Jason Boyd, JD '12
Even before taking the LSATs, Jason Boyd knew what he wanted to achieve during law school. "My goal was to build the foundation for a career in the international human rights arena," he says. GW Law, positioned at the center of a global city and at the forefront of international legal education, helped him realize this aim.
At GW Law, Jason focused his studies on immigration law—particularly its asylum and refugee branches—subjects deeply informed by international human rights law. He wrote for the school’s International Law in Domestic Courts journal, while taking up coursework that examined a range of immigration and humanitarian concerns.
Jason emphasizes that he gained additional legal education outside the classroom. "GW offers a wealth of practical learning opportunities," he says, "not least of which flow through the Field Placement Program and the clinics. For many students, particularly those committed to public interest and human rights work, these programs form the heart of the GW Law experience. This was certainly the case for me."
Each of these hands-on experiences deepened Jason's grasp of immigration and human rights law and better prepared him for future work in the field. In the fall of his 2L year, Jason held an externship through the Field Placement Program with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition, a nonprofit group that provides legal assistance to detained immigrants and asylum seekers in the D.C. area. During this externship, he advocated for a detained refugee client facing deportation proceedings. Arguing before the Arlington Immigration Court, Jason helped secure the release of the client and reunite him with his family.
That spring, Jason completed a second externship with Tahirih Justice Center, where he served the center's mission of protecting immigrant women and girls from gender-based violence. In the summer following his 2L year, he interned with Maggio & Kattar, a boutique immigration firm, where he assisted with a variety of immigration cases. He became a student-attorney in the GW Immigration Law Clinic under the supervision of Professor Alberto Benitez during his 3L year. In this capacity, Jason helped multiple clients gain permanent residency in the United States and represented a client filing for asylum.
"Through the Field Placement Program and the clinics, I began to learn firsthand the nuts and bolts of lawyering. These are the apprenticeships of the legal profession," says Jason. He stresses the value of these experiences when applying for postgraduate employment. "In the public interest and human rights fields, employers tend to weigh an applicant's internships and other practical experiences more heavily. Also, the personal relationships established during these programs often make the difference in a hypercompetitive job market. Placements with immigration-focused nonprofit organizations, together with my work in GW Law's Immigration Clinic, propelled my professional development and paved the way for my postgraduate employment."
Jason currently works as an Asylum Officer with the Arlington Asylum Office, part of the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.