St. John’s Law Alumni Earn Prestigious Post-Graduate Immigration Fellowships

St. John's Law alumni Emma Watson and Timothy Zurcher.
May 21, 2024

This fall, Emma Watson ‘24 and Timothy Zurcher ‘24 will launch their full-time legal careers as Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Justice Fellows. It’s a milestone opportunity for the recent graduates, who enrolled at St. John’s Law with an interest in immigration law and a desire to help refugees, asylees, and other immigrants gain access to crucial legal services and humanitarian relief.

With that focus and dedication, Emma and Tim excelled as they learned the law in foundational and advanced courses and explored it further as members of the St. John’s Law Review. They also built practical knowledge and skills hands on as students in the Refugee and Immigrant Rights Litigation Clinic, a full-year clinic run by St. John’s Law in partnership with Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services Department in New York City.

The Clinic experience was formative for Emma and Tim, who worked under the supervision of senior attorneys to represent immigrants in a range of administrative and appellate proceedings. “After starting in the Clinic, I knew that I wanted to continue to promote Catholic Charities’ mission of providing accessible legal services to immigrant communities in need,” Emma says. “My Clinic instructor told me about the IJC Justice Fellowship, and I thought it would offer a valuable introduction to the field of immigration law and an opportunity to refine my representation skills.”

Tim’s Refugee and Immigrant Rights Litigation Clinic experience complemented experience he had gained during his 1L and 2L summers helping New York nonprofits provide direct immigration representation. As a 2L he also participated in the Law School’s in-house Child Advocacy Clinic, representing minors in family court and immigration court matters. “I knew I wanted to be an IJC Fellow before I knew I wanted to go to law school,” Tim explains. “So, during my time at St. John’s Law, I took classes, participated in clinics, and pursued other activities that would help me reach that ultimate goal.”

When they applied for IJC Justice Fellowships, Emma and Tim stood out in a crowded candidate pool as talented individuals with a demonstrated commitment to providing immigration legal services. For their two-year fellowships, IJC placed them with organizations where they can make the greatest difference. Emma will work in the Unaccompanied Minors Program at the Empire Justice Center, where she will provide pro bono legal services to immigrant children in New York. “I’m most looking forward to meeting and working with my future clients, and I hope to forge a meaningful connection with them through my representation,” she says.

With equal enthusiasm, Tim looks forward to his fellowship placement at the Safe Passage Project on Long Island. “I’ll provide pro bono immigration representation to minors 18 and under in claims for asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status,” he shares. “I'm incredibly excited to continue doing the work I love, and to meet like-minded attorneys who are passionate about immigration law. I hope to make communities stronger and safer by obtaining status for those in need and allowing them to live their lives free of the stress and danger of removal and deportation. Serving the greater good in this way is, for me, a dream come true.”