By Desire Lance • January 05, 2016
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Law school wasn’t always on the radar. Back in my undergraduate days, I dreamt of a fast-paced and high energy career in journalism with aspirations of being the next fresh-faced anchor of NBC’s The Today Show. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I graduated undergrad with a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and no job prospects – it was 2008 and the media giants were laying off their reporters and support staff left and right.
Like many young adults, I spent my early 20s trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew I was organized, articulate and enjoyed working with all types of people but that didn’t automatically suggest I should pursue a career in law. I reluctantly confess that it was my mother who hinted at the idea of law school initially. Fast forward a few years; after taking the LSAT and submitting numerous admission applications, I found myself sitting in my first law school class about to embark on this educational journey.
Like many law students, those three years of law school were spent trying to find a legal niche. I interned/clerked at an assortment of different practices to obtain experience and help me pinpoint what my legal forte might be. Family law? No. Transactional real estate? Definitely not! Civil litigation? Maybe. Nothing was a sure fire “yes” and I realized that, instead of discovering the exact type of law I wanted to practice, these experiences had led me discover the career paths that I didn’t want to pursue.
As a newly sworn-in attorney with an international relocation on the horizon, I needed to use my biggest resource (time) to my advantage to determine what legal path I wanted to take. A friend of mine connected me to a non-profit organization that assisted low income individuals with US immigration and naturalization matters. I began volunteering and quickly realized I had found my niche. I was mesmerized by the professional, practical and personal nature of immigration law and I knew almost instantly that it was something I wanted to pursue for the entirety of my career.
One of the reasons I was interested in pursuing US immigration law was that I found it incredibly relevant given the recent effects of migration on a global scale. In following the political discussions regarding immigration reform, I recognized that there was a place for me as an attorney on the US immigration law spectrum. I was intrigued by the fact that the small niche field of US immigration law had the potential to impact the lives of so many individuals on such a personal level.
Flash forward to today and I am in my second year as a US immigration attorney working in London. The path to practicing law in London was not straight in the least, as most things aren’t in life; however, it got me to where I am today and for that I am grateful. As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “life is a journey, not a destination.”
Each month during 2016 I will share a piece of this journey with you. Join me as I discuss the particulars of living and working in a foreign country, beginning my career as a lawyer, and practicing US immigration law. I hope to bring guidance and inspiration to you by sharing my stories and insights over the next year. Happy reading!