting someone speak uninterrupted often yielded useful facts that I would not have even known to ask about. Reviewing the facts and law over and over again, I would sometimes make connections or see things that I did not see on the first, second, or even third go around. This experience taught me that you can never review a case too many times.
Legal issues take on a new significance when you see a person's life affected by it. With some clients, I worked with them from the intake process through to the final conclusion of their cases. With others, I began working with them after their cases were already many years along into the process. Seeing a range of issues at different stages illustrated how complex, frustrating, and overwhelming immigration law could seem to each client. I made it a point to spend as much time as necessary to make sure each client understood the status of their case and the law. Doing so forced me to make sure I myself understood the law and all the facts of each case. I learned that unless you can explain a case to someone, you do not really understand it, something which I keep in mind with my work today.
Please provide some information about where you currently work.
I currently work as an Associate at White & Case, LLP in Washington, D.C. Our firm actively participates in pro bono programs around the city and I have been able to use my skills from the Clinic to assist with a pro bono asylum case.
Students may contact Ting-Ting [email]