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Q&A With Immigration Attorney Giselle M. Rodriguez: My Amazing Boss

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

I have been interning for Giselle Rodriguez since January in her Boston law office performing marketing objectives, and it has been a great experience so far! Her firm is the Law Offices of Giselle M. Rodriguez, PLLC and is located in the Prudential building, where she takes in-person and virtual consults. I come in-person every Friday and work remotely during the week while I am not in the office. I have learned so much here already and am looking forward to growing even more. Giselle and everyone who is a part of her team are so great to work with; it is a place that I always look forward to going to. Giselle is friendly, kind, understanding and the best mentor. 

Giselle’s Compelling Background

Giselle was born in Boston, is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, and completed her years of school in San Juan, Puerto Rico until college, when she came to Massachusetts for school. Giselle completed her undergraduate degree from Regis College in 2016, where she double majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice. Later in 2020, she graduated from Massachusetts School of Law and took the MA bar exam that year in October, successfully passing! She was sworn in as an attorney on January 14, 2021 and opened her legal practice the same year! Giselle is nothing but hardworking and passionate. She is truly an inspiration and is someone anyone would be lucky to work with one day!

The Inspiration to Work in Law

Giselle explains that there are a few important reasons as to why immigration has held a place in her heart. From her experiences, Giselle has a deeper understanding and connection because of her background and learning from those who have shaped her understanding of life. 

 “As I was growing up, my parents held different positions in the political arena – some of those positions involved assisting the immigrant communities. They would bring me to different events, and even as a young girl, I remember noticing how appreciative these communities were when receiving different types of assistance, whether it had been a toy, food, or supply drive. As long as I could remember, I was always taught to not take things for granted, I was taught that there are millions of people around the world who would dream of having the life we were fortunate to have. I am thankful for being taught that at a very young age, in addition to the importance of having compassion for others.”

She continues that, “Navigating college, I tried my best to be involved in clubs and organizations related to global events and giving back. I was the president of the Regis Politics and Global Events club, and participated in a service immersion trip to Villa, El Salvador, Peru. Said trip brought me back to the idea of compassion and service to others. It further solidified my desire to become an immigration attorney. The Peru service trip was life changing for me – It was my first time going on an international trip to South America, and spending a week in solidarity with those less fortunate, but with a rich heart and soul.”

She concludes by discussing, “Last but not least, and perhaps the most important reason for my career choice, is my father’s immigration journey from Cuba to the U.S. in search for the American dream: He decided to leave behind Cuba’s socialist regime at a young age. His need and urgency were such that he fled via the ocean and spent over a week at sea in a raft. He left with a friend who passed away next to him at sea, likely of dehydration, since they lost all of the water they had brought with them during the first few days of their journey. Just when my dad thought he was going to die (he was extremely dehydrated, the raft was deflating and surrounded by sharks) a merchant ship rescued him. The rest is history, he went through the asylum/refugee process and today he is a U.S. Citizen.”

Her Favorite Part of the Job

Giselle mentions that her favorite part is “having a direct one-on-one relationship with clients. I strive to provide a compassionate representation. I appreciate the trust the clients put on me, and I really strive to be the main point of contact. A lot of attorneys, as years go on, lose that one-on-one interaction, which is something that I never want to lose. I really enjoy getting to know my clients, listening to their stories, and seeking out creative ways to be able to assist as best and as efficiently as I can. Nothing beats the feeling of getting an approval for someone who has been waiting all their life for that moment.”

The Take on Undergrad Experience

Giselle touched on her undergrad experience little bit previously, but she expands by saying that, “In all honesty, I saw college as a means to an end. The end being applying to law school. As I mentioned earlier, I joined college organizations that were geared towards my interests being global events and community immersion.”

Previous Experiences & Jobs

During Giselle’s first year of law school, she served as an AmeriCorps at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), serving over 300 citizenship applicants over the course of one year. Later, during her last year of law school, Giselle was a legal intern at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC), where she first-chaired an asylum case in immigration court for the first time. Those have been two of Giselle’s favorite experiences

Discussing her AmeriCorps experience, she shares that, “While here, I was navigating both the law school course load and my service year. It was not an easy year, but I knew it was meant to be. Serving over 300 citizenship clients was fulfilling and a huge learning experience. It was here where I got a first glimps of the importance of having systems in place in order to effectively represent and serve people competently. Law school can be a very dry and competitive process, and having been an AmeriCorps during that service year was my driving force.” 

In regards to her internship at Harvard, she explains that, “My time at Harvard was probably one of the most exhilarating experiences. I learned exhaustively about asylum, first chaired and won an asylum case in immigration court, and I was even given the opportunity to write a blog post describing the immigration journey of one of my parents, which was published on the Harvard website. The highlight of the internship was meeting Deborah Anker, founder of HIRC and the author of Law of Asylum in the United States, which is the go-to asylum treatise used by immigration practitioners everywhere.” 

About Law School and Advice to Those Interested

She expresses how Law School can be competitive, “but do not let that create a monster of you. Keep being yourself and stay true to yourself, your values, and convictions. Law school was not easy, and less easy was the process of preparing for the Bar Exam, but so far it has been worth it and I would do it all over again if I really had to.”

Her “number one piece of advice for people interested in going into law or immigration is to prioritize your physical, spiritual, and mental health. In order to successfully and efficiently help others, taking care of oneself is a priority. Understand that a lot of people will depend on you, and that is okay, but you must not forget to look after yourself.” 

Giselle especially recommends, “taking full advantage of internships. Learning on a hands-on and practical level will open many doors for you. The more you know, especially practically or procedurally, about a specific area of law, the more you will be of value to any client, law firm, or company. Internships are a great way to experience the law outside of books.”

Who is Giselle Outside the Office?

During her free time, Giselle makes it a priority to have a balance with her passion for work and personal hobbies as well! Self-care is definitely a practice that she prioritizes and encourages for others; making time to do other activities that make you happy are important. 

Starting off, she says, “I just love just walking around the Charles River, working outdoors while I sit on my big yellow picnic-type rug when the spring and summer seasons approach.”

Giselle has another hobby that many do not know about: film making. She passionately talks about how, “There is something about film-making and movie magic that fascinates me, maybe due to the fact that there is so much more than meets the eye, and that there is so much strategy and preparation behind five seconds of a movie scene.”

It all started back in 2012, “with a movie titled ‘Runner, Runner’ directed by Brad Furman, and [starring] Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton. My scene didn’t make the cut, but I played a ‘Waitress,’ and getting to meet Justin Timberlake and Brad Furman in-person was an experience in and of itself.”

Giselle goes on to explain more about her growth in the career from her work in movies like, “Ted 2, Chasing Life, American Hustle (Pause the disco scene, you might see me dancing next to Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper!), Stronger, Good Kids, and most recently Spirited (I am in a scene with Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell at a Christmas party), Boston Strangler, and a few productions coming out in the near future such as Thug, starring Liam Neeson, and Madame Web, starring Dakota Johnson.”

Giselle Rodriguez, immigration attorney, and HCE member Karly, her intern
Photo by Tristian Shannon
Hi my name is Karly and I am in my Senior Year at Emmanuel College. I am studying Communications with a Minor in Marketing and Writing. I plan to someday work in marketing and live in Boston. In my free time I love to walk around the city, read, get coffee, see my friends and family. For a fun fact, I have my Cosmetology License!