Immigration vocation: Law school graduate plans on a career in this field

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

During her senior year of undergrad at Eastern Michigan University, Kourtney Lovett wrote her senior thesis about issues with immigration courts. Her interest in immigration carried her to University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she graduated in May, and looks to work in the realm of immigration law—with a long-term goal of becoming an immigration judge.

“I’ve been deeply intrigued by and passionate about issues that impact immigrants since high school,” she says. “Years ago, I decided I wanted to become an attorney so I can actively participate in the hands-on legal work necessary to help immigrants establish new homes and gain comfort in the U.S.”   

Lovett gained experience in this field during law school by spending two years clerking at the Troy-based immigration law firm of Pastor & Associates, P.C.
“I was able to work on various family-based immigration matters, such as petitions for alien relatives, unlawful presence waivers, and hardship waivers,” she says.   

In her 3L year, she worked at the school’s Immigration Law Clinic under the supervision of Professor Alex Vernon, where she helped the widow of a U.S. veteran obtain permanent residency after more than a decade of immigration limbo. Lovett spent significant time working with the client, who was dealing with serious health issues, preparing her for an interview where her case was granted.    

“This case was particularly challenging because in order to prepare for her interview we needed to view footage of a previous interview she had over a decade ago, which made her quite uncomfortable,” Lovett says.

“Her late husband was in the footage, so she became quite emotional at times throughout the process. So, in addition to focusing on the legal issues of her case, I made strides to provide her with comfort and reassurance.   

“After the client, Professor Vernon and I left the interview, we were all so excited because everything went even better than we anticipated. Seeing the look of pure excitement and relief on the client’s face made all the time that we spent preparing beyond worth it. I’m so excited for her and the future she’ll have here in the U.S.”   

Lovett became a Moot Court junior member during her 2L year, and at the start of her 3L year gained a leadership role as an Executive Director.

“My primary role was to coordinate all travel-related arrangements for Moot Court senior members who traveled to national competitions throughout the country, and I also helped coordinate other Moot Court events and activities throughout the year,” she says.    

In the fall of her 3L year, Lovett participated in the school’s Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Competition, an internal moot court competition, where she and her partner earned Second Place Brief.    

“During the winter semester, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with my teammates and our coach Professor Karen Henning to New Jersey to compete in the John J. Gibbons Moot Court Competition, a criminal procedure competition—the experience was both very insightful and fun,” she says.    

Lovett also served as 3L class representative and continued to serve as a presidential ambassador, Detroit Mercy Law Fellow and as a student ambassador.    

A Southfield native who moved to Farmington Hills after fifth grade, Lovett now lives in Northville, and enjoys spending time with her immediate and extended family, reading, listening to podcasts, traveling, and attending concerts.    

“I’d love to start my legal career in Detroit because it’s such a beautiful city, filled with so many vibrant and passionate people,” she says. “I really appreciate that Detroit has elements that remind me of a big city, yet it maintains a communal feel.”

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