Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 1LE Student Liz Jackson has long been passionate about experiencing all that the world has to offer. She has traveled extensively and feels meeting new people and experiencing new cultures allows her to better understand the spectrum of the human experience. Jackson intends to use her legal education to help bring people together and diversify populations as an immigration lawyer.
Jackson attended Baldwin-Wallace University as an undergraduate where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. During her International Studies, she spent a semester studying abroad in India. That formative experience was just the start of Jackson’s travels, as she has also spent time in New Zealand and has visited Mexico and Canada extensively. In particular, Jackson has developed greater understanding of Canada during the past six years while working as a senior paralegal for Allen and Hodgman, a U.S. and Canadian immigration firm. During her time with the firm, she has prepared and submitted many types of business and family immigrant and nonimmigrant classifications and applications to both the United States and Canada. Jackson’s experience has impacted her beyond work, influencing how she views the world and what is truly important.
Jackson’s work as a paralegal was also the catalyst for her decision to attend law school, with the support and encouragement of the two partners at Allen & Hodgman, where she would like to stay on as an immigration attorney following graduation. She had considered law school for some time and the flexibility of C|M|LAW’s part-time program allowed her to pursue legal studies while still working full-time. Thus far, Jackson has loved studying the law and the part-time program has exceeded her expectations.
Jackson’s six years as a paralegal has been a great precursor to her legal studies and now she has the unique opportunity to get both perspectives at the same time as a part-time student and full-time paralegal. She feels her worked as a paralegal has provided a base legal vocabulary as well as an understanding of how legal procedures should and can work in practice.
“So far, (being a paralegal) has been an excellent backdrop to everything I am learning in class,” said Jackson. “I am seeing how these things can play out in the real world.” Beyond the part-time program, Cleveland-Marshall appealed to Jackson because of her opportunity to partake in the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program. She is interested in learning leadership as a skill and something of an art form. She sees training in leadership as having a positive impact for her eventual main practice, additional legal interests, and for in life in general. Jackson wants to be the person people turn to when the situation calls for a leader to step up and take charge.
“I believe in the idea of ‘If not me, then who and if not now then when’,” explained Jackson, who would one day like to be in a leadership position with the American Immigration Lawyer Association. Thus far, Jackson has appreciated the focused attention given to the leadership fellows from the Dean, faculty and C|M|LAW’s Leaders-in-Residence. Among the standout events that Jackson has attended through the program was the skype interview with United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association hosted for the C|M|LAW community.
Beyond the Fellows Program, Jackson appreciates how closely knit the Cleveland-Marshall community is and all the support its members have to offer. That includes her fellow classmates, especially the current 2LE’s who Jackson says have set an incredible example of comradery and a stronger together attitude. She hopes to pass this theme of cooperation among classmates on to future classes of C|M|LAW students, as it is an illustration of what she means when she refers to the impact her work in immigration has had on her vision for life.
“Don’t we all benefit when we are all better lawyers,” said Jackson. “Our goal should be to all work together to further the cause of justice and the better we all are our as lawyers, the more success can be achieved.”