If you met Thais De La Cuba, J.D. ’15, at the genesis of her law school career, it is unlikely she would see herself where she is today - beginning her third year of a successful practice in immigration law with the Legal Aid Service of Broward County.
Thais De La Cuba, J.D. '15
After graduating from Florida State University, De La Cuba worked as a legal assistant in a boutique white collar criminal defense firm. Her experience at the firm confirmed her interest in the law and ultimately led her to Miami Law.
Drawn to Public Interest Work
“The law school provided a great environment and the atmosphere and public interest opportunities that I was interested in,” said De La Cuba, who was excited to have developed such a strong connection with the law school in her hometown of Miami.
Once at Miami Law, it did not take De La Cuba long to discover that she was passionate about immigration law. “I wasn’t sure what my focus was going to be, but based on my personal experience as an undocumented immigrant, I was naturally drawn to immigration law,” said De La Cuba.
The Calling of Immigration Law
"After taking Immigration Law with Professor Rebecca Sharpless during my 1L year and then interning with organizations like Americans for Immigrant Justice and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in immigration law.” De La Cuba also spent a summer as an intern at the Florida Supreme Court.
Also Pursued Business Side of Law
After working in the Investor’s Rights Clinic, De La Cuba briefly considered an alternate career path in securities and regulation enforcement, but after graduating in 2015 she ultimately accepted an offer to work with Americans for Immigrant Justice, advocating for unaccompanied minors in the Children’s Legal Program.
“I couldn’t see myself working for a big firm or a bank and so I went with what I knew would keep me motivated,” said De La Cuba, who today continues her advocacy in the immigration department of the Legal Aid Service of Broward County.
Today's Climate on Immigration Policy
“The changes in prioritization on the part of federal immigration authorities have proven frustrating, as new policies have made it less likely that family members will come forward to help some of our young undocumented clients. Additionally, the inefficiency of the system as a result of constant opposition makes it hard to help keep families together.” Despite the challenges of the job, De La Cuba remains deeply committed and passionate about her work.
Benefits of Miami Law Career Development Office
De La Cuba also continues to be a steadfast advocate for Miami Law and reminds current students to take advantage of the resources available, “People in the Career Development Office like Diane Quick were huge in helping me determine what shape my career would take.” She also reminds students not to forget to make time for themselves, recalling some of her fondest memories as spending time at the Rathskeller with friends after a long day.
De La Cuba’s advice to current and prospective law students resonates with anyone facing a difficult decision, “This is so corny, but follow your passion,” said De La Cuba. “I was very lucky to work for a nonprofit that allowed me to be in court every day, to build the practice and confidence so that today I can be a more effective advocate for my clients. I am eternally grateful for the support I received throughout my law school career at Miami Law.”