Q&A with Mary Georgevich ’18
Mary Georgevich ’18 is currently a law clerk for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne K. McKeig. As a student, Georgevich was involved in clinical work at the James H. Binger Center for New Americans in both her 2L and 3L years. In reflecting back on the experience, she says her involvement was the highlight of her law school career.
In what ways did you find your participation in the clinic valuable?
The clinic provided me real-world experience unlike any other course in law school. I was able to put to use what I was learning in the classroom. I came to the University of Minnesota specifically to participate in the James H. Binger Center for New Americans because I knew that I would learn from experienced immigration attorneys, and it did not disappoint.
Very briefly describe one or two significant experiences you had during your time participating.
As a 2L, I worked on a case that was on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Through creative arguments, we were able to win re-opening, which provided the client, a child kidnapping victim, with an opportunity to seek asylum in a non-combative setting, instead of the immigration court.
As a 3L, I traveled with a clinical professor and another student to the Miami area, where we spent several days working with clients in immigration detention centers. These men and women had been on an attempted-deportation flight to Somalia. Instead of arriving in Somalia, the flight landed in Senegal, and waited there for hours, before returning to the United States. The 92 men and women on the flight were never permitted to leave the plane and instead were shackled for nearly two days. The Binger Center got involved in assisting the victims of this flight with pursuing immigration benefits that they were eligible for but had been unable to pursue before their attempted deportation. Their cases are ongoing, but working with them was a privilege.
How would you describe the support you received from faculty and staff?
Binger Center faculty and staff provided me with the support I needed to start my career. Regardless of the time of day or the type of question, each and every person working in the clinics was available to help me. I continue to receive support from the Binger Center faculty and staff, even after graduation.
How did your experience with the clinic come into play in your post-Law School career?
Because of the clinic, I entered my post-law school career with confidence. I know that I am capable of handling the challenges that a legal career contains. And I know that I am a much better writer because of my clinic experience.
Briefly describe any work you are currently or recently doing regarding immigration issues including pro bono work.
I plan to work at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, assisting Somali individuals who are held in immigration detention centers with deportation defense and asserting their rights in federal district court.
What would you say to a student considering participating in one of the clinics?
I enthusiastically recommend participating in a clinic during law school, especially the Binger Center clinics! I got real-world experience and to work with amazing clients for two years while learning substantive law. Participating in the clinics was the highlight of my law school career.
What would you say to someone considering financially supporting or doing volunteer work with the Binger Center?
The clinics provide a vital service to law students and the immigrant community in Minnesota. Through the Binger Center, I participated in outreach to immigrants in rural Minnesota, federal litigation, and appellate advocacy. Through direct services, partnerships with pro bono attorneys and impact litigation, the clinics have already had a massive impact.
Visit the James H. Binger Center for New Americans website to learm more about ways to get involved and support its work.