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Abel Rodriguez

L’ 11
Langer, Grogan and Diver Fellow in Social Justice at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services
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    Abel Rodriguez L'11

Launching a public service career.
I am from the Norristown area, near Philadelphia. As an undergraduate, I went to Montgomery County Community College and Cabrini College. I majored in Spanish and minored in math. Before enrolling at Penn Law, I was a Lecturer in Foreign Language and Course Coordinator at Penn. Before that, I completed a Master’s programs in Latin American Studies and Theology.

My first year out of law school I worked at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services as a Langer, Grogan and Diver Fellow in Social Justice. I now work in a split position as a staff attorney at Nationalities Service Center and immigration specialist at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. My long-term career goals include teaching and working as an advocate on issues of migration, race, and poverty.

I took courses in the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn, which helped me understand our immigration system in the context of broader racial and socioeconomic inequality. It also helped me understand the importance of the non-profit sector in effecting social change.

Clinic experiences led to my current work.
My experience in the Transnational Legal and Criminal Defense Clinics were particularly impactful and ultimately led me to my current work advising people of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and representing people with convictions in their immigration cases.

The fellowship boot camp that Arlene organized was incredibly helpful. I ended up getting a Penn fellowship, which launched my public interest career.

Creating a documentary film.
My best experiences in law school were my clinical experiences. I also had the opportunity to create an advocacy film with two other law school students, which allowed us to collaborate with advocates in the city and continues to be used to advocate for formerly convicted people seeking employment.